Purpose The aim of this paper is to examine how and if information-seeking behaviour changes when individuals transform a hobby into a business. Design/methodology/approach Four hobbyists who now pursued their activities in a professional context were interviewed via semi-structured interviews. The interviewers were transcribed and analysed to identify common themes in the experiences of the participants. Findings Although each participant exhibited some unique behaviours, there were commonalities which some, but not always all, shared. Among those identified were: • The use of information sources in ways unintended by those who produced the sources • The importance of the development and spread of the internet • A continued enthusiasm for their chosen activity even when it has been commercialised by the participants • Participants considered that they undertook relatively little research into business activities before going professional but when examined further, the process of searching for business information was on-going • A change of focus on their activity, either expanding to new areas or concentrating on a specialist area Practical Implications The current government places a great emphasis on the importance of supporting entrepreneurs. Understanding how small business owners go about gaining information on starting a business may benefit others in this situation. Originality/Value There has been much research into information-seeking behaviours in the spheres of serious leisure and of work, but as yet there has been little that investigated individuals who transform a hobby into a business. This study gives an insight into how the information-seeking behaviour of individuals develops as they gain experience.
As humanities scholars increasingly recognize the value of public engagement, and as the proportion of tenure-track faculty positions available continues to decline, many humanities programs are focusing renewed attention on equipping graduate students for careers as scholars both within and beyond academe. To support those efforts, the Scholarly Communication Institute has carried out a study investigating perceptions about career preparation provided by humanities graduate programs. The survey results help to create a more solid foundation on which to base curricular reform and new initiatives by moving the conversation about varied career paths from anecdote to data. The findings make it clear that there are a number of effective interventions that programs can undertake. Many of the skills that people working beyond the tenure track identify as crucial to their positions — things like project management, collaboration, and communication — are also highly beneficial to those working within the professoriate. Structuring courses and projects in a way that emphasizes the acquisition of these skills not only contributes to the successful career paths, but also to the vibrant research, teaching, and service within academe. With new data to work from and clear recommendations as possible guiding principles, graduate programs have a robust set of tools available that can help facilitate curricular assessment and new initiatives. As the importance of assessing the effectiveness of existing structures and potential benefits of reform continues to grow, humanities programs have a strong incentive to demonstrate the ways that graduate programs contribute to the vitality of the university and the broader public sphere. Equipping graduate students with skills and literacies needed for 21st century scholarly work—from technical fluency to an understanding of organizational structures—is critical to ensuring continued rigorous and creative research, scholarship, and teaching.
first para: Grappling with the relationship between intellectuals and communism after 1917 calls to mind two topics long treated as almost entirely distinct. The first concerns non-Soviet, generally noncommunist intellectuals around the world and, in particular, intense twentieth-century debates over the pro-Soviet “fellow travelers” in the decades after 1917. The second concerns the role and place of intellectuals living and working under communism itself as a new, postrevolutionary intelligentsia emerged. The two topics have been divorced from one another not only because they were studied by historians in separated fields, but because the differences between them seemed obvious. Foreign intellectuals, wooed as sympathizers or potential allies by the organs of Soviet cultural diplomacy, parts of the Comintern, and the party-state, were outsiders not infrequently distant from the workings of the secretive Soviet system. Under Stalinism, the most pro-Soviet of them – known as fellow travelers abroad and “friends of the Soviet Union” at home – were celebrated rather than repressed. “Domestic” intellectuals, by contrast, were directly enmeshed in the political, cultural, scientific, and ideological dimensions of Soviet power during a period when the intelligentsia and culture were drastically remade. In the most hackneyed, Cold War-era renditions of these two topics, foreign fellow travelers were naive dupes or “useful idiots” (an apocryphal phase attributed to Lenin), while the Soviet intellectuals were either dissident martyrs or “hacks.”
In South Africa and in other parts of the world, many professions are bemoaning the poor ability of many graduates to communicate their skills and knowledge effectively once they enter the workplace. Increasingly, pressure is placed on higher education to do more in terms of equipping future professionals with the necessary critical reading, research, thinking and writing skills the workplace demands. However, in South Africa especially, the demand for access to higher education is resulting in increased admissions, and in many lecturers standing in front of larger classes filled with students from a wide range of home and educational backgrounds with ‘variable’ commands of English as a medium of instruction and communication (Greenbaum and Mbali 2002). This makes the task of equipping these students with disciplinary knowledge and skills challenge. In responding to this challenge, the Law Faculty at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), in collaboration with a writing specialist, initiated a project aimed at transforming the way in which legal writing was taught at first year level. The overall aim was to start training students, from first year, to adapt their thinking and writing to the kinds of knowledge and practice required by academic study as well as the legal profession. The project was successful in achieving its modest aims, but certain challenges remain. This paper reflects critically on the development and evolution of the model for teaching legal writing in large classes. It argues that teaching legal writing in large classes requires creative and sustainable approaches so that students can become active and critical writers, readers and thinkers over time in this, or any, field.
Where do we come from? Our families play an instrumental role in our development. Indeed, the idea of the individual, apart from the family, challenges notions of family as a continual process, as something permanent. How old is the idea that the individual can strike out on her own, separate from her family, and thus do as she pleases? Families teach children how to be in the world, and particularly, how to be in that world immediately surrounding them; these teachings make up culture. Groups of families comprise communities, cities, and then nation. So at what point does the larger culture of community, or nation, come into conflict with the family? Similarly, when does (Western) culture begin to move away from the family model as center? To what extent has individualism always already been there? In what manner do we see culture clash with, or even in, society? We’ll begin with classical Greek drama, and Euripides’ The Bacchae. Euripides sets his play about the Greek god Bacchus among family. Part of being mortal is thus manifest as being part of family, wherein authority and family are at odds. Shakespeare, some 1,400 years later, uses pastoral comedy as a means to explore the family in opposition to authority. John Milton, in that same early modern period, returns the genre of poetry to the classics, with his revision of the Biblical origin of humanity as sinning souls. We’ll explore a wide selection of English, American, and Hawaiian poets to bridge the gap between the long eighteenth century and the present. Continuing our study of the family on stage, we will read Edward Albee’s The American Dream and Alani Apio’s Kamau. We’ll also be wrapping up the semester with a smattering of Modern and Post-Modern poets, from both the Western and Hawaiian traditions.
In a special 2014 issue of the Latin American Research Review, scholars Jeffrey W. Rubin (history), David Smilde (human relations), and Benjamin Junge (anthropology) develop the idea of “zones of crisis,” or “spaces of material deprivation, exclusion, violence, and environmental destruction” (8) in which “struggles for rights, recognition, and survival are enacted” (7). Zones of crisis appear frequently in environmental literature, and their representation figures in more general imaginaries of crisis, apocalypse, and dystopia, as well as occasional representations of resilience and resurgence, that recur in contemporary written texts, films, and digital media. How does the scholarly exploration of imaginaries of crisis (which are often portrayed as the product of conflicting worldviews), as well as those of escape and resilience (many of which involve retreats from Western, capitalist worldviews) benefit from methodologies that incorporate an understanding of epistemic location into discussions of “place” and crisis? I advocate for ecocritical methodologies for a pluriversal world, and in particular, ask how the integration into the study of literature and the environment of the work of proponents of decolonizing knowledge, such as Linda Martín Alcoff, Enrique Dussel, and Walter Mignolo, might serve to advance environmentally-oriented scholarship and teaching. Methods for a pluriversal ecocritical practice, I argue, facilitate a sort of “Google-Earth style reasoning that permits us to zoom in and zoom out on issues” (Bennett, et.al. 37) in ways that reveal interconnections among imaginaries, worldviews, geopolitical configurations, and their underlying epistemologies. They orient practitioners toward a consideration of processes, relationships, and interplays of discourse, as well as the exploration of competing, overlapping, and intersecting epistemologies at work in cultural products that circulate in scholarly research, classrooms, and society at large.
It has long been acknowledged that syntactic violations in poetry are central to the difficulty of a poetic text (e.g. Fowler 1971, Fois-Kaschel 2002, Burke 2007, Thoms 2008). However, for all its merits, most of the work carried out so far tends either to be more concerned with linguistic theory than with literary effects (i.e. the generativist tradition); or, conversely, it treats syntactic violations as ancillary elements of broader contextual concerns (i.e. literary criticism). It should be the business of stylistics to map the uncharted territory in between these two approaches, explaining syntactic effects at a textual level. Yet, when it comes to syntax, most work in stylistics confines itself to a few canonical authors (notably Dylan Thomas and E.E. Cummings) whilst ignoring later developments of experimental writing (e.g. John Ashbery, Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein). The present paper aims to widen the purview of poetic texts open to stylistic scrutiny as well as to make subtler predictions regarding the relationship between types of syntactic phenomena and resulting literary and processing effects. In particular, I show how different stylistic strategies (e.g. the blurring of constituency, syntactic ambiguity, the avoidance of main verbs) lead to very differentreaderly responses. My main case study is Susan Howe’s experimental poetry, whose ‘incomplete statements’ (Middleton 2010: 637) and ‘asyntactic writing’ (Quartermain 1992: 184) have called for extensive critical commentaries. I analyse the blurring of word classes and functions in a poem from the collection Bed Hangings (2001), leading to multiple garden paths and to a posited reading that de-emphasizes syntactic relations in favour of a coarse semantic processing guided by freestanding nouns and adjectives. I conclude by showing empirically that these parsing difficulties are reflected in reading times that are much longer than those for other poems with more moderate syntactic disruptions.
In this paper we present a statistical method for inferring historical social networks from biographical documents as well as the scholarly aims for doing so. Existing scholarship on historical social networks is scattered across an unmanageable number of disparate books and articles. A researcher interested in how persons were connected to one another in our field of study, early modern Britain (c. 1500-1700), has no global, unified resource to which to turn. Manually building such a network is infeasible, since it would need to represent thousands of nodes and tens of millions of potential edges just to include the relations among the most prominent persons of the period. Our Six Degrees of Francis Bacon project takes up recent statistical techniques and digital tools to reconstruct and visualize the early modern social network. We describe in this paper the natural language processing tools and statistical graph learning techniques that we used to extract names and infer relations from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. We then explain the steps taken to test inferred relations against the knowledge of experts in order to improve the accuracy of the learning techniques. Our argument here is twofold: first, that the results of this process, a global visualization of Britain’s early modern social network, will be useful to scholars and students of the period; second, that the pipeline we have developed can, with local modifications, be reused by other scholars to generate networks for other historical or contemporary societies from biographical documents.
This mid-level core course (taught Spring 2014, Swarthmore College) offers a survey of canonical Victorian literature through the lens of Victorian information theories and knowledge organization practices. Reading texts like Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh, Alfred Tennyson’s In Memoriam A.H.H., Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, John Henry Newman’s The Idea of the University, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, we will investigate the relation between information, knowledge, and literature: how did Victorians imagine literature as information? And how do new literary-critical methods of interpretation draw on the idea of literature as information to test old readings and invent new ones? Calibrating the distance between various Victorians’ ideas about information and our own, we will read Tennyson’s In Memoriam A.H.H. alongside Lewis Carroll’s index for that famous poem before creating our own indexes to it, study John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty” by comparing it to his complete works using topic models, and interpret Darwin’s The Origin of Species alongside three different visualizations of that work’s seven major revised editions and our own experience with textual version control. Throughout, we will focus on developing techniques for close, middle-distance, and distant reading, with an emphasis on exploring digital tools for finding, organizing, counting, curating, decomposing, rereading, and remaking literary texts.
This chapter extends the focus of wartime trauma scholarship to recognise female non-combatants’ variants of traumatic victimisation and agency, as presented in the Middle Eastern and African contexts. The agency of such actors, who suffered tragically from the traumas of war, was inexplicably overlooked in both Middle Eastern and African literatures and scholarships. Thus, my chapter rectifies this lacuna and presents the significant contributions of two female authors, Hanan al- Shaykh and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and examines the post-traumatic responses of female non-combatants in the war narratives of al-Shaykh’s The Story of Zahra and Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. In particular, I readdress The Story of Zahra in light of Half of a Yellow Sun that revises the role of traumatised female non-combatants in collective change. I contend that reading traumas in both narratives propounds that traumatic recovery is never complete. However, the impossibility of transcending the ‘acting-out’ of trauma does not necessarily entail the impossibility of the ‘working-through.’ Arguably, traumatised victims may fail to entirely disengage themselves from the traumatic past but they can still be agents of change. As such, Half of a Yellow Sun exposes the limitation and the failure of The Story of Zahra’s traumatised non-combatant in realising any social transformation. On the other hand, I demonstrate how both narratives construe narration and scriptotherapy, as modes of re-enactment, in relation to the inculcation of self-reconstruction and instigation of individual and collective change. My argument follows an interdisciplinary approach as it engages cultural studies, psychoanalysis and narratology in addressing trauma. Also, trauma theories by Van der Kolk, Dori Laub, Suzette Henke and Cathy Caruth are of substantial significance to this proposed reading.