Job Posting for TWO Positions: Assistant or Associate Professor in Creative Writing, Assistant Professor in Cinema Studies

Jobs and Fellowships
Greetings Everyone: The Spelman College English department is excited to announce that we are currently hiring for two positions, to begin in August 2019. Please circulate widely among your networks. ======= 1) Assistant Professor in Cinema Studies [Tenure Track] Must have a Ph.D. in cinema studies...

Cleaning up chorography

I’ve been at the Spatial Humanities conference, hosted by the Lancaster Digital Humanities Centre these last two days. It’s been a terrific trip, like the best conferences, introducing me to new ideas and occasioning reflection on, and reappraisal of, old ones. I gave my paper, (slightly grandiosely), entitled The Eye of History: Chorographic Prologues and the Origins of the Spatial Humanities on day 1. In this, I attempted to set out some research I’ve been doing over the summer into how we might approach the writings of antiquarians such as John Leland, William Camden, Peter Heylyn, and William Stukeley as expressions of place. The eye of history bit of the title comes from the translated preface to Abraham Ortelisus’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, and – I argue – represents a key moment in the historiographical development of the spatial humanities, in that it recognizes that in order to understand the ancient world and its events, it is necessary to first have an appreciation of its geography. So rather than understanding the Roman world by reading the accounts of Livy or Tacitus, say, or the Greek world by reading the works of Thucydides or Herodotus, we need to understand the settings and the landscapes in which the events they describe occurred. Ortelius was seeking to help the educated classes of the sixteenth century do this by producing the Theatrum. My argument – and this is all in the The Book, out next year – is that the observational narratives of Leland et all plug in to this way of thinking, and apply it to understanding of the contemporary (English) landscape. The observational narratives oftentimes bore the titles of “chorographies” – first-hand accounts of that landscape preserved in memory and written record; and communicated through the then-new media of movable type. Sure, they had their own motivations, and their own agendas – Anglo-Catholic spirituality in the case of Heylyn, muscular pan-English nationalism in the case of Camden, a desire to resurrect the glories of the Arthurian past in the case of Leland – but this, I think, represented a new genre of spatial description, framed and enabled by the printed medium.

This blog post seeks to offer a brief elaboration of this argument, largely as a result of a question asked afterwards by Karl Grossner of the World Historical Gazetteer (which Karl also presented at the conference). Karl, nailing (in my view) the overlap between the thought processes of geography and gazetteer technology, pointed out that the types of spatial communication I presented were all descriptive. They thus negate the kind of critical and exploratory deployments of GIS which are necessary for any success in its use for exploring any humanities research question, a fact highlighted by numerous other speakers (especially Paty Muretta-Flores in her excellent opening keynote). Expanding on this point, Karl tweeted:

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I couldn’t agree more – and it highlights that the material I was presenting are primary historical spatial artefacts (and yes they are descriptions of place, driven by some of the motivations described above), not analytical vehicles or interpretations. The challenge henceforth is to identify the critical frameworks needed to understand and interpret those spatial artefacts – frameworks which will be mixed-method, involving both GIS and more discursive, qualitative means of reading. Thanks Recogito, I was able to give a high-level hint at what this might look like, by overlaying places referred to in Stukeley’s Itinerarium Curiosum with Ellis’s 1777 Compleat Chorography (kindly snapped by Valeria Vitale):

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So I would agree that while chorography might indeed be a dirty word, we can, perhaps, clean it up a bit.

The rise and sharp plummet of the name Heather

Hey, no one told me that baby name analysis was back in fashion. Dan Kopf for Quartz, using data from the Social Security Administration, describes the downfall of the name Heather. It exhibited the sharpest decline of all names since 1880.

Talking to Laura Wattenberg:

Wattenberg says the rise and fall of Heather is exemplary of the faddish nature of American names. “When fashion is ready for a name, even a tiny spark can make it take off,” she says. “Heather climbed gradually into popularity through the 1950s and ’60s, then took its biggest leap in 1969, a year that featured a popular Disney TV movie called Guns in the Heather. A whole generation of Heathers followed, at which point Heather became a ‘mom name’ and young parents pulled away.”

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College Librarian, Occidental College

Jobs and Fellowships
POSITION SUMMARY The College Librarian is the chief administrator of the Library and the Center for the Digital Liberal Arts (CDLA), reports directly to the Dean of the College and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and has faculty status (is a voting member of the faculty w/o tenure). The...
Occidental College
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041
United States

Cataloguer and Researcher, Early modern English manuscripts

The British Library is undertaking a new project to digitise many of its most important English manuscripts from the period 1500 to 1650. We are recruiting three Cataloguer/Researchers to work on this project, who will use their specialist knowledge of original sources from this period to research and catalogue the...

Science of Team Science 2019 Conference

September 15 2018 to January 15 2019
Call for Papers
CALL FOR ABSTRACT SUBMISSIONS The SciTS 2019 Program Committee welcomes your abstract submissions for workshops, oral papers, panel presentations, and research posters. Please note the earlier submission deadline! The submission period is from September 15, 2018 to January 15, 2019. All abstract...
United States