‘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!

AllSides: A New Online Dictionary

In the face of proclaimed ‘post-truth era‘ and ‘era of fake news’, there is an urgent need of investigation of language and exploration of its political bias. People use the same words in totally different contexts depending on their political and ideological views. Thus, the challenge is to disclose an author’s perspective and critically read information. From now we can also look to a new online dictionary, AllSides Dictionary, that provides a “balanced definition of 400 controversial terms, revealing how they are perceived differently by people with different political perspectives.”

AllSides is a news hub that offers guidance to readers on the potential political bias of articles and news providers. The Dictionary is a project work-in-process, created by contributions from various academic fields. The Dictionary may become the obligatory source of knowledge for students to develop their critical thinking and understanding of controversial topics.

One of the terms included in AllSides Dictionary is ‘Feminism‘ which definition begins with the following words: “It’s hard to imagine another word that invokes such strikingly different connotations than the word feminism”. Further, the definition provides the explanation of the word from two different perspectives:

“For many (most) on the left, the word feminism is a categorically positive reference to the larger fight for women’s rights and the overall push for equal rights and opportunity for women alongside men. For many on the right (not all), feminism has become a categorically negative reference to a vocal and aggressive minority of women pushing everyone else to allow them to ‘act the same as men.’ For some conservatives, the feminist movement disregards unique and special aspects of womanhood in favor for a universalized and androgenous view of gender. In addition to overlooking the distinctive female elements, feminism is seen as eradicating and even trying to destroy the distinctive and unique complementarity between men and women – as well as the traditional family”.

Beside ‘Feminism’, you can read about the words ‘Diversity‘, ‘Equality‘, ‘Refugee‘, ‘Terrorism‘, ‘Discrimination‘, and much more. The last word includes not only interesting explanation but also ‘Questions To Play With’, such as “Do you think discrimination is being over-applied and over-used, or under-recognized and under-seen?”, “Have you ever seen something labeled as ‘discriminatory’ or ‘discrimination’ in a way that you think was unfair or inaccurate?”, “Have you ever felt discriminated against? Did anyone question your feeling?”, “Have you ever heard someone say they were discriminated against and didn’t agree with their characterization of what happened?”.

Read more about AllSides Dictionary: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/academics-use-new-dictionary-aid-students-era-fake-news 

Updated Edition of “Hamlet on the Holodeck”

The MIT Press is going to republish Hamlet on the Holodeck. The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace by Janet H. Murray. Updated edition will be released in March twenty years after its original publication. In 1997 Hamlet on the Holodeck was one of the seminal publications alongside such books as Cybertext by Aarseth (1997) and Hypertext by Landow (1992). Then, to a certain extent, it has been overlooked in a history of electronic literature and digital culture. Therefore, I am glad to hear that Murray’s book is coming back in the new edition. The first and the beginning of second generations of digital literature are represented not only by Landow, Bolter and Aarseth, but also by Murray whose contribution in this field is invaluable.

Janet Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck was instantly influential and controversial when it was first published in 1997. Ahead of its time, it accurately predicted the rise of new genres of storytelling from the convergence of traditional media forms and computing. Taking the long view of artistic innovation over decades and even centuries, it remains forward-looking in its description of the development of new artistic traditions of practice, the growth of participatory audiences, and the realization of still-emerging technologies as consumer products. This updated edition of a book the New Yorker calls a “cult classic” offers a new introduction by Murray and chapter-by-chapter commentary relating Murray’s predictions and enduring design insights to the most significant storytelling innovations of the past twenty years, from long-form television to artificial intelligence to virtual reality.

More: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/hamlet-holodeck-0

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

George Walton Lucas Jr., an American filmmaker and the creator of the Star Wars, is about to open the museum called the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. The concept design of the futuristic-looking museum in Exposition Park is astounding. It assumes that the house will collect his some 10,000 paintings and book, and magazine illustrations assembled over decades. Without a doubt, the museum will attract tourists, fans of Star Wars, artists, humanists, researchers, futurists, and many other!

More: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/10/arts/design/george-lucas-will-open-museum-of-narrative-art-in-los-angeles.html?smid=fb-share

Postdoc in Media Lab Helsinki at Aalto University!

I am pleased to say that I have got a position as a postdoctoral researcher in Media Lab Helsinki at Aalto University where now I am conducting my six-month research under the supervision of Prof. Lily Diaz-Kommonen. My project, titled “Laboratory Beyond Science: Towards an Analysis of New Physical Place and a New Paradigm”, is devoted to the meaning, the operation and the idea of laboratory in media, culture and the humanities.

In the face of proclaimed crisis, the humanities has undergone many significant infrastructural changes. One of their implementations is building a new physical location that is ‘laboratory’ which radically modifies the nature of humanities. Since every workplace determines a type of research, instruments, and networking between actors, we need to focus on an investigation of the new physical place to realize how it transforms the way of conducting research, methodology, and knowledge production in the humanities where consequently, for me, a ‘cultural artifact’ is seen as a ‘sample’.

Therefore, my research is devoted to the analysis of laboratory beyond science: in media, culture and the humanities through the lens of the sociology of space and sociology of scientific knowledge. The goal of the project is to show that the ‘laboratory is considered as an 1) institutional change within the university, 2) a space of technological imagination and designing new society and culture, and 3) a new paradigm implying new practices, including new ways of knowing, new forms of sociality, and new forms of agency.

A primary research method is as a case study to investigate the laboratories in practice, seen as a physical space (Media Lab Helsinki at Aalto University), and a paradigm (Aalto LAB Mexico). In the coming months, I will also conduct interviews with heads of laboratories.