The very recent past has seen an upswing of scholarly interest not so much in the Internet and Web themselves but in the terms in which they have been discussed and understood. This article examines a remarkable effusion of writing in the 1990s that addressed the spiritual and ethical implications of “cyberspace”. Christian critics reacted in different ways to prophecies of technological revolution. Some saw ethical challenges in relation to economic and social exclusion and the nature of interpersonal relations. Others elaborated a semi-mystical evolutionary understanding of the Web as an ontologically concrete “space”. Others again revived older anxieties about the challenge apparently posed to human uniqueness and autonomy posed by computerisation more generally, which cyberspace threatened to magnify. However, this thinking did not occur in isolation from the sweep of Anglophone social thought. I suggest instead that the wider discourse about the ethics of the Internet and Web, both learned and popular, was infused at every level with religious imagery. As such, the article contributes to the ongoing debate on the extent to which the cultures of the UK and North America have been secularised: even if religious observance has declined, the English language still bears the marks of its Christian past.
Research “excellence” is a central target of policy, researchers and institutions. Increasingly it is a target of criticism for the way in which it reinforces systemic biases in power, reduces diversity, and excludes many participants from the processes of scholarship. In this chapter I argue that in the context of post- colonial and transitional countries research excellence is particularly dangerous because it represents a neo-colonial agenda, one in which powerful actors at the traditional centres of western scholarship are imposing systems, infrastructures and services that will enable expropriation and dominance. The term “neo-colonial” is deployed deliberately to emphasise that this is a new cycle of imposing imperial systems on post-colonial and transitional nations that damage the ability to create or preserve local institutions that support knowledge production for society. Using the Sabato-Botana Triangle as a model to describe and analyse interconnectedness among local systems of industry, knowledge production and government the paper will examine how an over-emphasis on international, or non- local, connections is damaging to research systems and society more broadly. The “Research Excellence” agenda systematically privileges and reinforces connections between local knowledge production and “international” power centres. Addressing this will require building new infrastructures, institutions and culture that privilege an “interconnectedness of the local” and track and reward the information flows that strengthen local ties, and to build trust and credibility in locally relevant and valuable scholarship.
This essay analyzes two recent interactive documentary projects: Sharon Daniel’s Public Secrets (2006), an exploration of the prison industrial complex through the testimonies of female inmates in California, and Zohar Kfir’s Points of View (2014) which “maps” Palestinian video advocacy projects made for and/or disseminated by B’Tselem, a human rights organization working in the occupied territories. I argue that the interactive documentary form, as deployed by Daniel and Kfir, draws on the legacies of radical documentary practice, but offers new possibilities for engagement and intervention. The interactive documentary form functions as a structuring device for a wealth of affectively powerful witnesses, testimonies, and varied forms of evidence. This essay explores how interactive documentaries allow viewers/users a multi-faceted affective encounter with a range of subjects and evidence. This form, in concert with a radical political stance, I argue, is a locus for the representation of and viewer/user critical engagement with broad systemic problems, renders visible hidden structures of violence and power, and engenders an “affective radicality” that moves viewers/users into larger networks of political discourse, militant activism, and practices of resistance.
Universo Cantigas is a critical digital edition of the surviving corpus of secular troubadour poetry in Galician-Portuguese. This online edition is the latest instalment of the Glosario da poesía medieval profana galego-portuguesa project (available on this site and at http://glossa.gal) and is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competition under the Glosario da poesía medieval profana galego-portuguesa III. Edición crítica dixital das cantigas de amor project (ref. FFI2015-63523-P). The ‘general songbook’ (or ‘general compilation’) is divided according to the three main cantiga genres: de amor, de amigo, and de escarnho e de maldizer. The first phase of this new project (2016-2018) focuses on the first section of the songbook, comprising the cantigas de amor and the rubric for the cantigas de amigo. This section covers manuscript texts 1-640, containing a total of 1683 compositions (based on the Jean-Marie d’Heur referencing system). The aim of Universo Cantigas is to provide comprehensive digital access on a staged basis to all the cantiga poems of the Galician-Portuguese troubadours. The site also offers all the features of an online resource, including continuous updates, unlimited space, scope for additions and expansion, and links to a range of materials related to the editing process that offer valuable insight into the texts.
When Sir Thomas Bodley founded the Bodleian Library, he sought to keep “baggage books,” “riff-raff books,” and distasteful literature off the shelves. The question of keeping literature in or out of a library or canon is never simply about literature; it is also about class-based criticism and notions of defending culture and taste against unauthorized popular versions. Teaching dangerously opens the early modern classroom, theorizing it as a type of literary fandom that is both personally engaging and socially conscious: this type of teaching does not forget academic rigor; it remembers human impact, by enfolding scholarship and theory. Putting early modern texts into play alongside contemporary literature and social issues moves learning in unscripted, surprising, and dangerous directions. This article models these dangerous practices by interfacing affect theory with the fandom of Thomas Cromwell as he appears in Michael Drayton’s poem The Legend of Thomas Cromwell, the apocryphal “W.S.” drama The Life and Death of Thomas Cromwell, and Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. This type of ‘magic’ is not so far removed from J.K. Rowling’s wizardry, and teaching dangerously with affect theory empowers classroom fandom that engages and changes the world as we know it.
In this article, I depart from the typical discussion of the Korean sociocultural concept of han as a collective feeling of unresolved resentment, pain, grief, and anger that runs in the blood of all Koreans. Scholars, artists, writers, and critics frequently characterize han as “the Korean ethos” and the soul of Korean art, literature, and film. It is said to be unique to Koreans and incomprehensible to Westerners. I argue, however, that its contemporary biologistic-oriented meaning emerged first during the Japanese colonial period as a colonial stereotype, and that tracing the afterlife of han gives us a postcolonial understanding of its deployment in culture. I examine how han originated under the contradictions of coloniality, how it evolved from a colonial construct to its adoption into Korean ethnonationalism, and how it travels into a completely new context through the Korean diaspora. Rather than dismissing han as nothing more than a social construct, I instead define han as an affect that encapsulates the grief of historical memory—the memory of past collective trauma—and that renders itself racialized/ethnicized and attached to nation.
The New Handbook of Syriac Literature (NHSL) is a born-digital TEI-encoded reference work for the study of Syriac literature. The first volume, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Syriaca Electronica, was published by Syriaca.org in 2016 using a simple TEI schema to describe a single genre (hagiography) (Saint-Laurent et al. 2016; see also Saint-Laurent 2016, Zanetti 2016). Past TEI-encoding practice has focused on describing specific manuscripts or creating editions of works. By contrast, the NHSL seeks to describe abstract or conceptual works (including unpublished ones) and to relate them to people, places, and other works, as well as to the manuscripts, editions, and translations that embody them. Two key features of this encoding model include using for description of works and fully leveraging @source for scholarly citations. In preparation for expanding the NHSL to include other genres, Syriaca.org is revising the TEI schema used for hagiographic works. Among other revisions, the new model will employ RDF classes and properties as @type and @ref values, respectively, in order to aid RDF serialization. The authors actively seek feedback, suggestions, and criticism concerning this revised schema.
The vernacular online videos produced by the Arab revolutions constitute an unprecedented (though not unproblematic) historical resource for understanding the subjective experience of the ordinary people who find themselves on the front line of revolutionary struggle. But they also effect a sea-change in the way in which we view and understand YouTube itself. This article argues that the political significance of these videos lies less in their explicit content, than in their aesthetics – that is, in the new formal and sensory propositions that they constitute, the ways in which they “redistribute the sensible” (Rancière). The prologue proposes, following Judith Butler, that “the people” who are the subject of history are essentially a performative event, rather than a pre-existing entity, and that to write about revolution therefore requires a performative and allegorical approach. The first section reviews the current academic notion of “vernacular video” in the light of Ivan Illich’s work of the early 1980s on vernacular language and values, and argues that a stronger, more political conception of the vernacular is necessary to do justice to these works. The second section offers a close reading of one particular video from the Libyan uprising, and argues that it offers less an example, than an allegory of the dialogical relationship be- tween the individual and the collective that defines the moral economy of the vernacular. The article concludes by proposing that the right response to such videos is not (just) more theory or criticism, but rather to seek to emulate their radically egalitarian forms of practice.
Preprint, to be published in: Historische Editionen im digitalen Zeitalter. Les éditions historiques à l’ère numérique : Bestandesaufnahme und Ausblick. État des lieux et perspectives, hg. v. Pascale Sutter u. Sacha Zala, Basel (Schwabe) The essay discusses the consequence of digital methods in scholarly editing of historical sources. It comes to the following conclusions: Documents cannot be studied without taking the material features into account. Digital methods enable the editors to document those features relevant for the critical analysis of the source. The physical text bearing document is unique. It can never be reproduced but only referenced. Images, verbal descriptions, transcription and even more sophisticated reproduction techniques are only selective. In the digital edition the International Resource Identifier (IRI) of the semantic web is the best way to represent the original. Verbal descriptions have their own right against digital images and analysis methods of material science. Images are the cheapest way of editing, as they convey much information although not accessible for people lacking the necessary palaeographical skills. But computers can extract information from images too. Verbal description needs controlled vocabularies to create machine readable versions of the human readable editions.
In the last decade of the 20th century a new field of language research emerged that has come to be known as ‘language documentation’ or ‘documentary lingusitics’ (Himmelmann 1998, 2002, 2006; Lehmann 2001; Austin 2010; Grenoble 2010; Woodbury 2003, 2011). In this paper we explore how it was defined in the seminal work of Himmelmann (1998) and others, including what were presented as significant characteristics that distinguished language documentation from language description, and how the field has changed and evolved over the past 20 years. A focus on best practices, standards, tools and models for documentary corpora appeared in the early years, which led later to more critical discussions of the goals and methods of language documentation. The paper examines some current developments, including new approaches to language archiving, and suggests that there are new opportunities for language documentation to adopt a more socially-engaged approach to languages and linguistic research, including better engagement with language revitalisation. There are also opportunities to work towards addressing what is currently a language documentation output gap through experimentation with new genres and and innovations in writing and publication.