The Digital Archive as Argument:Enhancing Undergraduate Literary Scholarship Laura McGrane Haverford College February, 2011
Guiding QuestionWhat is at stake in using,producing and presentingarchival materials in variousmedia forms at anundergraduate level?
Relevant Digital Collections• ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online)• 17th-18th Century Burney Coll. Newspapers• Early American Imprints• American Periodicals Series• ARTstor• EEBO (Early English Books Online)
Integrating Historical Digital Collections into the Curriculum• Institutional economic imperatives• Fostering the student as scholar• Enabling original research that moves beyond a set syllabus
Importance of Prep Work• Understanding search terms (‘ribbon’/’ribband’) (‘wig’/’periwig’)• Discovering how database organization produces assumptions and knowledge
Search MechanismsHere compare the subject/genre searches.
Crucial components• Multi-directional navigation• Balance between user- and architect-driven modes of reading• Multi-media forms• Interdisciplinary texts• Student work as progress versus product• Projects that open out into the public sphere
Examples from Student ArchivesWhat follows are screen shots from variouspoints in student digital archives. In the “real”thing, all links are live (and many are invisiblehere), and allow the reader to move throughprimary texts and arguments freely.
Hermit Literature in Early America MAIN MENU This archive attempts to present and analyze various accounts of the hermit in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century America through the following lenses: Accounts written about (or by) a real hermit, in which the hermit often becomes a sort of social and/or political commentator Poetic and fictional representations of the hermit, in which he becomes a romantic, fantastical, or idealized literary figure These categories, which separate hermit documents into those constructed by a writer’s imagination and those modeled after real hermits, work together to reveal the American hermit as a figure that reflects and refashions emerging thematic and rhetorical markers of a new American identity.Annie Reading, December 2010 See Bibliography
Non-Fictional Hermit Accounts Each piece of hermit literature in this archive displays at least one of the following themes. Click on a topic to explore examples in non-fictional hermit accounts. From there you will have the option to see how similar themes arise in poetic representations of hermits: Unique Wisdom Past Trauma Religion Nature LibertyMainMenu
Two Georges: Revolutionary PoliticsHow doGeorgeWashingtonand GeorgeIII mirroreach other inrevolutionarydiscourse? Anxieties of imitation Main Menu
Prior to the ratification of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776,many American colonists had been engaged in political discussions anddisputes regarding the taxable status of essential food items. Indeed, due tothe successive English parliamentary acts that imposed tariffs on molasses,sugar, and tea, the colonists had become conscious of the social implicationsand political connotations of food. Although the Declaration ofIndependence and the following Revolutionary War effectively endedEngland’s egregious political control over the American diet, remnants ofEnglish culture still permeated the culinary landscape of America; though theAmerican colonies successfully achieved political independence, they stillremained culturally attached to England. Consequently, situated within thisrevolutionary context, this archive endeavors to conceptualize the changingrelationship between England and America by examining the changingculinary landscape as depicted in popular domestic guides and cookbooks;through the juxtaposition and purposeful ordering of British and Americandocuments, this archive traces a second revolution. (Gregory Toy, Fall 2010)
“Most of the American fruits are extremely odoriferous, and therefore are very disgusting at first to us Europeans: on the contrary, our fruits appear insipid to them, for want of odour.” Samuel Pegge in The Forme Of Cury (1780) 1. Beef 2. Turkey 3. Salmon 2 4. American Specialties 3 1 4MainMenu
Glasse, Hannah. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. Alexandria: Cottom & Stewart, 1805.(Originally published in 1747 in London. Later reprinted in America) The English Way Choosing Beef How would you characterize each excerpt? The American Way Simmons, Amelia. American Cookery. Hartford: Hudson & Goodwin, 1796.MainMenu
American SpecialtiesSimmons, Amelia. American Cookery. Hartford: Hudson & Goodwin, 1796. What makes these recipes uniquely American? Glasse, Hannah. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. Alexandria: Cottom & Stewart, 1805. (Originally published in 1747 in London. Later reprinted in America)MainMenu
Student as Amateur Archivist/Scholar• Archival materials as fodder for original thesis work and beyond• Cultural literacy (students look to all collections Google Books, iTunes, museum displays) with an eye to arrangement and exclusion• Next steps: students can become involved in larger international projects for “real” online archives and annotational work.
Outcomes• Open out the syllabus to cultural materials• Opportunities for undergraduates to produce genuinely new knowledge• Projects that move beyond the boundaries of the classroom• Projects that encourage the reader/user to roam freely, but within the constraints of an archival argument
Re:Humanities http://news.haverford.edu/blogs/rehumanities/Tri-college Digital Humanities: http://www.brynmawr.edu/tdh/