Will Deliver Annual Whalley Lecture at Queens University, Spring 2016

I’m delighted to announce that I will deliver the annual Whalley Lecture at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, on March 11, 2016. The Whalley Lecture honors the late Dr. George Whalley, former Head of Queen’s Department of English (1962–1967, 1977–1982), Romanticist, man of letters, and decorated veteran (http://georgewhalley.ca/gwp/). The Whalley Lecture is the English Department’s capstone lecture in the year-long series of guest speakers.

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Report on my BARS 2015 “Apocalypse and Ruination” panel (chaired by Diane Piccitto)

[Reposted from the BARS blog, by Lucy Johnson, original post found here]

The 2015 British Association for Romantic Studies International Conference was held in Cardiff this July.  Entitled Romantic Imprints, the conference boasted an extraordinary array of interdisciplinary and wide-ranging scholarship on various facets of Romanticism, and delegates were greeted with a feast of ideas from which to choose.  I was lucky enough to attend a number of incredibly interesting and thought-provoking panels, and it is space alone that requires me to limit this report to two panels in particular.

The 1:45 PM Thursday panel I attended was Apocalypse and Ruination, chaired by Diane Piccitto (Mount Saint Vincent University).  This panel took a fascinating and diverse approach to the inspirational pull of apocalyptic imagery on the Romantic imagination, spanning from the real-life destruction of Herculaneum and Pompeii to a wide-ranging set of analyses of the depiction of millennium in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man. Continue reading

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Essay published, “Rodolphe Töpffer’s Earliest Comic Strips and The Tools of the Picturesque: Teaching the Art of Perception”

My essay “Rodolphe Töpffer’s Earliest Comic Strips and The Tools of the Picturesque: Teaching the Art of Perception” is now published as a chapter in Romanticism, Rousseau, Switzerland: New Prospects, edited by Angela Esterhammer, Diane Piccitto, and Patrick Vincent (Palgrave, May 2015). I would like to thank the editors as well as Jill Heydt-Stevenson for their assistance with drafts of this essay.

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“Markup Theory and Practice with the TEI in ENGL 53.06 ‘Women’s Literature and Technologies of Transmission,'” 12-1:30pm, 5/26/15, Baker-Berry Library (Dartmouth)

[This lecture was sponsored by the Dartmouth Center of Advancement in Learning (DCAL) in collaboration with Dartmouth’s Digital Humanities initiative. Thank you to organizers Laura Braunstein and Scott Millspaugh for the opportunity.]

Opening exercise:

You each have a picture in front of you as well as some markers. Circle or mark the things in that text that you think are the most important structural and thematic aspects of it. Indicate those features using markers or colored pencils on the printed image itself. Discuss with your neighbor. I’m going to show you how this is markup.


Squirrel recreates Michelangelo's painting of the creation of Adam...This hungry squirrel recreated Michelangelo's famous painting of the creation of Adam as it reached for a walnut...The hilarious snap was captured in a park and shows the furry critter clinging on to a tree while stretching for a snack...The stunning photo looks like the famous picture on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in which God gives Adam the spark of life through his fingers...Photographer Stanislav Duben, 33, took the photo of his 16 year-old-sister, Aneta, as she fed the squirrel...Stanislav Duben..Stanislav Duben/ Solent News & Photo Agency.UK +44 (0) 2380 458800.

Today’s introduction is meant to give you a brisk historical, theoretical, and pedagogical tour of markup using the Text Encoding Initiative guidelines, also known as the TEI. I heard some really great discussion during the introductory exercise with birds and squirrels images I handed out. The point is to ask you to decide what the most important structural and thematic parts of the text are for you. The upshot of markup, I hope to show today, is not just marking up or encoding, as we say, a document, but rather, it is deciding what features of a document you care most about for structural reasons and thematic reasons. What do you need to mark up for your particular project? It is possible to mark up everything, but that’s rarely desirable considering time and labor limitations. Conversely, we can use others’ markup to reveal the structural and thematic components of digital objects that define our larger set of desires as scholars, or teachers, or students at a certain point in time. The things we don’t  mark up tend to be that which we care less about. As a teaching tool, markup forces us to consider and define what is text or paratext, data or metadata, structural element or theme, and to know what we want to see or search for. Continue reading

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“Making Data for Now with the Stainforth Library of Women’s Writing,” Invited Guest Lecture 4-7-15, 9-10:30am, Baker-Berry Library (Dartmouth College)

[I was invited to deliver the inaugural talk in a series hosted for Baker-Berry Library at Dartmouth College. Many thanks to Laura Braunstein for organizing the event and to those who attended. And special thanks to my collaborators at CU Libraries, Deborah Hollis and Holley Long, for their continued support and teamwork.]

Textual digitization projects of a large scale can take a long time. As you know, they take an even longer time when the text cannot be scanned and OCR’d and manuscript transcription is required. Today I want to take advantage of this middle stage of a long-term textual digitization project I manage, called the Stainforth Library of Women’s Writing, to swap expertise with you. This digital library is under construction right now, and it’s the perfect time to pause, appreciate our data and editorial carnage, share our process and the hunches I’m operating on, and ask different audiences what you think of it and how we can make it better. My plan for our time today is to introduce my project and tell you a little bit about the history of how it got off the ground. And then I’m going to give you a chance to pretend my project is yours. We’ll compare your approaches to editing and delivering our data with what we have done or hope to do.

Throughout, while we talk about options for processes and the choices I’ve made, I am hoping that we can think together about the future of textual digitization projects from a pragmatic point of view that takes small budgets, time constraints, growing numbers of untenured faculty, and the job market into account. That is: you know and I know, from experience, the amount of labor and critical thinking that go into producing digital editions of a text or a collection of texts, such as Dartmouth’s John McCoy Family papers and the Occom Circle Project. I think that it is important to imagine the upper limits of what a digital archive can do for researchers, such as provide 3D representations of digital objects. But I also want to offer an idea for how scholars like myself, without a sizable markup team, can generate a corpus of edited data and deliver it for research and teaching in a timely manner.

I will argue today that producing and releasing one’s data first, and the more marked-up data set in a linked digital archive second, is a much needed new model of data curation that may be of particular interest to untenured digital humanists, of which I am one. This two-phase release model responds to the constrained institutional ecosystem in which many digital humanists are working with limited budgets, time, and help, and while satisfying requirements for hiring, tenure, and promotion that rest on peer-reviewed essays and books. This model, which I’ll be calling the “cookie-dough” model just for this talk, helps us make more useful digital objects with the same amount of data. It also helps create tangible traditional scholarly products from our digital curation work sooner, before we finish creating an interface, which can take a very long time. So: first, a project introduction, second, we’ll talk about processes together in a workshop, and then I’ll conclude. Continue reading

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Recipient of $47,230.00 Innovative Seed Grant

Team Stainforth (The Stainforth Library of Women’s Writing) has some extremely good news: we are the recipients of a $47,230.00 innovative seed grant from the University of Colorado Boulder for the year 2015-2016. The grant will fund

  • technology and research assistance for completing library catalog data entry and remaining transcription
  • designing the web interface and linking our data to it
  • initiatives to teach with the Stainforth project data in a variety of disciplines, including special collections, literature, women’s studies, and bibliography
  • produce and publish a study of the methods and results of digital pedagogy with the Stainforth digital library

We want to thank CU’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research as well as the ISG award committee judges. Special thanks to Holley Long and Deborah Hollis for being such intrepid and tenacious collaborators and co-authors. Thanks also to Michelle Warren for her feedback on my project narrative drafts. We applied for this award two years ago and did not win but received great suggestions for revision. I’m glad we were able to try again and succeed.

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Video trailer: My new Spring ’15 English course “Women’s Literature and Technologies”

Presenting the video trailer: New Spring 15 English course “Women’s Literature and Technologies”*:  http://bit.ly/1Hv9c36
Women Literature and Technology on Vimeo
This video is about Women Lit and Tech
Spring 15 English Course 53.06, taught by English/Neukom postdoc Dr. Kirstyn Leuner

“Women’s Literature and Technologies” (ENGL 53.06) MWF at 2 Hour.
Dist: LIT; WCult: W. Course Group III

  • Read works (like Frankenstein) on the themes of identity, authorship, and technologies alongside breaking news coverage of current events relating to gender, digital technologies, programming, Silicon Valley, copyright, authorship, and more.
  • Explore hypertext fiction and electronic literature (works designed to be “read” on a computer)
  • Handle/study very old and rare books in Rauner Special Collections
  • Make 19th-century letterpress prints in the Book Arts Workshop
  • Encode and publish digital poetry and prose in multiple platforms
  • Play with my postdoctoral project that builds a digital model of an actual 19th-century library
  • Design/execute a final project all your own
  • Feel free to email me with questions: Kirstyn.J.Leuner@dartmouth.edu

Special thanks to Dartmouth Instructional Designer Michael Goudzwaard for editing and producing the trailer. #boom

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