It’s been a minute–or, more accurately, more like two years. But in any event, here are links to some exciting new publications:
An Archive of Taste: Race and Eating in the Early United States, is now available in print and in an online open-access edition via the University of Minnesota Press’s Manifold publishing platform.
Data Feminism is also now available in print, with the OA edition coming soon. More information about both is available on the Data Feminism website.
And finally, a new essay of mine, “Dimensions of Scale: Invisible Labor, Editorial Work, and Quantitative Literary Studies,” has been published in PMLA. If you’d like me to email you a copy, please just get in touch.
Last spring, I spent a month in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library, conducting research for my food book. I recently wrote a blog post about that experience– and the experience, more generally, of conducing archival research. It’s now been posted on the NYPL blog, and you can read it here.
Image at left: Lydia Maria Child, Letter to Ellis Loring, March 9th, 1842. Source: NYPL MssCol 532.
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 AfricanAmerican voices from before emancipation—not just in the archival record, but the voices themselves, are silent, and irretrievably lost?