‘The Making of the Humanities VI’

Last month I had a pleasure to present my current research on laboratories in the humanities during the conference ‘The Making of the Humanities VI’ taking place at the University of Oxford, Humanities Division and Somerville College on September 28-30, 2017. The goal of my presentation, titled ‘The Emergence of Laboratories in the Humanities: Impetus, Implementation, and Impact’ was to trace a history of the humanities labs, covering the impulse and the mechanism of their creation. Below, I have attached my abstract and presentation available also in the section of ‘Projects’.

The humanities has made significant conceptual shifts that include fostering strong innovative and collaborative research, employing technologies, and building a bridge between the academy, industry, and community. Above changes mean designing and defining the humanities anew. Creating an academic discipline requires an ‘administrative imagination’; that is to say, we must build a structure aligned with development strategy. Consequently, the humanities has undergone an ‘infrastructure turn’ over the past ten years and launched a new physical place: a laboratory. The emergence of labs in the humanities has been crucial for “redefining the role of the humanities” and “re-configuration of the humanities offered by computational technologies”; however, the proliferation and the fragmentation of labs have led to a state of emergency when it becomes urgent to investigate their significance, objectives, and impact.  

The goal of the presentation is to analyze three aspects of the humanities labs: its impetus, implementation, and impact. The first part aims to trace a history of the humanities labs, covering the impulse and the mechanism of their creation. This section includes also mapping out laboratories in the humanities established all over the world. The second part presents the complex landscape of the laboratories in the humanities, launched in various ways as a physical research lab, a makerspace, a virtual network, a community project, etc. The last part examines the features of laboratories that significantly reconfigure the humanities seen as an innovative, digital technology-based field, hands-on experimental research, situated practice, engaged in community affairs, and collaborating with local companies.

Free access to my new article “Data, Collaboration, Laboratory”

My new article Data, Collaboration, Laboratory: Bringing Concepts from Science into Humanities Practice has just been published in “English Studies” (2017, Doi: 10.1080/0013838X.2017.1332022).

You can receive one of 50 free eprints! Everyone who clicks on the link below will be taken to the full article. Feel free to share it with colleagues and friends, giving them free access to the article.

http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/zCideK2GiU94xHqfG5Pp/full

Abstract:
Humanities researchers have been looking for new tools and strategies to overcome what has been called, in recent years, a “crisis” in the humanities. These efforts maintain that it is possible to change the widespread view that humanities fields are arcane or irrelevant by changing conceptual frames in ways that show the humanities to be useful, accessible and actionable. Specifically, researchers have been claiming for the humanities frames and concepts from the sciences, such as the humanities “labs” that signal (in both name and design) quantifiability, verifiability and functionality. This tactic of borrowing categories from the sciences is part of a larger tactical turn that we may call “the scientification of the humanities”. The new field of the digital humanities, in particular, is a central site for this turn. With a focus on digital humanities practices, this article aims to describe the tactical meanings, in the humanities, of the borrowed concepts data, collaboration and laboratory, all of which strategically frame the humanities as a practical, innovative and profitable field. Ultimately, I show that the trajectory of scientification in the humanities follows a path from concepts to transformation.

Humanistyka: Pracownia, Centrum czy Laboratorium?

Właśnie ukazał się długo wyczekiwany numer “Tekstów Drugich” (1/2017) pod hasłem “Nowa Humanistyka”, a w nich mój artykuł pt. Humanistyka: Pracownia, Centrum czy Laboratorium?

Zapowiedź numeru:
Nowy numer o nowej humanistyce, a w nim: Kil, Małczyński i Wolska piszą o „laboratoryzacji” humanistyki, Nycz o głównych nurtach nowej humanistyki na świecie, Czapliński o najważniejszych propozycjach badawczych w humanistyce ostatniej dekady, Skrendo o naukowym statusie badań humanistycznych, Łebkowska o autorefleksyjności współczesnej humanistyki, Koziołek o nowej propozycji humanistyki literaturoznawczej, Domańska o sprawiedliwości epistemicznej w humanistyce zaangażowanej, Rewers o koncepcji ‘kulturynatury’, Pawlicka o transformacji strukturalnej humanistyki, a do Nowej Humanistyki krytycznie odnosi się Bielik-Robson. Ponadto: Sendyka o humanistyce forensycznej wrażliwości, Kobielska o problemie zaangażowania w kulturoznawczych badaniach nad pamięcią, Dauksza o realizmie afektywnym, Kuziak o polityczności polskiej humanistyki, Tabaszewska o literaturoznawstwie służebnym, a Cieński o nowej humanistyce i problemie ciągłości tradycji. W numerze również: Momro o epistemologii anachronizmu, Sugiera o praktykach kontrfaktualnych, Żychliński o przemianach współczesnych fikcji literackich, Żylińska o istnieniu obrazów „po człowieku”, Shallcross o praktykach hybrydowego zespolenia cytatu z jego materialnym nośnikiem, Rejniak-Majewska o roli tytułów w sztuce abstrakcyjnej, Antonik o społecznym życiu literatury, Neuger o problemach z przekładem tego, co lokalne w poezji, Rakowski o nowy polach poznawczych w antropologii oraz Barcz na temat nowej pamięci o powodzi. Ponadto artykuły o humanistyce cyfrowej: Szczęsna pisze o humanistyce wobec rozwoju technologii cyfrowych, a Maryl odpowiada na pytanie, kim są polscy humaniści cyfrowi. Publikujemy także: tłumaczenia – Segal o piśmienności kulturowej oraz Morettiego o specyfice pracy we współczesnym laboratorium literackim, rozmowę z Joanną Rajkowską na temat projektu Samobójczynie oraz recenzje, w tym – Góreckiego o Encyklopedii gender.

Poniżej zamieszczam streszczenie mojego artykułu:

Wzrost popularyzacji laboratoriów humanistycznych zmusza do zastanowienia się nad źródłem, znaczeniem i konsekwencją transformacji strukturalnej humanistyki. Założeniem szkicu jest zanaalizowanie relacji pomiędzy miejscem prowadzenia badań a zmianami funkcjonalnymi i metodologicznymi. Tezą artykułu jest stwierdzenie, że każdorazowa zmiana miejsca w historii humanistyki jest strategią instytucjonalną, podejmowaną w odpowiedzi na aktualne w danym czasie wyzwania. Celem jest zatem prześledzenie sytuacji i czynników, które doprowadziły do ukonstytuowania się laboratoriów humanistycznych. Omówione są następujące zjawiska: korporacjonizm uniwersytetu, kryzys humanistyki, unaukowienie humanistyki oraz rozwój humanistyki cyfrowej. Po przeglądzie warunków zewnętrznych, analizie i porównaniu poddane zostają trzy miejsca humanistyki: pracownia, centrum oraz laboratorium. Twierdzi się, że zmiana miejsca oznacza budowanie nowych struktur i nowych porządków władzy. Stąd tworzenie laboratoriów uważa się za część zwrotu taktycznego w humanistyce. [U. Pawlicka, Humanistyka: Pracownia, Centrum czy Laboratorium? “Teksty Drugie” 1 (2017)]

Zapraszam do lektury!

My Presentation in Helsinki Digital Humanities Research Seminar

I am pleased to say that this Friday I am going to give a speech, entitled “Visualizing Electronic Literature Collections” in Digital Humanities Research Seminar at the University of Helsinki (Metsätalo, Unioninkatu 40B, 3rd floor, lecture room 13).

More about event: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/digital-humanities-helsinki/digital-humanities-research-seminar

More about my presentation: http://urszulapawlicka.com/visualizingELC/

All welcome!

Humanities Commons

The Modern Language Association launched a project of Humanities Commons which is a nonprofit network where humanities scholars can create a professional profile, discuss common interests, develop new publications, and share their work. The network is open to anyone working in or adjacent to the humanities.

Humanities Commons was designed by scholarly societies in the humanities to serve the needs of humanists as they engage in teaching and research that benefit the larger community. Unlike other social and academic communities, Humanities Commons is open-access, open-source, and nonprofit. It is focused on providing a space to discuss, share, and store cutting-edge research and innovative pedagogy—not on generating profits from users’ intellectual and personal data.

The network also includes the Commons Open Repository Exchange (CORE) which is a full-text, interdisciplinary, non-profit social repository designed to increase the impact of work in the Humanities.

I have already logged in the network, so let’s experience a new platform for the humanities!

More about Humanities Commons: https://hcommons.org/about/

12 Must-Read Books about Digital Humanities

Must-read books about digital humanities are as follow:

  • A Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008)
  • Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts, ed. Thomas Bartscherer, Roderick Coover (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
  • Debates in the Digital Humanities, ed. Matthew Gold (2012)
  • Digital_Humanities, ed. Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, Jeffrey Schnapp (The MIT Press, 2012)
  • Understanding Digital Humanities, ed. by D. Berry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
  • Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities, ed. by Willard McCarty, Marilyn Deegan (Routledge, 2012)
  • Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles and Politics by Brett D. Hirsch (Open Book Publishers, 2012)
  • The Emergence of the Digital Humanities, Steven E. Jones (Routledge, 2013)
  • Comparative Textual Media: Transforming the Humanities in the Postprint Era, ed. N. Katherine Hayles, Jessica Pressman (Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2013)
  • Interdisciplining Digital Humanities: Boundary Work in an Emerging Field by Julie Thompson Klein (University of Michigan Press, 2015)

This above list is expanded by the next publications released in this year, such as Defining Digital Humanities by Melissa Terras, Julianne Nyhan, and Edward Vanhoutte (Routledge, 2014), and A New Companion to Digital Humanities edited by Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth (Blackwell, 2016).

I especially recommend the last position A New Companion to Digital Humanities which in comparison with the previous version presents comprehensively various areas of digital humanities, called as a “discipline in its own right”, rather than a set of related methods. Besides the description of digital tools and projects, what was typical for the first publications about digital humanities, it focuses on critical analysis of digital humanities (e.g. Ancient Evenings: Retrocomputing in the Digital Humanities by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Interface as Mediating Actor for Collection Access, Text Analysis, and Experimentation by Stan Ruecker, and Gendering Digital Literary History: What Counts for Digital Humanities by Laura C. Mandell). What is interesting for me, the edition includes, for the first time, articles devoted to the relationships between digital humanities and electronic literature, such as Exploratory Programming in Digital Humanities Pedagogy and Research by Nick Montfort and Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities by Scott Rettberg.

More about resources of digital humanities: Bibliography for Work in Digital Humanities and (Inter)mediality Studies by Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, “CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture”(2013).

“A Literary History of Word Processing”

Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum is finally released! Along with it, it is published its first review written by Dylan Hicks for “Los Angeles Review of Books”. “[book] is especially concerned with how word processing has changed the embodied labor of writing — its actual tasks, tools, and physical demands — and with how literary writers have embraced, resisted, and interpreted that transformation”. Track Changes is a fundamental reading in the field of digital humanities, comparative textual media, and electronic literature.

‘Digital humanities’ means nothing

Los Angeles Review of Books” has launched series of interviews with theorists related to digital humanities. In the first part Melissa Dinsman talks with Franco Moretti, professor at the Stanford University and initiator of the Stanford Literary Lab.

His seminal books Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History (2005) and Distant Reading (2013) are the core of theories of digital humanities. First one presents a scientific approach to literature, namely the use of visualization of data in literary studies. Such approach is a result of his geographical research conducted in the 90. when he published Atlas of the European Novel (1998). Quantitative methods turned out to be helpful and relevant with mapmaking. Around 2005 he met Matt Jockers who joined Stanford University as a technology specialist. From that moment they started to work together. His last book is about visualization methods in humanities and to be more precise, a way of reading the visualization. Moretti coined the term “distant reading” as opposed to “close reading”. While “close reading” focuses on studying particular, small part of text, “distant reading” makes possible to read and analyze massive amounts of data. His motto to not read books provoked a storm in the humanities. However, it is only solution to deal with data deluge and to learn from them something that it is unreachable through “close reading”.

The series of interview conducting by Dinsman is devoted to digital humanities, covering “computational research, digital reading and writing platforms, digital pedagogy, open-access publishing, augmented texts, and literary databases, media archeology and theories of networks, gaming, and wares both hard and soft” etc. Digital humanities has become an umbrella term. Therefore, it is not surprise that Moretti claimed that “‘digital humanities’ means nothing”. The conversation touches issues such as definition of digital humanities, its role at the time of crisis of humanities, and making the humanities relevant for the 21st-century university by focusing on “practice-based project” etc.

The interview available here.

3D-printed Rembrandt

The Next Rembrandt” is astounding 3D-printed Rembrandt painting designed by a team of developers with the technical support of Microsoft and backing from Dutch bank ING. The aim of project was to create new work “made by Rembrandt” by using data from his existing paintings. Designed software system recognizes Rembrandt based on his use of geometry, composition, and painting materials. Then software replicates his style and also generates new facial features what was probably the biggest challenge. Distilling the artistic DNA from piece to create new work shows again incredible capabilities of new technology, software system, digital tools and “big data” in the art and humanities.