Interested in exploring scholarship in sound and image? Want to explore new possibilities for conducting analysis and conveying arguments in a multimedia form about multimedia objects of study? Middlebury’s NEH-funded Advanced Institute in Videographic Criticism returns again, this time as the DLA Summer Institute, a tuition-based workshop organized by Middlebury College faculty members Jason Mittell and Chris Keathley, with guest mentor Catherine Grant, Professor of Digital Media and Screen Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. For two weeks, you can spend all of your hours in beautiful Vermont, learning how to make video essays and participating in a robust community of practice fondly known as “video camp.”
The DLA Summer Institute 2019 focused on videographic criticism is open to any participant with a terminal degree (PhD preferred) or currently in a graduate program of study. Participants are not expected to have experience producing videos as the workshop is aimed at exploring the new format and stimulating new ideas. The workshop will strive to create a community of practice among participants, as well as connecting participants to a broader community of videographic critics and scholars.
Sarah Laursen and students discover how digital technologies can enrich art history.
Middlebury art historian and museum curator Sarah Laursen and her students in the Fall 2018 course Digital Methodologies for Art Historians: Ancient Chinese Gold (HARC 355) created an ArcGIS Storymap to share their discoveries. Impressive work, both in form and content, full of exploration and ideas about how digital technologies can create pathways to productive public scholarship.
Here is the link to their findings from the course.
It was an action-packed fall at the DLA. Our Digital Fluencies Series continued to introduce more intensive investigations of “digital fluency and critical engagement”—a key direction in Middlebury’s strategic plan. The Davis Educational Foundation-funded Digital Pedagogy Zoom Sessions brought faculty together with guest speakers in a “Hollywood Squares” style videoconference format for presentations and discussion. The Behind the Scenes series featured conversations about digital research by Middlebury faculty as well as work by visiting scholars. Our three DLA Fellows met monthly to exchange ideas about their developing digital research projects. And faculty participating in the Davis grant met to explore different approaches to and examples of new modes of digital pedagogy at Middlebury. Meanwhile, we were able to provide microgrants to support a number of exciting digital projects that are either starting up or continuing to advance toward completion.
Digital Fluencies Series
To continue to deepen the Envisioning Middlebury concept of digital fluency as a goal for students, faculty, and staff at Middlebury, we met four times this fall to focus on different implications of digital technologies for liberal arts critical thinking. In September, we explored Johanna Drucker’s intriguing concept of Speculative Computing. In October, Digital Projects and Archives Librarian Patrick Wallace helped us think about The Technology & Ethics of Social Media & Web Harvesting. In November, Dean of the Library Mike Roy led a rich discussion of Digital Publishing, Problems & Possibilities. And in December, Amy Collier shared her work on Misinformation & Bots/Sockpuppets.
Davis Digital Pedagogy Zoom Sessions
In September, our Zoom session featured (Some Ideas About) How to Teach Digital Humanities with Ryan Cordell of Northeastern University. Using his now-classic essay on “How Not To Teach the Digital Humanities,” Ryan emphasized how his courses focus on hands-on experiential learning that also delves deeply into topics in literary studies.
In October, Lauren Tilton of the University of Richmond helped us think more about public scholarly work with students out in the world at The Digital Public Humanities, Giving New Arguments & New Ways to Argue.
In November, at Using An Editorial Pedagogy to Peer Review Students’ Multimodal Texts, Cheryl Ball of Wayne State University led a marvelous conversation about teaching writing by having students themselves design their own learning goals and criteria.
Behind the Scenes
In October, a group of scholars from France and Brazil joined Middlebury faculty and staff for the kickoff symposium of the Atlantic World Forum, a new collaborative project directed by Michael Kramer that supports international scholarly collaboration through the creation of an annual digital roundtable on specific topics in transatlantic cultural history. The symposium, Creating Digital Scholarly Dialogues About Atlantic World Cultural Histories, provided a veritable feast of scholarship and set the stage for what the DLA hopes will be a transformative global digital humanities project that connects faculty and students at Middlebury to an international network of scholars for deep inquiry into Atlantic World history through digital collaboration and multimedia essay development. The project brings together primary sources with historiographic debate and will offer a model of how to connect traditional historical inquiry to experience-based learning for students. With participation from faculty and students at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and the Schools Abroad, the Atlantic World Forum will also provide a model of how to translate and disseminate knowledge for teaching and learning globally.
In November, Carol Stabile of the University of Oregon joined us to share information about her developing collaborative project, Reanimate, An Intersectional Feminist Digital Publishing Collective.
Later that same month, Norton Owen, the Director of Preservation at Jacob’s Pillow, shared the Jacob’s Pillow Interactive website through the Movement Matters See Michael Kramer’s DLA blog post about the event, Dancing In and Out of the Digital Archive.
November continued to keep us busy. Middlebury Arabic professor Dima Ayoub gave us an update on her DLA-funded digital analysis of the paratextual components of Arabic-to-English literary translations. Glossing the Glossary, Digital Approaches to Paratexts and Power in Arabic Literature explored the promising collaborations Dima has undertaken with Data Services Library Ryan Clement as well as two students, Mari Odoy ’20 and Will O’Neal ’20, who wrote about their summer experience conducting research with Dima in Two Students Take a Digital Humanities Approach to Arabic Literature. Bringing together close and distant reading tactics through data-driven text mining, Dima’s project brings digital humanities to bear on translation studies, but also makes clear that translation studies has important concepts and ideas for digital humanities. We even posed the intriguing hypothesis: are “distant readings” of literature done computationally themselves a new form of the paratext?
In December, the digital liberal arts got scientific. We also, simultaneously, got animated. At Animating Biology, A Collaboration Between A Biologist & the Middlebury Animation Studio, Animation Studio student Michelle Lehman and Animation Studio Director Daniel Houghton were joined by Heinz-Given Professor of the Pre-medical Sciences Grace Spatafora to discuss the collaborative animation work Michelle completed for Grace’s research on Streptococcus mutans, one of over 600 bacterial species in the human oral cavity. Most fascinatingly, Dr. Spatafora explained how Michelle’s thoughtful, scientifically accurate animations made her consider new aspects of her research. It was a reminder that the arts, technology (the Animation Studio uses the Blender application among other sophisticated digital tools), and science can be mutually enriching in revelatory ways. Animating science caused Michelle, herself a neuroscience major, to think in new ways about her animation and artistic work. Just as crucially, the questions raised by accurately visualizing Streptococcus mutans caused Grace to ask new questions about her scientific research.
In this way, interdisciplinary exchanges enabled by the digital liberal arts are not only about finding new ways of communicating scientific findings to a broader public (a noble goal in of itself); they can also lead to unexpected discoveries in the research itself. Animation become not just a fun “bell and whistle” added to the serious work of scientific research, but rather a contribution to the research. Similarly, the questions raised by the collaborative goal of visualizing Streptococcus mutans contributed to new skills and concepts in Michelle’s animation work. The animation enhanced the science; the science enhanced the animation. This suggested to us that when they talk to each other digitally, the sciences, the arts, and the humanities have the potential to yield new knowledge.
As a final note, we were also delighted to be joined by a large number of students at our last Behind the Scenes, and heard from them about ways to facilitate more student involvement in the DLA.
DLA Fellows & Davis Grant Faculty Lunches
Our three 2018-19 DLA Fellows—Brigitte Humbert, Natalie Eppelsheimer, and Will Nash—met monthly to share developing digital research over lunch. New research strategies and questions emerged from the mix of conceptual conversation and practical problem solving. Plus the sandwiches from Otter Creek Bakery were delicious.
Meanwhile, faculty participating in our Davis Grant focused on digital curricular innovation in student thesis work and courses in four departments—History, American Studies, Film and Media Cultures, and Sociology—continued to meet to discuss teaching ideas. Louisa Stein’s Theories of Spectatorship found students exploring the boundaries between print and digital culture by creating a printed ‘zine that they bound together into a book and then digitized; ironically, many of the printed ‘zine pages students created were printed out from the Internet, thus reminding us that the boundaries between print and online mediation are less rigid than we think, with modes of spectatorship crucial to their intermediality. Kathy Morse and Michael Newbury, meanwhile, worked with the DLA and Davis Family Library’s Special Collections division to digitize the full run of Vermont Life magazine and share it for the public through the Internet Archive; students then spent the fall exploring how to analyze the magazine and its history digitally.
Overall, it was a busy, rewarding time at the DLA, and we look forward eagerly to winter and spring 2019 events, culminating in a planned DLA Symposium in the spring of 2019.
In his Middlebury College visit as part of the Dance Department’s Movement Matters series, Jacob’s Pillow Director of Preservation Norton Owen brought us to this question. Sharing the remarkable collection of digitized material in Jacob’s Pillow Interactive, curated online using a customized WordPress platform, Owen let us take in examples from the archive such as a 1936 film of Jacob’s Pillow founder Ted Shawn’s company, Men Dancers, performing Finale From the New World. With Antonín Dvořák’s composition, performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra and resynchronized in 2011 by Daniel Callahan, the piece took on an immediacy even as it simultaneously appeared in black and white, from another era. Owen pointed out that we view it differently now, when norms of sexuality both in and beyond dance world have changed radically. Do we see the same thing, even, that audiences saw when the film was made? The digital medium gives access not only to the historical artifact, but also to these epistemological and phenomenological questions. It’s a joy to watch in of itself; it’s full of information about the past; the digital curation, however, also makes it a new performance, at once in the flow of time and leaping out of it.
This was even more the case with another example Owens offered, Carmen de Lavallade performing As I Remember It in 2014, in which the dancer, now an older woman, performs in mirror-like reflections to herself in film footage of an earlier performance, Portrait of Billie (John Butler’s 1960 piece). We see, by way of our own computer screens, a video of a dancer dancing in front of a video of a dance, each performance and viewing experience layered across time in some sense in an infinite regress into the past, but also just as much in an infinite progress into the future.
Change and continuity, time ago and time now and time to come: the digital archive of performance does funny things. Most of all it deepens what we might mean by the term “access” when it comes to history, and particularly history of performance. Jacob’s Pillow Interactive is of course about a place—a kind of “dance utopia” as Norton Owen playfully called it at one point. But the digital archive also becomes something else: a floating, asynchronous festival of synchronized movement, one filled with Themes and Essays, Dance Playlists, and even a Guess section in which you can test your dance knowledge.
It is ebullient and fun, but also serious business, time travel of a sort, an orbit of glimmering views. It takes one to a portable, almost celestial palace of choreography that offers not only access to a trove of dance history, but also entrée into what it means to experience dance itself, performed in media res, across temporalities and spaces of movement that have been encapsulated—and then unleashed into the connected universe.
By Ryan Clement, Data Services Librarian, Middlebury College
On January 17-18, 2019, Middlebury is hosting a Software Carpentry workshop for faculty, staff, and students. This workshop is co-sponsored by the Middlebury Library, the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research (CTLR), the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative (DLA), and the Director of the Sciences.
The Carpentries are a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives. They teach skills that are immediately useful for researchers, using lessons and datasets that allow you to quickly apply what you have learned to your own work. I’m really excited about using the Software Carpentry curriculum here to help our faculty, staff, and students become more efficient in their research.
This workshop is discipline agnostic. The curriculum will include:
- Shell scripting in the bash shell (using the command line)
- Version control with git and GitHub
- Data manipulation, analysis, and visualization with R/RStudio
The target audience is learners who have little to no prior computational experience, and the instructors will put a priority on creating a friendly environment to empower researchers and enable data-driven discovery. Even those with some experience will benefit, as the goal is to teach not only how to do analyses, but how to manage the process to make it as automated and reproducible as possible. For instance, after attending this workshop you will be able to:
- Write a loop that applies one or more commands separately to each file in a set of files
- Share your code and make it easy to cite
- Read tabular data from a file into R and perform operations on it
- Manage files and projects in RStudio
- Use ggplot2 and R to create publication-quality graphics
Space is limited and it will likely fill quickly. This workshop is free of charge, and lunch and coffee breaks will be provided. Here is a registration link: http://go.middlebury.edu/swc2019-registration/, and the workshop webpage http://go.middlebury.edu/swc2019 for more information.
Questions? Send email to Ryan Clement, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you at the workshop!
By Ryan Clement, Leanne Galletly, and Wendy Shook
This past October, three librarians (Ryan Clement, Data Services Librarian; Leanne Galletly, User Experience & Digital Scholarship Librarian; Wendy Shook, Science Data Librarian) travelled to the Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum in Henderson, NV. The Middlebury Library has been a member institution of the DLF for years, and Midd Librarians regularly travel to DLF’s annual Forum each fall. This conference is a model of what inclusive, practitioner-focused, and innovative library conferences can be.
While you can find slide decks, notes, and other materials from the Forum in DLF’s Open Science Framework repository, and recordings of the opening and closing plenary sessions on the Forum website, we wanted to share some of the sessions and takeaways that seemed most interesting to us.
A session on minimal computing included a discussion of the development of Wax, a framework and set of tools that allow users to create useful and preservable digital archives without a database. Alex Gil and Mariel Nyröp from Columbia University showed examples of projects developed using Wax include Style Revolution and the Barbara Curtis Adachi Bunraku Collection and discussed using Wax to work with students developing digital archives. Wax uses the Jekyll engine to quickly create static, low-maintenance sites without the overhead of platforms like WordPress or Omeka.
There were a number of sessions discussing copyright, access, and usage rights, and how these affect the ability of libraries and scholars to do digital scholarship. In a session on RightsStatements.org, Maggie Dickson, Lisa Gregory, and Brian Dietz discussed the need for though of us creating digital works, and digitizing analog works, to make sure we are being clear in the statements we provide to users on their rights to re-use our cultural heritage works. On the flipside, a talk about the legal literacies needed for text/data mining highlighted University of British Columbia’s useful webpage on “What am I NOT allowed to do with electronic resources?” – often library electronic resources have licenses that are hidden from users, but by bringing them into the open we can help users understand what they can and can’t do with these resources. Brandon Butler, from UVA, also discussed the importance of not only knowing users’ rights under the law, but also negotiating our licenses and contracts so that they don’t actively take away these rights.
A session on Student Centered Digital Scholarship was presented by a group from Bucknell. They host an eight-week summer program for undergraduate students who use digital methods to complete a research project. Students receive a $3k stipend to cover living costs. Each week they learn different tools that they might use in their research or analysis, this brings students together and gives them the opportunity to learn tools that they may use in the future. Process over product is a mantra of the program, and the panelists brought up that students often don’t understand this at first. The other learning goals are to build a community of practice and to develop research, writing, and speaking skill. Bucknell, Gettysburg, and Lafayette each have summer DS programming and students at the end of the summer all the students gather to present their work at a conference. The curriculum used by Bucknell was developed by Gettysburg College and is available to reuse under Creative Commons.
A session focused on preserving unusual forms of digital scholarship, including diverse projects such as video games, mixed media presentation, and performance art. These formats become dated quickly and work, particularly student work, no matter how interesting, is quickly lost or becomes inaccessible. Tallie Casucci spoke about a popular student-created video game. Only partial code remains, and one of the only enduring records being a video walkthrough on YouTube created by a video game fan. The speakers urged preservation staff to refrain from calling these projects “legacy”, implying that they were no longer wanted, rather call them “past” project, and to acknowledge that even though a student-created project is ‘past,’ it still has long term worth. When creating project plans, consider post-project needs as well, including roles, responsibilities, contingencies and sustainability plans. Specialized projects need to be revisited or re-evaluated every two to three years, to evaluate if they are remain “live” or if it time to preserve the underlying components which may include code, video, audio, and any physical components which in turn need to be preserved.
A session on teaching and tactics for working with students on digital scholarship projects began with a presentation by Maggie Hubbard on a supporting a class project using anti-semitic tweets as primary source material for a project. She spoke of the challenges of finding the material herself, given the absolute depravity of anti-semitic Twitter. She also said, though, that it was an effective project, as it helped students who had been studying historical anti-semitism and propaganda a powerful chance to connect what they had been learning to our current landscape. Another presenter in this session, Megan Martinsen from Georgetown University, gave us her “10 Practical Tips for Executing Collaborative Models” – these tips, while familiar to some, are great reminders of things we need to make sure we are doing as we look to collaborate across departments, workgroups, and institutions. Ryan’s favorite tip is shown below.
This simple message a strong one: digital scholarship and digital libraries take time, money, and labor from many contributors. They require committed communities of practice to support and sustain them; these grow out of our commitment to encourage each other, to listen, and to engage with the work others are doing. In short, our goals are to show up, communicate, and collaborate.
Symposium Report: Some Preliminary Reflections on Reconceptualizing Cultural Histories of the Atlantic World, Digitally and Interculturally
After our veritable feast of Atlantic World history scholarship, as well as our productive opening conversation and many informal discussions, where do we stand? Here are some initial (“sketchy,” as it were) reflections.
- How do we contribute new frameworks and conceptual approaches to Atlantic World, trans-oceanic, transnational, and global history?
Flows, Circulations, Hubs, Displacements, Reconfigurations, and…Portals?
With both the Transatlantic Cultures platform and the Atlantic World Forum, we return repeatedly to the question of conceptualizing the Atlantic World as a place of flows and circulations. To be sure, we do not wish to erase the power wielded by centers over peripheries, the continued legacies of various imperialisms, but we also want to become more aware of how those dynamics played out in less predictable ways in the empirical record of the Atlantic World. To do so, cultural history, broadly conceived, is productive because cultural forms and interactions offer spaces and practices of potent if decentralized processes of making—and especially of remaking.
Indeed, building on a comment by Anaïs Flétchet, I too noticed that this remaking often appeared when one of our presenters tracked the movement of Atlantic World participants through various displacements, movements, and relocations. It is often distance, whether forced or voluntary or some combination of the two, which helps to create place-based cultural, institutional, economic, and political formations. We see this when Gilberto Gil (as Anaïs studies) or Alan Lomax (as I study) resettled in what Marcos names as a “hub” (rather than a center) of the Atlantic World: London. We hear it in listening to the stories of how the Old Klezmorim become new—and then, in a way, old again—in Jean-Sébastien Noël‘s research. It appears when we glimpse the people of St. Kitts transferring some, but not all, aspects of the West African significance of one plant (Dracaena) onto another one (Cordyline) that seems similar in look, but in fact arrived in St. Kitts from Tahiti thanks to the British Empire, as Michael Sheridan studies. It becomes manifest too, even in disguised costumes, in the appropriations of Shakespeare in the Masque rituals of Mardi Gras on the island of Carriacou, as Dan Brayton studies. We notice the importance of displacement and relocation in the move to Liberia by Middlebury graduate and Rutland, Vermont, native Martin Freeman, as Will Hart describes it. We see it, as Michele Greet teaches us, in the ways in which the very definition of modernist Latin American visual art is shaped by the experiences of Latin American artists and their networks of dealers, salons, socializing, and more across the Atlantic in Paris (another hub to be sure). It emerges again, as Gabriela Pellegrino shows, in the commercial publishing practices of W.M. Martin and his Book of Knowledge as assembled and reassembled in various permutations around the Pan-American world. We grasp the significance of institutional re-situation (almost translation) in the use of Pan-American cultural exchange to try to shape US public opinion, as Richard Cándida Smith investigates. The importance of displacement, reconfiguration, and distance appears again in the Methodist photographs taken by missionaries and assembled, in frustratingly disorganized form, into albums back at the main offices of the Methodist church, as Didier Aubert shows us. And it is present, as Daniel Silva is analyzing, in the story of fitness culture as a way of inculcating, at an almost invisible yet also profoundly corporeal level, a national, normative sense of what it means to be “Brazilian.” Here it is partly the distance between the ideologies and the bodies onto and into which these ideologies gets placed (where they are quite literally made muscular) that allows them to function.
These stories are all marked not only by flows and circulations, but also by key displacements that, like portals, remake the peoples, cultures, economics, social forms, and political formations of the Atlantic World by causing them to pass through transformations. In other words, one way to get a sense of place in this history is precisely through movement; one way to look toward specific histories is by, in an odd way, looking askance at them. The periphery, as we have long known, turns out to be core to the story. Place emerges from displacement. Culture provides a way to glimpse how in circulations and flows larger struggles, contestations, negotiations, reconfigurations have occurred. Therefore, perhaps like flows, circulations, and hubs, portals might become another productive keyword for this project.
Flows, Circulations, Hubs, Displacements, Reconfigurations, Portals, and…Currents?: Getting Decentralized and Connected at the Same Time
Additionally, one tension I believe we noticed (articulated by Gabriela) in these projects is that we must balance our interest in multiplicity without creating complete fragmentation. How might we use the layered, multidimensional qualities of the digital platforms to present the overlaps and the gaps among the many frameworks for Atlantic World study (transatlantic, circum-Atlantic, Black Atlantic, hemispheric, Pan-American, colonial and postcolonial, diasporic, etc.)? At the same time, how do we create coherent, connected history? Perhaps the metaphor of currents, taken from the movements of water in the Atlantic itself (Gulf Streams, etc.) might help us better consider and historicize two opposing thematics: sometimes there are what Lara Putnam, borrowing from Kamau Braithwaite, calls the “submarine unities of Atlantic history” that rest beneath the “above-water fragments”; at the same time, we also seek to complicate the assertions of above-world unities that hide the great diversity of stories within Atlantic World circulations and flows. If we can trace the ironies of these seeming contradictions effectively perhaps that is a path to better historicization and crystallization of this very large, dare I say oceanic, story.
From Structure and Agency, Domination and Resistance to Other Frameworks?
A final observation: as Richard Cándida Smith noted that he learned in his study of Pan-American cultural exchange, and as Didier Aubert also suggested in his work on the photography by Methodist missionaries in places such as Chile, and indeed lurking in much of our research is a different framework for thinking about power and culture. Rather than privilege ideology alone as a shaping force, we noticed in cultural forms the complicated interactions between institutional forces in the economic and civil spheres (publishing, academic and professional associations, religious organizations and practices, art world dealers and salons, public holiday traditions, etc.) and ideological urges (nation-state formation, capitalism, socialism) and aesthetic gestures (music, visual art, vernacular expression). This is not completely different from existing frameworks we use as historians, such as structure and agency or domination and resistance (or hegemony and counter-hegemony in the Gramscian sense), but it does point to a slightly different way of considering (borrowing again from Richard) the pragmatics of Atlantic World cultural histories, the ways in which culture and power, continuity and disruption, emerge from concrete and specific situations rather than the actual lived experience of the Atlantic World arising from abstract forces. With everything from Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic “practical philosophy” to the “transmodernity” that Walter Mignolo examines to other seemingly abstract dimensions of Atlantic World history, these research projects on the Atlantic World, brought into a shared digital platform and space, have the potential to reveal both the very particular instantiations of larger forces and show how the larger forces only arise from the particular empirical examples. In short, here is a way to, as Bill Hart put it, responding to the work of Lara Putnam, create better duets between microhistories and epic histories—as he put it, to grasp the interactions between “the Small and the Mighty.”
Overview of Project
Atlantic World Forum Kickoff Symposium
Creating Digital Scholarly Dialogues About Atlantic World Cultural Histories
Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, Robert A. Jones ’59 House/Davis Library 105B
Tuesday-Wednesday, October 16-17, 2018
A two-day symposium introduces the DLA project Atlantic World Forum: Reimagining the Online Scholarly Roundtable, Reshaping the Global Digital Humanities, Reframing Circum-Atlantic Cultural Histories at Middlebury.
Partnering with a larger French-Brazilian-led endeavor, Transatlantic Cultures, AWF harnesses the interactive and multimedia dimensions of the digital domain to foster international dialogues on circum-Atlantic cultural history. Each Atlantic World Forum roundtable assembles a group of five to seven scholars from various countries and focuses on a particular theme. The participants meet and exchange ideas by digital means as each one works on a multimedia essay. Projects might also include their exchanges leading to the multimedia essays and after their publication. Other digital work will emerge as well: maps, timelines, databases of primary source material, and invited commentary by additional experts. We seek to distribute the forum in digital modes accessible in various places, whether it be by the web in the US and Europe or by mobile phone in West African countries or even paquetes in Cuba. One to two distinct forums are planned for each year.
Through a proposed seminar taught each semester at Middlebury by DLA Acting Director and historian Michael Kramer, students combine historical pedagogy in Atlantic World history, from its origins in Anglo-American colonial studies to later work on the Black Atlantic to other approaches, with hands-on digital and experiential learning. They work with the participating scholars to conduct research, develop digital and multimedia components for essays, hone editing and project management skills, and innovate new modes of digital humanities collaboration, narrative, and scholarly communication. Potentially, students at other institutions can join the project as well.
Faculty at Middlebury are able to contribute to roundtables, advance their own research when applicable, and incorporate the project into teaching when appropriate. Faculty and students at the Translation and Interpretation program and Middlebury Institute Globe Multilingual Language Services will work with the project on translation of the AWF into multiple languages. Faculty and students at Middlebury’s Schools Abroad and Monterey courses in Intercultural Competency, Intercultural Rhetoric, and Intercultural Digital Storytelling can participate as well in future meetings and exchanges so that AWF contributes to the substantive strengthening of Middlebury’s global networks of scholarship.
Updates on activities at the DLA.
Updates on activities at the DLA.
Will Nash, American Studies/English and American Literatures—One Cry, Many Voices: The Role of Scrapbooks in the Struggle to End American Chattel Slavery
Abolitionist scrapbooks compiled in the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century have been underappreciated and under-analyzed by scholars. Although fighting the anti-slavery battle necessitated overt, often public, action and frequently demanded the collaborative creation of a collective voice to speak against the peculiar institution, the impetus for participation in the struggle necessarily began privately and internally for each individual. If one reads the scrapbooks as illuminating both the subject matter and the maker, then collecting individual maker’s takes on the central moral and political struggle of the mid-nineteenth century provides scholars with an invaluable window of insight into how the struggle arose and how it shaped and was shaped by the individuals, famous and unknown, who embodied and enacted that resistance. It also firmly establishes a connection between the artifacts and our present cultural moment. If, as historian Ira Berlin has asserted, “slavery has become a language, a way to talk about race, in a society in which blacks and whites hardly talk to each other at all,” then exploring the language of the struggle against slavery, and most particularly the language of a collaborative movement like the abolitionist struggle, provides us with a model for thinking about how to address and possibly overcome the inherent tensions and violence that continue to plague America’s racial realities. Within the language of resistance to American chattel slavery, the abolitionist scrapbook stands as a monument both to what an individual can contribute to the struggle and how the preservation and dissemination of his or her insights can help lay a foundation upon which groups of resisters can build. As hybrid texts, the scrapbooks are also ideal candidates for digital humanities work, beginning with the goal of creating a fully-realized, searchable digital edition of the scrapbooks accessible electronically to scholars and teachers who might find the resources useful.
Natalie Eppelsheimer, German—Escape Routes and Refugee Narratives
This project moves from studies of people fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe between 1933 and 1945 to refugee experiences more broadly. It widens the perspective and timeframe by examining escape routes taken by current refugees seeking to reach, rather than escape, Germany. The project will create geospatial visualizations and timelines of refugee stories, use digital tools for text analysis, and harness computational and multimedia tactics to connect WWII-era refugee narratives to a broader geographic and historical context ranging from the writings of German Jewish refugees depicting their lives in British East African colonies to contemporary refugee crises in Europe.
Brigitte Humbert, French—La Grammaire Française: Interactive French Grammar Web Site
This project draws upon materials developed over a career teaching French at Middlebury to build an interactive French grammar website in French with rules, exercises, and activities (songs or games) that are both informative and fun. Explanations of grammar rules are downloadable for safekeeping and further use, as well as readable directly on the site for those who wish to check and confirm a grammar point. Exercises and activities can be downloaded as well, but also done directly on the website with instant feedback. Finally, the site will provide links to more complex French grammar sites for those who wish to study a grammar point more in depth or do further practice.
Jason Mittell, Film and Media Culture/American Studies/Senior Adviser to the DLA—The Characteristics and Characterization of Breaking Bad: A Video Book
This multimedia project will explore the landmark American television series Breaking Bad (2008–13) via the emerging format of videographic criticism, producing a collection of open access video essays interpreting the particular modes of characterization within the series and arguing for the significance of character as an aspect of media storytelling. The resulting “video book” will be intellectually significant in three primary ways: adding to our theoretical and analytical understanding of characterization in moving image media, filling gaps in the existing literature; serving as one of the first extended single- authored studies of one of the most popular, acclaimed and influential contemporary television series; and breaking new ground on how videographic criticism engages with television, establishing a new format of the video book focused on a television series. Given the popularity of the series and the accessibility of and high interest in the video essay format, this video book should make a strong impact on both the academic field of media studies and general audience understanding of Breaking Bad and videographic criticism. Check out a draft of Chapter One, What’s Walt Thinking? Mind Reading & Serialized Memory in Breaking Bad.