Identity

We live in a world awash in identities and identity politics.  It is hardly surprising that we think art can enact, create, and modify individual and collective identities.  In this constellation we subject this idea to historical scrutiny and theoretical analysis.  We investigate the role of art in the formation and imagination of polities and communities, and how these cross-cut with notions of race, class, gender, religion, nationality, and ethnicity.

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Identity

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    Teaching and Time Management in 2020

    Author: Andrea K. Maxwell

    In the History of Art and Architecture Department (HAA) we benefit from our constellations, researching and learning along meaningful themes of inquiry that unite heterogenous areas of focus.  In a pandemic-stricken society fighting for social and political revolution, these constellation themes suddenly become deeply personal, affecting our ability to work, learn, and live.  Our mobility was frozen, exchange restricted to virtual encounters, personal and institutional agency stunted, identities challenged, persecuted, and strengthened, and our environments on lockdown.  Every routine and hack we had for chugging through regular life was disabled and our pedagogical practices were uprooted.  For graduate students with teaching and research appointments, our usual means of functioning were obsolete.

    Undoubtedly, life in 2020 has emphasized the need for patience, self-care, and understanding, but as working graduate students, we often forget those virtues apply to us and not just our students.  While social media will gladly tell us how to care for ourselves through consumerism, making adjustments to work more efficiently also does wonders for mental well-being.  Having our familiar support systems muted by the pandemic, a return to the basics of time management seemed to be in order.

    As TA Mentor for AY20-21, I led a virtual colloquium in HAA to workshop time management skills with faculty and grads.  As many of us in the department have reiterated, now is not the time to strive for our best work ever, nor should we expect of ourselves the same rigor and productivity as we did in the before-times.  Instead, we must rely on prioritizing what we can and delegating (and deleting) tasks accordingly.  In my initial presentation, I encouraged participants to also consider what level of cognitive demand their high to low priority items required of them.  When developing strategies for time management, when we choose to work on a task is as important as which task we choose.  Personally, I require sunlight and minimal distractions to get difficult tasks completed, so this typically means working in the mornings, after my husband has “gone” to work at his desk and my cats have fallen into their post-breakfast naps.  Non-morning people, however, are making their work harder if they try to start demanding tasks first thing in the day.

    The workshop continued with faculty tips for time management related to teaching and work/life balance.  Beyond these practical suggestions, we also focused on the importance of scheduling self-care and time off from work-related tasks.  In the subsequent discussion, students raised important questions related to the expectations placed on our time, noting that the current system and division of hours for a student with a full-time appointment and coursework requires working over 40 hours a week making days off feel impossible.  We also emphasized that gender discrepancies contribute to these issues of work/life balance and the ability to say no, and women in the university are often burdened with all the emotional labor in their department. While the conversation made it clear there is no easy answer, the faculty that participated were sensitive and responsive to the concerns raised.  We were encouraged to practice making choices that benefit us and our goals, though the issue remains that freedom in making choices is a privilege to which we do not all have equal access.

    Perhaps the most important takeaway is that no individual plan will work for everyone, and what worked for one person in the past may not work now.  The system in which we perform as students, teachers, and employees needs repair, but maybe through the upheaval of 2020 we can start to make those changes and take care of ourselves and each other.  To get there, we need open and honest communication, with each other and with ourselves, and it takes all parties involved to cultivate an environment where change can occur.

    Categories: 
    • Agency
    • Environment
    • Identity
    • Mobility/Exchange

    Frontpage of “India in America”: East Indian Furnishings between Ahmedabad and Bryn Mawr by Katie Loney

     

    Digital Exhibition Maps Agency and Identity through Furnishings

    Author: Katie Loney

    PhD Student in History of Art and Architecture and Graduate Student Assistant in Public History

    How can furniture help us understand the world and its connections? As the Graduate Student Assistant in Public History at Pitt’s World History Center, I have developed a digital exhibition that shares the 19th century furniture from India which I study as an art historian beyond my discipline. “India in America”: East Indian Furnishings between Ahmedabad and Bryn Mawr traces the movements of a set of artistic furnishings produced by the Ahmedabad Wood Carving Company in Ahmedabad, India to explore important questions about agency and identity. In the late nineteenth century, the American heiress, philanthropist, and suffragette Mary Garrett purchased this set for her Baltimore estate, later moving it to Bryn Mawr College’s Deanery with the help of the American designer Lockwood de Forest—one of the Ahmedabad Wood Carving Company’s founders.

    Through virtual “galleries,” visitors are able to explore the transnational histories of these Indian furnishings, tracking their movements from Ahmedabad to de Forest’s New York showrooms, Garrett’s Baltimore mansion, and the Deanery, where Garrett lived with her partner, M. Carey Thomas, the then-president of Bryn Mawr College. Looking to period photographs, correspondence, inventory reports, and other archival materials, the digital exhibition reexamines the company’s artistic furnishings and their position within Orientalist interiors, which evoked an imaginary “East” for Western consumption. At each stage, issues of agency and exchange come to the fore by registering the company’s furnishings as objects of skilled craftsmanship, commodities, and exotic luxury furnishings. Taken together, these galleries illuminate the ways nineteenth-century Americans and Indians used luxury goods to navigate their identities and social relationships in an increasingly interconnected world characterized by colonialism and imperialism.

    Almost serendipitously, my project coincides with a new exhibition of de Forest’s work at Bryn Mawr College, “All-over Design:” Lockwood de Forest between Ahmedabad and Bryn Mawr, curated by Nina Blomfield (Ph.D. candidate at Bryn Mawr College). This led to a series of collaborative events at Pitt and Bryn Mawr college where we were able to discuss both our exhibitions with the public. At Pitt, we hosted a curatorial conversation in the India Nationality Room. We not only discussed our approaches to work of de Forest and the Ahmedabad Wood Carving Company but were able to compare this de Forest’s design as a turn-of-the-century venture with the twenty-first century Indian Nationality Room modeled after the Buddhist Monastic University, Nalanda (active from ca. 500-1200 CE). This comparison raised questions about the global circulation of materials, goods, and aesthetics and how they are used in places deemed new and foreign. Comparing de Forest and the Indian Nationality Room also highlighted the processes of appropriation and inequity on which nineteenth-century Orientalist interiors relied and perpetuated, while illuminating the ways in which the Indian Nationality Room negotiates issues of identity formation for Indian communities in Pittsburgh.

    This event was followed by an object study session at Bryn Mawr College, where Nina and I led an interactive tour of her physical exhibition. Bryn Mawr Special collections provided us with hand lights and gloves to share with attendees, so everyone had the opportunity to engage with the objects visually and tactically. 

    Categories: 
    • Agency
    • Identity
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Graduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh

    José Díaz talking about the jar series Faghat Eshgh-Only Love, 2007

     

    On Farhad Moshiri’s Solo Exhibition at The Andy Warhol Museum

    Author: Golnar Touski

    Graduate student. History of Art and Architecture

    Farhad Moshiri: Go West, an exhibition curated by Jose Carlos Diaz, The Andy Warhol Museum’s chief curator, is currently on view at The Andy Warhol Museum. This is the Iranian artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States, surveying two decades of Moshiri’s career.

    Moshiri rose to fame with his embellished, jeweled paintings adorned with calligraphic inscriptions of Iranian pop poetry. Over two decades, his works referenced the Iranian pop culture, calligraphy and decorative arts in dialogue with the prevalent American culture of entertainment and consumerism, ubiquitous in Iran of 1980s and 1990s. Often profiled as a Pop artist, his art defies categories of art commonly associated with the Middle East. He uses icons of the Iranian and ancient Persian art, but unlike his Iranian modern predecessors of the 1960 and 70s, he is not much interested in abstraction. Rather he employs visual markers of Middle Eastern art to comment on consuming an imagined Persia.

    In the context of The Andy Warhol Museum, Farhad Moshiri’s works find a situated-ness that otherwise would not be as visible to the Iranian and non-Iranian audiences alike. Seen in this context Moshiri initiates a dialogue with the Western imported pop culture, Western movies, Disney cartoons and French postcards on the one hand; and iterations of the Iranian consumerism on the other. Seen next to Warhol’s interest in and referencing of the American pop culture, Moshiri’s labor-intensive, elaborate remaking of popular everyday objects juxtapose infinite reproducibility with an obsessive hand-making of images; a way of making reproducible objects of one’s own by dense, rich textural adornment and adoration.  

    Moshiri’s art could be thought of as a playful manipulation of mechanisms of desire, labor and language. By flattening ancient objects in his famous jar series (Faghat Eshgh-Only Love, 2007) he generates a metonymy of the Ancient Persia, an imagined identity referring to everyday lives of Iranians who were exposed to the globalized capitalism especially during the years after the 1979 revolution and who found it necessary to define Iranian-ness in the face of an increasing political isolation of the country.

    Such artistic strategy also redefines objects linguistically, linking the Persian calligraphy, a form of “sublime” artistic production to consumerism. Moshiri notices how calligraphy, an art of Persian royal courts and a revered form of art practice became a commodity of the world of art and a marker of identity.

    But perhaps the most striking about his recent works, such as the Frosting Stories series, is their uniquely sensory quality. Viewing Moshiri’s art closely is a completely different experience. The glittery, ornate details strike a chord with the viewer's sense of nostalgia and desire; and it would be fair to say that the Iranian and American audiences both experience such an affective, visceral response. The rich textures and subtle details recreate the Persian 17th century architectural elements, Persian manuscript illumination and calligraphy, but in the shape of cake frosting and cheap jewelry; something thet one wants to touch, and taste. Something that is commodifiable Yet the commodities Moshiri offers us always entail an uncomfortable encounter that is either sexually charged or implicitly violent.

    Moshiri’s use of domestic labor is also worth noting. He employs local craftswomen whose specialty is making wedding dresses to create garish, glittery beaded surfaces and embroidered paintings; a form of low-brow, domestic art which was never taken seriously vis-à-vis sublimity of the Iranian Modern art movement of mid-1960s and 1970s. While the imagery is playful and cartoonish, the rich texture is indicative of hours and hours of labor, hence implying a subtle sense of discomfort in the contradictory co-existence of labor and consumerism.

    Moshiri was born in 1963 in the early years of the Iranian modern art movement; he is well aware of the legacy of the Iranian modern art as a form of 'committed art' which at the same time drew heavily on the EuroAmerican tradition of modernism. It so seems that Moshiri’s glittery, elaborate surfaces respond to a culmination of events before and after the Iranian revolution of 1979, when revolutionary aspirations of the modern art were replaced by a fervor to accumulate objects and consumption of identity.

    ___

    Golnar Yarmohammad Touski presented her response to a tour of the Fahrad Moshiri: Go West exhibition by Jose Carlos Diaz on October 20 at The Andy Warhol Museum. The above blog post records her comments and reflections on this occasion.

    Learn more about the Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh initiative here

    Categories: 
    • Identity
    • Graduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh
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    Sit Still: photography, portraits, and doubling

    The website is finally here!

    sitstillexhibition.squarespace.com

    Categories: 
    • Identity
    • Current Projects
    • Past Projects
    • Graduate Work
  • Race-ing the Museum participants, May 13, 2016, in Braddock PA (minus Marina who had to leave to catch a plane)

     

    Race-ing the Museum: Some Afterthoughts

    Our workshop ended on Friday the 13th with a beautiful day at the Carnegie Library of Braddock with the artist collective Transformazium, after a packed week of field work and intense conversation with an amazing group of graduate students and faculty from across Pitt's campus.

    Over the course of the week we met and talked with various curators, educators, and archivists at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Teenie Harris Archive, the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, the Heinz History Center, the Allegheny City Gallery on the Northside, Pitt’s special collections and multiple archives, and the Art Lending Library in Braddock.  We interacted in various ways with objects on display and brought from storage, as well as curated selections of mixed materials from larger collections, and on the last day had a chance to do some speed-curating of our own in the art lending space at the Braddock Library.  In between, we talked a lot about what we had seen and heard and about what we should do to put ideas in practice and push the conversation forward in public.

    For me personally it was a revelation to move from one radically different collection to another and to ponder the structural differences that help determine their narratives, audiences, and engagements.  Each institution has its own criteria of quality and value.  These value systems in turn create communities around them.  Some systems are inherently more exclusive than others and therefore present particular challenges for an ethic of inclusion.

    At the Hunt Institute, for example, with the help of their generous staff we spent a couple of hours examining prints and books mostly against the grain: we looked through botany books and various records of collecting expeditions by European and Anglo colonizers to see how they represented the indigenous and enslaved peoples who actually supplied much of the knowledge.  Against the hierarchy of power and knowledge communicated by the materials themselves, we worked to recover the devalued voice and expertise of the peoples at the bottom of the hierarchy. At the Teenie Harris Archive, in the Carnegie Museum of Art, with the help of their equally generous curators, we had the privilege of entering a lost world – the largely African American Hill district before the destruction wrought by urban renewal – through the eye and lens of the maker himself, a man who did not self-identify as an artist and who rarely entered the art museum where his huge collection eventually found a home.  Here the institution has the good fortune to mine the knowledge of the community, because many of them from those days are still alive and come in to talk about their pictures and their world.  And so an archive of images has also become an archive of oral memory and of written history, all deeply interwoven into a still living community fabric.  A quote my co-facilitator Shirin read to us two days later keeps returning to my mind: If one no longer has land, but has memory of land, then one can make a map.

    And in Braddock, where Shirin read that passage – one of the poorest municipalities in our region – we thought about the value system of an art lending library in the context of a community whose resources, knowledge, and creativity tend to be ignored in a racialized master narrative of blight and distress.  Here is a public library that lends original art for three weeks to anyone with a county library card – art that includes work donated by every artist represented in the 2013 Carnegie International, black arts printmakers, emerging artists, and paintings by incarcerated men in a prison art program.  All of it surrounded by books on art and society in a light-filled room with salaried art and culture facilitators from the nearby community to discuss the art and its makers and stories.  From these artworks and books we curated our own multi-media displays on various themes which had emerged here and there in our week-long conversation.

    That conversation was simultaneously challenging, contentious, draining, and energizing.  But the big question we returned to all week was what can we do?  Many interesting ideas for real projects came out over the course of the week, and some initiatives have gotten started.  We are talking about exhibitions and websites and courses and new partnerships and pedagogical initiatives.  I’m sorry I won’t get too specific at the moment, because we are in the early stages and some ideas may blossom and others may not.  But, with a little patience and some more work, we’ll start to roll out ideas and proposals and solicit advice and feedback.  We promise to keep you posted.

    Categories: 
    • Research Groups
    • Agency
    • Temporalities
    • Environment
    • Identity
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Graduate Work
    • Faculty Work
  • Carnegie Museum Gallery of Ethnology 1908

     

    Race and the Museum: A Pittsburgh Workshop

    In our far from post-racial world, museums are increasingly feeling the pressures of demographic change and urgent new campaigns for racial justice.  Famous European museums are altering the titles of art works to eliminate demeaning terms; Confederate monuments are being dismantled in public space and sent to history museums for storage; museums across the U.S. are scrambling to shed their image as bastions of privilege and to diversify their audiences and supporters. 

    How have museums, as collections and as institutions, created, supported, or challenged constructions of race and racial identity?  How are museums and their objects implicated in the history of slavery, indigenous peoples, and race relations?  How have museums represented and interpreted these issues?  How can and should their collections tell different stories?  What can museums do to combat white privilege, and become more inclusive in their institutional structures and in their audiences?

    For one week in May, a group of twelve faculty and graduate students representing nine different departments here at Pitt will tackle these questions in a new workshop funded by the A.W. Mellon Foundation.  Drawn from a wide array of fields from anthropology and history of science to English and art, the participants will go behind the scenes in local museums, dig into collections, and talk with curators and museum educators to see how they deal with these issues in their institutions and careers.             

    But we also plan to do more than just talk, as important as that is.  Every participant in the workshop will develop an individual or collaborative project to carry the workshop forward, whether it be a revised course for undergraduates, an exhibition, a publication, a community engagement initiative, or even a new partnership with a local institution.  We hope these projects will not only be transformative for the participants themselves but have ripple effects within the university and museum communities and ultimately out in the city and region as well.  Please check back in later and we will point you to a new website documenting their work and its impact.

     

    Categories: 
    • Research Groups
    • Agency
    • Identity
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Current Projects
  • Maxo Vanka Murals, Millvale

    Image from www.vankamurals.org

     

    Identity Affinity Group goes to SECAC

    On October 24-26, 2015, we had the pleasure to participate as presenters, panel chairs and attendees in the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) annual conference, held in Pittsburgh this year. Among numerous interesting presentations, the following in particular caught our attention due to their detailed references to the topic of identity, which is the common ground of our affinity group for the class Methods of the History of Art and Architecture: “Transplanted Croatian Works in Maksimilijan Vanka’s Millvale Murals” by Heidi Cook, “The Confluence of Art and Identity” chaired by Scott Sherer, “Art-Making as Cultural Translation” chaired by Sasha Crasnow and Elizabeth Rauh, and “Manuscript Studies” chaired by Robert Tallaksen. In addition to the relevance of some of these interventions for our independent projects, they help us to refine our understanding of ‘identity’ as a lens through which we analyze a work of art.

    Given the resurgence of nationalist and ethnic violence in the 1990s and the more recent increasing popularity of nationalist parties in Europe in the light of the mass migration of peoples from the zones of conflict to the European Union, Heidi Cook’s paper on “Transplanted Croatian Works in Maksimilijan Vanka’s Millvale Murals” was particularly interesting. Cook’s research reveals that today's interpretation of the Vanka's murals focuses primarily on the works’ social justice and antiwar messages, in effect discouraging visitors thinking about nationalism in a positive and constructive way. In fact, Ms. Cook argues that while works like the Vanka's murals can be misinterpreted and misappropriated for support of reactionary nationalism, Vanka’s murals are actually about the modern art and culture of Central European and Croatian American immigrants, and the relationship of local imagery to a whole spectrum of local identities.

    From the panel “The Confluence of Art and Identity” chaired by Scott Sherer, the papers on artists J. Yoo Hyun Lee, by Nogin Chung and on Eleanor Antin, by Jennifer Kruglinski were of particular relevance for our interests. According to Chung, J. Yoo Hyun Lee challenged the spectacle and tourism of traditional South Korean art that makes locals feel like “the other” in their own communities. To accomplish this, J. Yoo Hyun Lee created a communal experience that was wholly driven by the town members with no political agenda, reference to nationality or race, or intended audience other than the community itself. From a different angle, Kruglinski presented the work of Eleanor Antin as a visual and individual challenge to imposed identity categories, such as gender and the behaviors usually associated with it. Through iconography, Kruglinski analyzed identity as a major topic in the work of Antin, understanding it as a subject of permanent reflection and questioning. While Chung considered the work of Yoo Hyun Lee for its long-lasting impacts and its temporal existence as a work of art in relation to the identity of the community where it took place, Kruglinski offered an encompassing analysis of Antin’s work emphasizing on the mutable representation of the self as presented in her artworks.

    In the panel “The Medium is the Message: Art-Making as Cultural Translation”, Elizabeth Miller’s paper, “Muhammad Nagi: The Promotion of the ‘Dictator-Aesthete’ through Pen and Paintbrush” discussed how the art of Muhammad Nagi both corresponded and rejected the shifting ideas of national identity in Egyptian modern art in the early 20th century. She argues that although Nagi’s work has often been considered part of a nationalist art movement that aimed at portraying a unified Egyptian nation, in his art and writing his vision for the nation was not unified with others in the movement. He rejected the populist direction that the School of Fine Arts in Cairo encouraged, and through an analysis of his writing and art she argues that he wanted his work to help develop an elite-controlled “Dictator-Aesthete” which would serve as a proper cultural base for the art of the new Egyptian nation. Miller pointed out that this individual articulation of nationalism changes the meaning of Nagi’s work, from something that stands for the nation to a single part of a spectrum of opinions on the nation and art. Her paper questioned how we characterize artworks that are both statements of collective belonging and the individual creation of a particular artist, and what aspects of the work we choose emphasize in our conclusions. When do we see a work of art more as a statement of collective identity or individual identity, and why?

    In “Manuscript Studies,” chaired by Robert Tallaksen, the panel chair presented a paper at the end that had a surprising relationship to our affinity group. Through analysis of written documents, Tallaksen discovered that in the middle of his career, Michelangelo Buonarroti made a deliberate change in his handwriting script. Instead of an evolution or progressive alteration in style, Michelangelo abruptly shifted from one form of script to another. Tallaksen then explored how this change could be seen as a way of intentionally affiliating himself with others who wrote in this new way – namely humanists and those deeply involved in the philosophies of Neo-Platonism. This paper revealed a unique consideration on how one formulates his public identity.

    ‘Identity’ was a well-represented and widely discussed subject at SECAC, and the conference transposed many different methods with one another, revealing interesting and essential differences in their approaches. An undercurrent in all the talks attended was the negotiation between context and biography as the locus for identity. Some speakers focused on art as something that defines identity beyond that of its original creator (Cook, Chung), while others focused specifically on the artist and his biography as the center of identity (Tallaksen, Miller), or on the possibilities of a changing, individual identity as expressed through a created object (Kruglinski, Tallaksen).  In other talks not expounded upon here, presenters focused on identity entirely defined by the environment by looking at portraits in relation to other nearby works of art (Winter, Morse in “Cross Canvas Conversations”), and on innovative readings of an artist’s personal identity as the result of a detailed visual analysis of a particular work of art (Adler, Mazzola in “Currents of Transformation: Geography, Identity, and Ideology in U.S. Art”).  Together, the juxtaposition of these varied and impressive approaches to defining identity will undoubtedly influence our group’s scholarship as we seek to understand identity in our chosen objects of research.

    Paulina Pardo, Lindsey Woolcock, Aleksandra Carapella, and Andrea Maxwell

    Categories: 
    • Identity
    • Graduate Work
    Tags: 
  • VMW in Summer 2015

    The Visual Media Workshop in Summer 2015...waiting for Fall Term to begin!

     

    To My (Once and Future) Undergraduate Research Assistants

    Please read this article, "An Undergraduate's Love Letter to Digital Humanities Research," by Tiffany Chan...and let me know your feedback (either below in the comments if you have worked here before...or to adl40@pitt.edu for everyone). For those interested in working and learning here in the Visual Media Workshop (VMW) in the future, this essay, written by an undergradate about her experiences in the digital humanities, provides a taste of the potential opportunities in the field. We strive here in the VMW to create a community where all ideas are heard, and where we sincerely want each other to succeed.

    Categories: 
    • Agency
    • Identity
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
  • New York Public Library, Billy Rose Theatre Collection photograph file / Productions / Don Quijote (cinema 1915)

    New York Public Library, Billy Rose Theatre Collection photograph file / Productions / Don Quijote (cinema 1915), http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?TH-09130

     

    Brief Introduction(s) to the Digital Humanities

    A number of the members of the DH community at Pitt have put together the following list of texts that do a good job of introducing the overall state of the Digital Humanities in North America at the current moment. It begins with a section called, "Articles and Shorter Pieces," which has been kept intentionally brief so as to give you a good taste of the field without being overwhelming. Should you end up with a desire to read more, the next section entitled, "Larger Works," should satisfy many a curiosity. Finally, this post ends with a "Projects" section which includes just a few projects, some created here, others elsewhere, that have captured the attention of this community.

    Articles and Shorter Pieces

    David M. Berry, “The Computational Turn: Thinking about the Digital Humanities,” Culture Machine 12, 1-22. http://culturemachine.net/index.php/cm/article/view/440/470

    • Berry is a theorist and a maker, but his texts often take the long view, which makes him an apt choice here.

    Anne Burdick, et al, “A Short Guide to the Digital_Humanities,” in Digital_Humanities, 121-135. Entire book can be found here: https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/9780262018470_Open_Access_Edition.pdf

    • Provocative and useful overview of DH from creation to assessment.

    Matt Kirschenbaum, "What is Digital Humanities and What's it Doing in English Departments?" https://mkirschenbaum.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/kirschenbaum_ade150.pdf

    • A history about the formation of DH as a "proper" field than it is about English, and it covers how DH became a thing of note at the MLA conference.

    Tara McPherson, "Introduction: Media Studies and the Digital Humanities,” Cinema Journal 48, 119–23. JStor link: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20484452

    • Another fine introduction from a slightly different point-of-view.

    Christof Schöch, “Big? Smart? Clean? Messy? Data in the Humanities,” Journal of Digital Humanitieshttp://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/2-3/big-smart-clean-messy-data-in-the-humanities/

    • Those wanting to know something about "data" in the humanities can start here. Others may have a more provocative approach, but this one is pretty even keel.

    Larger Works 

    Anne Burdick, et al, Digital_Humanities, https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/9780262018470_Open_Access_Edition.pdf

    Johanna Drucker, DH101, http://dh101.humanities.ucla.edu/ 

    Matthew Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities, http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/

    Projects

    The Hermeneutics of Shipping Logs
    http://sappingattention.blogspot.com/2012/11/reading-digital-sources-case-study-in.html
    http://sappingattention.blogspot.com/2014/03/shipping-maps-and-how-states-see.html
    Ben Schmidt, Northeastern University, NULab

    Itinera
    https://itinera.pitt.edu/
    Alison Langmead and Drew Armstrong, University of Pittsburgh

    Music21: A Toolkit for Computer-Aided Musicology
    http://web.mit.edu/music21/
    Mark Cuthbert, MIT

    NYPL Building Inspector
    http://buildinginspector.nypl.org/
    NYPL Labs in collaboration with the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division at the NYPL

    Quantifying Kissinger
    http://blog.quantifyingkissinger.com
    Micki Kaufman, CUNY Graduate Center

    Categories: 
    • Identity
    • Faculty Work
    • VMW
  •  

    Lamenting Lord Elgin

    Today is my last day working on the Itinera database until my presentation tomorrow.  While gearing up for the end of the semester, let's take a moment to look back at the unfortunate life of Thomas Bruce.

    Thomas Bruce suffered from asthma throughout his life, so under his doctor's orders, he doused his face with mercury for his frequent lung complaints.  Medical treatment in the 1700s certainly is not what it is today. The mercury caused abrasions on his nose, which prompted doctors to cut off the tip of it, disfiguring Bruce's face.

    In August 1803, Bruce was traveling with his wife, Mary Nisbet, and got detained by the French in Bareges, because he was a British ambassador with a travel schedule that coincided with the Napoleonic Wars.  From there, he was eventually sent to prison at Lourdes.  While he was incarcerated, Nisbet was allowed to leave France, accompanied by a man named Robert Fergusson.  The two were secretly engaged in an affair, and Fergusson would go on trial in May of 1808 for adultry.

    In 1816, facing bankruptcy, Bruce sold his prized marbles to the British Museum.  He said that the marbles were worth about £75,000 (roughly $111,360), but the museum bought them for £35,000 (about $51,950).  Needless to say, he was not happy about the sale.

    Between his cheating wife, partial nose and massive debt, Bruce was not a happy person.  Because he bought the marbles and messed with Greek culture, people still don't like him after his death.  And they certainly don't pity him.  He will always be remembered as the man who brought antique culture to Britian, but at the expense of ancient Greek identity.

     

    The picture, of Thomas Bruce with his full nose, is courtesy of http://www.athensguide.com/elginmarbles/photos/elgin.JPG

    For more information, check out these books:

    Nagel, Susan. Mistress of the Elgin Marbles: A Biography of Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin. New York: William Morrow, 2004. Print.

    Vrettos, Theodore. The Elgin Affair: The Abduction of Antiquity's Greatest Treasures and the Passions It Aroused. New York: Arcade Pub., 1997. Print.

    Categories: 
    • Identity
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Current Projects
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW

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