This could be a “General Discussion” session, a “Working Session,” or a little bit of both (see Session Genres). Basically, I want to talk and learn more about different ways of representing or re-presenting time and space in digital formats, whether in specific literary works, corpora, or other varities of texts (I myself study literary texts for the most part and, occasionally, more philosophical ones).
Tools such as Google Earth or SIMILE’s Timeline and Exhibit protocols make it easier and cheaper than ever to explore these possibilities, even for first-year grad students with no technical training, such as myself. These technologies may have their most obvious applications in teaching or in the classroom, but I would also like to consider what roles they could play in facilitating research and as forms of scholarly production.
Questions for discussion could include the following:
- How do we fit digital representations of time and space into our arguments about texts, or how do we construct new arguments around the data of a map or a timeline?
- What sort of implicit arguments do activities such as mapping and timelining make about textuality, history, and traditional modes of scholarship focused on interpretation?
- Are these sorts of activities accepted in your discipline or your department? What venues and resources can support this type of work and demonstrate its value and legitimacy?
- Do such projects effect the independence of scholarly production? Digital humanities has been praised for opening the doors to more collaborative research, but does technology also have a centralizing tendency, and likewise, how does a digital medium effect the content of humanities scholarship?
- What projects are you working on? Given unlimited time and resources, what projects could you envision?
If people are interested, I also have two newly initiated personal projects for which I would love to get either feedback or some extra data-entry power: (1) using Google Earth to map allusions in Ezra Pound’s “Three Cantos” (read Canto I) and (2) making a timeline of the publication history of Victorian cultural criticism. These could serve as case studies for discussion or we could get down and dirty trying to actually translate texts into new temporal and spatial representations—I honestly have no idea what I’m doing so far!