The University of Texas at Austin invites applications for a two-year CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow for Data Curation in Medieval Studies. As one home site for the innovative MAPPAMUNDI project and various projects in the digital humanities, the University of Texas at Austin Department of English, in collaboration with the University of Texas Libraries and the Texas Advanced Computing Center, offers a unique opportunity for the selected fellow to build her skills as a global medievalist, a digital humanist, and a contributor to the building of MAPPAMUNDI. MAPPAMUNDI is the digital entity of the Global Middle Ages Project (G-MAP) founded and codirected by Professor Geraldine Heng at the University of Texas and Professor Susan Noakes of the University of Minnesota. MAPPAMUNDI aims to present the world 500-1500 c.e. to online users, inviting interaction with multimodal data that open windows onto early globalities. MAPPAMUNDI will form a gateway to all the digital resources currently available, planet-wide, on a global Middle Ages, and offer opportunities to tag, aggregate, layer, and analyze data in ways that enable each user to create an individualized and kaleidoscopic understanding of the world in deep time.
MAPPAMUNDI and Texas were described in the AAUP’s Academe as undertaking transformative new work in the Humanities:
Desired Skills & Expertise:
The candidate will hold the doctorate in a relevant field of Medieval Studies and exhibit some familiarity and expertise in digital humanities. Familiarity with multimodal applications, talents in aesthetic design, and experience in digital graphic design are highly desirable skill sets, though not absolutely required.
Roles & Duties:
A significant portion of the fellow’s duties will include becoming familiar with a wide range of interdisciplinary materials on a Global Middle Ages beyond the focus of her own specialization. With the help of Professor Heng and colleagues in Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies, Jewish Studies, Musicology, Art History, Religious Studies, Africana studies, Architecture and the various literature and language departments, the fellow will amass a bibliography of relevant materials with which she will familiarize herself: this will essentially provide her with a condensed, succinct postdoctoral education in the newly emerging multidisciplinary academic field of the Global Middle Ages.
Concurrently, the fellow will assist in building MAPPAMUNDI as a digital entity. She will research the range of open-source and proprietary online resources on a global Middle Ages that MAPPAMUNDI can aggregate, point to, narrate, or deploy in whatever ways are deemed appropriate. The fellow will be instrumental in making decisions on how to present and give access to data on MAPPAMUNDI. She will also contribute to making decisions about what functionalities MAPPAMUNDI should offer and which varieties of user interaction with data should be prioritized. The fellow will also familiarize herself with Bibliopedia (an NEH-funded desktop data-mining research tool currently in the making) and help to assess its usefulness for analyzing data on MAPPAMUNDI.
We thus envisage that the fellow will be fully a part of the MAPPAMUNDI teams, and will participate in decision-making in the collaborative building of MAPPAMUNDI.
Guidance & Professional Development:
The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at our university offers a number of publicly available, free courses that will be useful in extending the skill sets of the fellow. These include courses in data mining and data analysis, visualization, and high performance computing. In addition to development of digital curation in medieval studies, the fellow will collaborate with University of Texas Libraries staff to research and propose the next steps for digital humanities at the UT Libraries. Together with UT Libraries staff, she will serve as a liaison between the Libraries, the English Department, and other University of Texas academic unit partners. The
proposed next steps will build on existing and ongoing work at the UT Libraries related to the Human Rights Documentation Initiative, the UT Digital Repository, and the Digital Preservation Network.
At the University of Texas, the English Department and the School of Information have recently approved a dual degree program for masters-level students interested in combining literature, information science, and digital humanities. This collaborative degree, as well as the focus of several faculty members from English and the School of Information and innovations within the UT Libraries in digital humanities, shows UT Austin is well-poised to participate in field-changing conversations in the digital humanities. This is an ideal location for a CLIR postdoc developing capacity for data curation for Medieval Studies.
Because the Global Middle Ages Project and its consortium, the Scholarly Community for the Globalization of the Middle Ages (SCGMA), are able to draw on many colleagues and resources in many institutions, mentorship and guidance of the fellow need not be confined to the University of Texas campus alone. The fellow will have the added advantage of being able to be mentored remotely and to network globally.
Professional development training and mentorship in digital humanities will thus also take place under Dr. Kevin Franklin, the Executive Director at iCHASS (Illinois Computing in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Science) at the University of Illinois (http://ichass.illinois.edu/Index/Index.html
), and Dr. Alan Craig of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), now the Digital Humanities Specialist at XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Experiment):
The fellow will also be mentored and guided by Dr. Sauman Chu, a specialist in graphic and computer design, and Dr. Maguerite Ragnow, Curator of the Bell Library and a specialist in premodern maps and cartography at the University of Minnesota. She will also work remotely with team leaders of current MAPPAMUNDI projects: the “Discoveries” of the Americas (at Vanderbilt), Istanbul-Constantinople (Edinburgh, Koç), and Africa (Cape Town).
The fellow will additionally be given access to, and opportunities to be mentored by, a variety of academic content specialists who are collaborators in the Global Middle Ages Project, including: East Asianists (Yale, Harvard), Eurasianists (Indiana University, British Library, UK), Indologists (CUNY and institutes in India), Southeast Asianists (University of Michigan, ISEAS, Singapore, the Australian National University), a climatologist (INSTAAR, University of Colorado), Africanists (Field Museum, Chicago, Rice University), Islamicists (University of Southern California, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of Pennsylvania), a Native Americanist (Indiana University), and Mesoamericanists.