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DepositManos Teatrales: Cyber-Paleography and a Virtual World of Spanish Golden Age Theater

In the Manos Teatrales (Theatrical Hands) project, literary scholars, historians and computer scientists will develop manual and automatic methods for analyzing rich manuscripts collections and their societies, using the treasure-trove of Spanish Golden Age theater and related archival records as a case study. Our cyber-paleography effort will build a live, layered virtual world on the web, open to librarians, scholars and students. A first layer will connect digitally restored images of manuscript pages to descriptions of the pen strokes on paper. Manual and automatic analysis of these descriptions will yield profiles of the writers’ handwriting styles and enable semi-automatic inferences based on machine learning methods, about who wrote what and when. A second layer will connect sources to individual and collective histories of the theater community and help scholars understand it. A third layer will describe the techniques of cyber-paleography for both humanists and scientists.

MemberSamantha Blickhan

I’m the IMLS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Adler Planetarium, and Humanities Lead for Zooniverse. I received my Ph.D. in Musicology from Royal Holloway, University of London, with a thesis on the paleography of British song notation in the 12th and 13th centuries. Though I trained as a musicologist, I’m also a specialist in paleography and manuscript studies, and now I help researchers build crowdsourcing projects on Zooniverse. I’m currently researching best practices in crowdsourced text transcription, but I’m also interested in machine learning, particularly Handwritten Text Recognition. Advocate for open access, accessibility, & education for all. She/her.

MemberAbigail G. Robertson

I am a PhD candidate in Medieval Studies and a Bilinski Fellow in the English department at the University of New Mexico. My dissertation investigates the life of the legendary St. Swithun of Winchester who served as bishop in life and source for miracles in death. Synthesizing the disciplines of art history, history, architecture, and literature to illustrate the emergence of the cult that surfaced after Swithun’s death, my research details how the remains of the saint influenced the architecture of the cathedral into which his body was ultimately relocated, the religious writing that inspired pilgrims to visit his shrine, and the art objects that sought to represent his holiness in a way that would symbolize with gems and gold the power of his remains. I am also interested in paleography and codicology and how the digital humanities can aid in the enrichment of editing and cataloguing practices for the purpose of editions.

MemberBradley Irish

Bradley J. Irish studies the literature and culture of sixteenth-century England, with a particular focus on the history of emotion.  His first book — Emotion in the Tudor Court: Literature, History, and Early Modern Feeling — draws on literary analysis, archival research, and cross-disciplinary scholarship in the sciences and humanities to interrogate the socioliterary operation of emotion in the Tudor courtly sphere. His research interests include: Tudor political and cultural history; emotions in early modern culture; Henrician literature and culture; Renaissance poetry, especially Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, and Spenser; the Elizabethan courtier poets; Renaissance drama, including Shakespeare; the revenge tragedy tradition; the stoic tradition in Renaissance literature; early modern manuscript culture; paleography and archival research.  

MemberEvina Steinova

I am a holder of a VENI grant from the Dutch Organisation for Research. My three-year postdoctoral project (2018-21) at the Huygens ING, an institute of the Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, is called Innovating Knowledge. Isidore’s Etymologiae in the Carolingian period. It deals with the study of the early transmission history of the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville, Carolingian appropriation of this work, and intellectual networks in the early Middle Ages. In 2017-18, I was a Mellon Fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, working on the intellectual networks in the early medieval Latin West, and the role of Isidore of Seville’s Etymologies as a vehicle of innovation in this period. In 2016, I received a PhD from Utrecht University for my research on annotation symbols in early medieval Western manuscripts. I have carried out my PhD research in the project Marginal Scholarship: The Practice of Learning in the Early Middle Ages at the Huygens ING, Institute of the Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, in The Hague. I have a keen interest in early medieval annotation practices, in particular the use of symbols rather than words in this context – and I might be the right person to ask a question about this subject. By training, I am a Latin philologist. In the recent years, I have expanded my skills to Latin paleography and codicology and Digital Humanities. Besides Latin, I also know some Hebrew and I worked with Hebrew texts (for example, I published several articles about the 1389 Prague Easter pogrom), and I am interested in Jewish Studies and the late antique history of the Middle East. I hope to improve my coding and paleography skills in the future and hopefully get back to Hebrew and medieval Jewish history. I also try to write popularizing articles about history-related topics on various platforms, both in English and Slovak (my native language), and to organize popularizing events.