CFP: The History and Future of Data Visualization (ASECS 2013)

I’m chairing a panel at the 2013 American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies conference. The official call is posted below. Please contact me if you have any questions, or to submit a proposal.

American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS)
April 4-7, 2013
Cleveland, OH

CFP: “The History and Future of Data Visualization” (Digital Humanities Caucus)

Panel Organizer: Lauren Klein, Georgia Tech

According to the New York Times, the “next big thing” for the humanities is data. But scholars of the eighteenth century have long recognized that era as the one in which taxonomical representation of data, and related forms of visual display, rose to the fore. This panel seeks papers that address the history and future of data visualization, broadly conceived. Topics may include: data-mining and visualization techniques applied to eighteenth-century texts; eighteenth-century ideas about and approaches to data, and related forms of display; creative uses and/or theorizations of digital tools for teaching and research.

Please send 250 word abstract and 1-page CV to Lauren Klein, before Saturday, September 15th, 2012.

Two Recent Talks

I gave two talks in April, both of which have now been archived online. Click here to watch the video of my talk at Georgia Tech’s GVU Center, “Digital Humanities, Data Visualization, and James Hemings.”

I gave a related (but distinct) talk at Emory’s Digital Scholarship Commons, “Archival Silence, Digital Humanities, and James Hemings.” You can see an archive of the Tweets here, and a video of the talk here.

“A Report Has Come Here”

What follows is the full text of the paper that I presented at the 2012 MLA, “‘A Report Has Come Here’: Social Network Analysis in the Papers of Thomas Jefferson,” slightly reformatted for the web. The panel, “Networks, Maps, and Words: Digital-Humanities Approaches to the Archive of American Slavery,” also featured talks by Cameron Blevins, of Stanford University, and Aditi Muralidharan, of the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a response from Amy Earhart, of Texas A&M.

I convened this panel out of a desire to address the unique set of challenges posed to the literary scholar by the archive of American slavery—for instance, how does one account for absences in the archival record, both those inscribed in the archive’s contents, and those introduced at the time of the archive’s construction? How does one account for the power relations at work in the relationships between the enslaved men and women who committed their narratives to paper, and the group of (mostly white) reformers who edited and published their works? How does one identify and extract meaning from the unique set of documents that do remain—letters, inventories, ledger books, and personal narratives—documents that, in the words of Susan Scott Parrish, we must struggle to make “mean something more?” And how does one do so without reinforcing the damaging notion that African American voices from before emancipation—not just in the archival record, but the voices themselves, are silent, and irretrievably lost?

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