22 Jun 2010 2:00pm - 4:00pm CRASSH


This is an opportunity to hear four short presentations about new projects in the Digital Humanities at Cambridge. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion after the presentations and we hope this will be a useful, relatively informal opportunity for those with interests in all forms of digital research to hear about some of the projects which are still at an early stage.

All welcome. For more information please contact Anne Alexander.



Mark Turin
World Oral Literature Project

The World Oral Literature Project is a new initiative to document and make accessible endangered oral literatures before they disappear without record. The project was established to support local communities and fieldworkers engaged in the collection and preservation of all forms of oral literature by funding original research, and providing training in fieldwork and digital archiving methods. In today's brief presentation, I outline the project's three goals – 'collect, protect, connect' – and reflect on how these relate to other digital humanities research projects.

Carol Hogsden
Artefacts of Encounter

The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology have just started a three-year museum/community collaboration project centred on early European voyages to Polynesia in an effort to tease out a greater understanding of the nature of the voyager/community encounter through the exchange of artefacts. To this end, and building upon the digital output of two previous projects, we are developing a digital research environment that will enrich the information tucked away in various disparate collections management systems of polynesian material bought back on the voyages, with online discussion, contribution, material etc… from Toi Hauiti, a Maori community based in Tolaga Bay, New Zealand. Into this online pot will also go journal, map, biographical and place data to form a research analysis resource that will enable users to draw out connections previously unexplored due to the fragmented nature of the source material and the online inability of communities to be able to deeply engage at a local level with such collections.

Alison Sinclair
Wrongdoing in Spain 1800-1936: Realities, representations, reactions.

My digitization project sits within a much larger project, summarized below.

The main project proposes a critical examination of concepts of wrongdoing in Spain from the start of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Taking a broad chronological sweep across a geographically and culturally contained area this project allows for concentration on specific areas of conceptualization. Within those confines, however, the project will take a broad, even a catholic, approach to wrongdoing. Thus it will encompass on the one hand a formal spectrum ranging from acts forbidden by the law (whether national or local), through acts forbidden by the Church (and conveyed through encyclicals, catechisms and sermons), to more philosophical questions of responsibility and agency, and on the other more popular attitudes to wrongdoing (conveyed characteristically through ephemeral publications).

A key part of the project, related to its emphasis on popular material, is the cataloguing and digitization of a significant body of popular material held at the University Library, Cambridge, and the British Library. This material is of 'pliegos sueltos' (chapbooks) and is an ephemeral genre, frequently sensationalist, and habitually sold in the street. It includes ballads and prose writings on wrongdoing, some of them relating to real acts of crime or moral infraction, others being fictional in nature. This body of material offers a rich source of investigation for the project, and will be read in conjunction with other material (newspaper accounts of crime, judicial proceedings on the one hand, and fictional works on wrongdoing to be found in both popular culture and elite culture). The digitization of the 'pliegos sueltos' will be a significant contribution to the stewardship, conservation and enhanced accessibility of a body of cultural material which has its counterparts in English, and which allow the research to take place in a broader academic and cultural context.

Anne Alexander
Communicating dissent: 'New media' and mobilisation for political change in the modern Middle East

This presentation will focus on the analysis of digital activism in contemporary Egypt, which forms a strand of a larger project I am currently developing. The wider project will investigate the relationship between the dissemination of new media technologies and mobilisation for political change in the Middle East by exploring how three distinct generations of political activists have used ICTs to build networks, create 'spheres of dissidence' and generate new activist cultures. It will focus on the technological 'toolkits' available to the generation of the 1940s (including newspaper printing, mimeographic machines and the telegram), the generation of the 1970s (including home-recordable audio cassettes), and the generation of post-2000, including digital technologies such as laptop computers, mobile phones, access to the internet, text messaging services, digital camera and video technologies), and ask can our understanding of how political activists related to new media technologies in the past inform the analysis of 'new media' and political change in the present? Did the dissemination of new ICTs in the 1940s and 1970s cassettes transform modes of organising or activists' messages? Are there ways in which digital media is qualitatively different to earlier waves of new media in its interactivity, immediacy and connections to global networks?



Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk