Numer 14 (2/2020)
Digital Humanities in American Studies
Redaktor: Michał Choiński
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Michał Choiński
Opportunities and Challenges of DH in American Studies
143 – 148
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Streszczenie

This special issue of Polish Journal of American Studies follows in the footsteps of recent special issues of American Quarterly (2018) and Amerikastudien (2019), both of which were dedicated exclusively to the exploration of the crossroads between American Studies and Digital Humanities (DH). In particular, the voluminous size of American Quarterly, which includes as many as thirty four articles, testifies to the need to provide publication platforms for essays reporting on various DH projects carried out on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. The decisions of editorial boards to feature collections of essays on American Studies and DH is symbolic of the growing relevance of this area of study. This relevance is likewise reflected in the programs of academic conferences. Multiple computational panels have become the staple of the annual MLA convention since the 1990s, and a steady run of European conferences on American Studies clearly follows this path. The conferences of European Association of American Studies in Belfast (2016) and in London (2018), as well as the conferences of German Association of American Studies in Berlin (2018) and of Polish Association of American Studies in Łódź (2018), all featured DH-oriented panels. The annual Digital Humanities conference organized in 2016 by the Philological Faculty at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków played host to 900 participants, of whom two hundred were from the US. DH has become a permanent, inalienable element of American Studies.


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Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie

Lauren Tilton,
Emeline Alexander,
Luke Malcynsky,
Hanglin Zhou
The Role of Metadata in American Studies
149 – 163
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Słowa kluczowe

digital humanities | data | metadata | method

Streszczenie

This article argues that metadata can animate rather than stall American Studies inquiry. Data about data can enable and expand the kinds of context, evidence, and interdisciplinary methodological approaches that American Studies can engage with while taking back data from the very power structures that the field aims to reveal, critique, and abolish. As a result, metadata can be a site where the field realizes its intellectual and political commitments. The article draws on a range of digital humanities projects, with a focus on projects created by the authors, that demonstrate the possibilities (and challenges) of metadata for American Studies.


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Lauren Tilton
University of Richmond, USA

Emeline Alexander
Library of Virginia, USA

Luke Malcynsky
University of Richmond, USA

Hanglin Zhou
University of Richmond, USA

Colin Wilder,
Sam T. McDorman,
Jun Zhou,
Adam King,
Yuhang Lu,
Karen Y. Smith,
Song Wang,
W. Matthew J. Simmons
Snowvision: The Promise of Algorithmic Methods in Southeastern Archaeological Research
165 – 185
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Słowa kluczowe

Native Americans | Pottery | computer vision | archaeology | Southeastern United States | pattern-matching | algorithmic methods

Streszczenie

This article presents the contexts, methods, contributions, and preliminary findings of Snowvision, a digital archaeology project developed by faculty and students at the University of South Carolina and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Snowvision uses computer vision to reconstruct southeastern Native American paddle designs from the Swift Creek period, ca. 100-850 CE. In this essay, we first present the context of the Swift Creek culture of the southeastern United States, along with broader related issues in prehistoric archaeology. Then, the relevant methods from archaeology and computer vision are introduced and discussed. We also introduce World Engraved, our public-facing digital archive of sherd designs and distributions, and explain its role in our overall project. We then explore, in some level of technical detail, the ways in which our work refines existing pattern-matching algorithms used in the field of computer vision. Finally, we discuss our accomplishments and findings to date and the possibilities for future research that Snowvision provides.


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Colin Wilder
University of South Carolina, USA

Sam T. McDorman
University of South Carolina, USA

Jun Zhou
University of South Carolina, USA

Adam King
University of South Carolina, USA

Yuhang Lu
University of South Carolina, USA

Karen Y. Smith
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Heritage Trust Program, USA

Song Wang
University of South Carolina, USA

W. Matthew J. Simmons
University of South Carolina, USA

Robert L. Boss
Visualizing Jonathan Edwards
187 – 196
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Słowa kluczowe

nature | network analysis | Jonathan Edwards | typology | theology | Processing programming language | Python programming language | digital humanities|
Visual Edwards software | Visual Edwards Library

Streszczenie

This article begins by introducing Jonathan Edwards, the eighteenth century American philosopher theologian from Northampton, Massachusetts. Edwards believed that the world of nature had communicative properties, full of types and symbols, and indeed, was a kind of language of God. This article posits that Edwards’ typological language of nature, encapsulated in his notebook “Images of Divine Things” and throughout his written corpus, can be explored through the lense of Digital Humanities and network analysis using Processing and Python programming languages. Next, the article summarizes recent Edwards-focused DH projects by Kenneth Minkema, Michał Choiński, and Michael Keller. The article then recounts the history and development of the Visual Edwards project and how it expands exploration of the 26 volume Yale letterpress edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards. Features of the Visual Edwards software are introduced briefly, as well as print publications flowing from the project.


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Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, USA

Steffen Wöll
Voyages Through Literary Space: Mapping Globe and Nation in Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast
197 – 209
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Słowa kluczowe

literature | space | digital humanities | visualization | geography | mapping

Streszczenie

In his youth, Richard Henry Dana Jr. rebelled against the conventions of his upper-class New England upbringing when he signed on as a common sailor on a merchant ship bound for Alta California. The notes of his travels describe the strenuous life at sea, a captain’s sadistic streak, a crew’s mutinous tendencies, and California’s multicultural fur trade economy. First published in 1840, Dana’s travelogue Two Years Before the Mast became an unofficial guide for emigrants traversing the largely unmapped far western territories in the wake of the Mexican-American War. Connecting Dana’s widely-read narrative to current developments in the discipline, this article discusses strategies of visualizing literature and includes an exercise in ‘discursively mapping’ actual and imagined spaces and mobilities of the text. Considering strategies and toolsets from the digital humanities as well as theories such as Lefebvre’s concept of representational space, the article reflects on the methodological and practical pitfalls brought about by the visualization of spatial imaginations as part of a more digitally literate and spatially conscious American Studies.


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Universität Leipzig, Niemcy

Dennis Mischke
Cartographic Intertextuality: Reading The Narrative of Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson with Geographic Information Systems
211 – 224
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Słowa kluczowe

intertextuality | digital humanities | digital text analysis | Geographic Information Systems (GIS) | spatial humanities | captivity narratives | knowledge representation | space and text

Streszczenie

The Narrative of Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson from 1682 is not only famous – or infamous – for its brutal descriptions of the armed conflicts of King Philip’s War, it is also a colonial document that contains both religious as well as spatial representations of Native American territories. This article proposes to analyze this entanglement of space and text with a combination of digital text analysis tools and geographic information systems (GIS). Applying the potentials of such technologies and methods to the study of captivity narratives like Mary Rowlandson’s opens up new opportunities to better understand the interaction of writing and space in colonial New England.


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Universität Potsdam, Niemcy

Whit Frazier Peterson
A Magnificent Blond Beast: Exploring the Implications of Harlem Renaissance Writer Wallace Thurman as Ghostwriter of a Forgotten Celebrity Gossip Memoir
225 – 242
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Słowa kluczowe

satire | Wallace Thurman | Harlem Renaissance | Peggy Hopkins Joyce | stylometry | author attribution | Friedrich Nietzsche | Langston Hughes|
Basil Woon | the jazz age

Streszczenie

In an early version of his article “Harlem Literati in the Twenties,” first published in the Saturday Evening Review in 1940, Langston Hughes offers the curious suggestion that Wallace Thurman was the ghostwriter of Men, Marriage and Me (erroneously written as Men, Women and Checks in Hughes’ article), the tell-all memoir ostensibly by the original blonde bombshell Peggy Hopkins Joyce. According to Hopkins’ biographer, however, Basil Woon, an English playwright and gossip columnist was supposed to have been the ghostwriter of this book. My paper will address this discrepancy by focusing on the lack of evidence supporting the Woon theory, and through an analysis using stylometry, close reading and an examination of historical documents, I will argue that Thurman is the more likely candidate as a ghostwriter for Hopkins’ memoirs, just as Hughes suggests. I will be looking specifically at the way the text, which is presented to the reader as a diary written by Hopkins from her early youth to the present day, satirizes the shallowness and excesses of the “roaring twenties.” I will argue that the text is clearly ironic and satirical in style and approach and not only satirizes celebrity, but also a society that unselfconsciously celebrates celebrity, much the way Thurman satirizes the excesses of the Harlem Renaissance in his novel Infants of the Spring. In conclusion, I will show how this book, which has been largely dismissed as celebrity gossip, is transformed into something highly literary by the way Thurman, as ghostwriter and editor, takes Hopkins’ life story and turns it into a satire of the excesses of an era.


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Universität Stuttgart, Niemcy

Anna Bendrat
Transitioning the Edges of Multiple Text Worlds: A Cognitive Processing Path from Textuality to Texture in Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life
243 – 268
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Słowa kluczowe

Affect | cognitive poetics | texture | Current Discourse Space | edgework | multiperspectivity | R environment | text mining|
sentiment analysis

Streszczenie

The paper is located in the field of cognitive poetics and its general aim is to explore cognitive processes underlying the idiosyncrasy of a reader’s narrative engagement on the level of texture. By introducing the notion of texture, Peter Stockwell (2009) added the third level of a reading experience, situated above a text (level 1) and textuality (level 2). While textuality present in text’s stylistic patterns is the “outcome of the workings of shared cognitive mechanics, evident in texts and readings,” texture is defined as the “experienced quality of textuality” (Stockwell, Texture - A Cognitive Aesthetics of Reading 1). In other words, texture must involve a reader’s aesthetic positioning, but it also “requires aesthetics to be socially situated” (Stockwell 191; emphasis added). The paper focuses on Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life (2015) which has been selected due to its added complexity stemming from the fact that the chapters have alternating narrators. In the book a computational analysis is applied to the narratives of the three focalizers to trace and compare the positive and negative emotional valence of the texts with the use of R-environment software. It is argued that where intradiegetic perspectivizing entities (focalizers/narrators) are multiple, indicating and creating a mental representation of the main protagonist involves a particularly complex process. The protagonist’s ontological existence inside the narrative situation blends with the reader’s mental capacity for synthesis along the edges of the multiple narrative perspectivization.


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Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej w Lublinie

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143 – 272
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Polish Association
Institute of English Studies
ISSN 1733-9154
for American Studies
University of Warsaw
e-ISSN 2544-8781