Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Blogoshpere 02 January – 08 January 2012

Last week I came across many an interesting post. The Early Modernists pondered about Leonardo, Shakespeare, polar bears and Twelfth’s Night, or rather what we will. While Digital Humanists meditated about information, still harped on Fish’s note on DH, wrote about alternative career paths, crowd-sourcing editing, about statistical analysis, and naturally presented much of the MLA Convention 2012 for those who could not attend it. Happy reading!

Early Modern Studies:

The Renaissance Mathematicus revealed with much erudition that ‘In the room, the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo,’ or more precisely about Leonardo were wrong. In his “Monday blast from the past #10: Leonardo rides again!” he argues that Leonardo did not revolutionize anatomy on many accounts.

Though this is not a blog, yet I cannot help but include it here. This is a conversation, or more precisely conversations, interviews at Charlie Rose with Liev Schreiber, James Shapiro and Kenneth Branagh about Shakespearean plays. This is just phenomenal, it is worth watching.

Who would expect to have met white polar bears in England in the 16th century? This sounds as improbable as meeting a bear in the Winter’s Tale coming out of and disappearing into nothing. Improbability is, however, not impossibility, as Dainty Ballerina argues in her “For keeping two white bears.”

Catherine Simpson in her post, “What You Will” reports about 16th-century customs related to Twelfth Night, such as suspension of social order for a day, Yule log, theatrical entertainments.

Digital Humanities:

Thomas Rogers’ interview, “Are we on information overload?” with David Weinberger, author of Too Big to Know, is about information overload, filtering, evolution of the nature of knowledge. The key terms include “networked facts,” “new golden age,” “filtering forward.”

The Digital Humanities Now collected the reactions of the blogosphere to Stanley Fish’s opinion about the programme of the 2012 MLA Convention. Here is the link to the Editor’s Choice collection. And here is Steve Kolowich’s take on Fish: “The Promotion That Matters.”

Alex Reid in his post—a transcript of his MLA 2012 talk—takes one of his clues from Stanley Fish, and locates digital humanities closer to rhetoric than literary studies, as he emphasizes invention over interpretation. His fascinating conclusion is: “It doesn’t mean that we stop making arguments, but that we approach their composition differently. This is both an abstract philosophical project and an applied challenge. It means asking how we create technologies that allow us to see and compose arguments differently[…].”

Still the MLA Convention, Brian Croxall’s “Five Questions and Three Answers about Alt-Ac” is actually his presentation at the alt-ac panel that is shared on his blog. This presentation is dedicated to rethinking “graduate education and not ignore different paths for employment after the PhD.” His conclusions are elegant and thought-provoking “More than either an object or method of study, the digital is something that is happening to the humanities in the 21st century.” And this is complemented with “alt-ac is something that is happening to universities.”

This is a thoughtful and balanced paper by Laura Stevens, the editor of the Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature (Fall 2010, Volume 29, Number 2) about crowd-sourcing the process of reviewing scholarly articles. The article can be found here.

Ted Underwood, in his “A brief outburst about numbers.” laments in his post about the divide between rather old fashioned literature professors and digital humanists, insofar as the former look down on statistical analysis. Lamentation then occasions some meditation about numbers, interpretation of numbers and validity. In another post, “MLA talk: just the thesis” he summarizes his two claims in his MLA presentation. The two theses converge in a way that data mining may create a link between “distant” and “close” reading. Interesting posts, indeed.

The Digital Humanities Now created a collection of talks etc of MLA 2012 entitled “EC: Round-up of AHA and MLA conferences.” There are very interesting posts, presentations and handouts listed here, so it is worth browsing them through.

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