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Digital, Textual, and Cultural Histories

September 29, 2012
1:30-3:00 PM, WCC 138

Teaching Early Modern Visual Culture in the Liberal Arts Context
Mirzam C. Pérez, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Grinnell College

Teaching Early Modern Visual Culture PowerPoint

In this panel I discussed strategies, resources, and experiences from a newly designed Spanish upper-level course in visual culture that responded to student requests for program diversification and my own interest in training majors in image and art analysis. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the vast production of visual images in sixteenth and seventeenth century Spain and its colonies. I established transatlantic connections between art and images produced in the Iberian peninsula and those produced in the colonies by addressing topics such as: the role of portraiture in the construction and reproduction of the Spanish Habsburg monarchy, the nature and uses of religious imagery, the image as text in pre-colonial and colonial Meso-American codices, and the relationships of gender implicated in visual practice. I explained how the course builds students’ written and language proficiency, improves analytical and research skills, and introduces notions of visual literacy. I also discussed the challenges and limitations I faced when attempting to locate original and/or texts and images and share available resources such as websites, films, online galleries and archives that enable student access and study of rare texts and images.

Mirzam C. Pérez is Assistant Professor of Early Modern Spanish Literature at Grinnell College, where her research interests include Spanish drama, visual culture, transatlantic studies, and art. She lives in Grinnell, Iowa.

Visualizing Historic Fort Snelling
Jim Ockuly
, Web Project Manager, Minnesota Historical Society

Visualizing Fort Snelling PowerPoint

Fort Snelling

Museums have a duty to connect the public with the original resources they preserve. Digitizing these resources and delivering them to searchable catalogs is only the first step on the path toward upholding that duty.  With this in mind, the Minnesota Historical Society has committed itself to exploring the power and the process of visualizing historic primary sources. I explored the conceptual and technical processes of a visualization project related to Fort Snelling that harness the power of data visualization to move beyond the static presentation of digital documents, and to transform the raw material of primary sources into meaningful, memorable encounters with history.

Jim Ockuly (pronounced OAK-lee) is a Web Project Manager for the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) and works primarily on projects funded by the Legacy Amendment. Among them, he co-leads the production of MNopedia and is involved with History in Our Hands, a mobile, place-based learning activity for grade-school students. Before joining MHS, Jim was Director of Interactive Media at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. He also taught a Digital Art course at Carleton College around the turn of the century (1999-2001), and has a background as a visual artist.

Alice’s Adventures After Wonderland: Visualizing Alice in the Digital Era
Lingerr Senghor '11
, University of Virginia

Alice's Adventures After Wonderland PowerPoint

Alice's Adventures

This paper is the combination of several experiments and explorations, all performed with one question; how has the era of digitally representing texts treated two of Carroll’s most famous narratives, Alice’s Adventures under Ground and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? The paper is divided into three main sections, each with specific themes and concerns, but all seeking to answer the original question. How the Alice’s Adventures under Ground manuscript and facsimile have been treated online was analyzed in the first section; viewing the treatment of a physical text is a handy background before looking at how the text’s content can be digitally manipulated. The second section acted as a more traditional academic reading of some of the features of both Alice texts, however the readings will stem from what has been gleaned using the digital visualization tools Juxta, Voyant, and Text Arc. The third section introduced my own research into ways to visualize Alice, specifically in terms of graphing Alice’s changes in size.

Very little is needed to introduce Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Whether one was raised with the Disney version, loved the Tim Burton version, is a fan of Jefferson Airplane, or is simply someone who has lived in the West in the last hundred years, Alice and her adventures will be familiar to you. In reviewing the text's digital afterlife I explored what is at stake in digitizing texts like Alice, and how the different versions of Carroll's work highlight both the benefits and costs of digital adaptation. This presentation also served as a useful overview of several digital tools and how they can be used to help answer questions about Alice’s various adventures. 

Lingerr Senghor was born in California, but has lived in The Gambia (West Africa), and Hertfordshire (England). She majored in English at Carleton College, focusing specifically on any course taught by Jessica Leiman or Susan Jaret McKinstry (18th and 19th century novels), while obtaining an unofficial concentration in CAMS. At Carleton, she participated in Ebony II, and was an RA, the President of the Class of 2011, and an English SDA among other things (though one of her proudest achievements is captaining a championship winning IM Quidditch Team). She is currently an MA student at the University of Virginia, focusing on the Victorian Novel and Adaptation Studies. She is working on her thesis, "Adapting Wuthering Heights", and has recently been awarded a Rare Book School Fellowship to study reception history of Emily Bronte's novel.


William North
Associate Professor of History; Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Carleton College