I'm glad to be returning as a HASTAC scholar for a second year. I'm looking forward to another great year of great posts and great forum topics. As a way of introduction I thought I would describe what I'm doing this year and what I hope to accomplish as a Scholar for 2012.
In this third year of my doctorate program I've taken a research assistantship with our new director of the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture (IDHMC), Dr. Laura Mandell. Texas A&M University has dedicated time and infrastructure in their interest in developing a large center for digital humanities research. Part of that development was the hire of Dr. Mandell, who is directing the initiative and the institute that will follow, the hiring of programmers, project managers, providing technical infrastructure , and developing and bringing in collaborative research projects. I'm working with Dr. Mandell, our project manager Mary Farrington, and digital humanists and research partners to create and maintain this infrastructure and to get the center off and running.
HASTAC is an important part in developing relationships beyond the university, so myself, and a new HASTAC scholar Tess Habbestad, will be blogging regularly about projects and opportunities for further involvement.
Though the IDHMC is a big part of my life right now, I'm also happy to be a scholar once again, so i can continue to work with other scholars and mentors regarding my own research projects. In my third year in the English department I'm working on my preliminary examinations (we prepare readings lists and complete a four hour written exam and defend during a two hour oral exam) and writing my dissertation proposal (due at the same time you defend your written exam). I've got a lot on my plate this year, but I love that. My readings lists for the exam and my dissertation proposal are geared at combining digital rhetorical studies with digital literary studies. I'm looking for areas in which the methodologies currently utilized converge regarding how cultural objects are constructed by the research processes within cultural studies. I'm hoping to show that theoretical and practical methodologies within digital literary studies can reshape current practices and methods when rhetorical methodologies are utilized to investigate interpretations made about cultural objects without first investigating how those interpretations are constructed by current practices and tools.
The proposal is in the early stages, but I'm working out some initial kinks. The project is largely theoretical and rhetorical rather than practical (it's not about developing technologies that are rhetorical aware, though that is something I will address in the conclusion), but it's more about investigating current methodologies and analyzing how some practices are establishing ways of producing knowledge about objects, texts, authors, that do not also analyze their cultural status as objects of study. Through digital humanities is my primary area of interest, I also work within the early English Restoration period; I'm examining some of these practices as they've been applied to early women writers (most notably Margaret Cavendish and Aphra Behn).
That's my introduction. I look forward to great conversations.