Biography, Cultural Studies, Life Writing, Literary Studies

Memory and Commemoration in the Digital Present

30.10.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Memory and Commemoration in the Digital Present

The first ‘Digital Death Day,’ held on 20 May 2010, brought together world experts in the fields of death studies, social networking and data management. Promoting the event, coordinator Jennifer Holmes commented, “The online memorial has already become the new grave” (Andrews 2010). How seriously should we take such a statement? Was this turn of phrase simply intended to indicate the increasing dependence on digital media for performing social rituals? Or has online memorialisation in fact created a new kind of ‘resting place’ for the deceased and if so what is the nature of that place and how do the living relate to it? Whether through intentional online memorialisation or through the unplanned bestowing of an afterlife on anyone who has had an active online presence in life, it is now indisputable that the digital world is being populated, at an exponentially growing rate, by the stories, images, traces and voices of the dead – so much so that this digital afterlife can be seen as a new kind of immortality.

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Biography, Cultural Studies, Life Writing

Framing Lives

05.10.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Framing Lives

Never before in the history of representation have there been so many available ways for art to represent and to “frame” lives. At the same time, the explosion of biographical information that social media have enabled has demonstrated dramatically the illusionist basis of the enterprise of biographical containment. The very idea of “auto/biography” has in recent years broken out of its own conventional frames to enlist genres and modes of representation that have more commonly operated in other arenas or have played supporting roles, rather than taking center stage themselves, as they do in many of the biographical works considered in this collection of essays. Whether their focus is on cartoons, photographs, installations, graphic memoirs, films, games, or narrative texts, these essays rigorously explore and unravel the notion of “framing” as it applies to presenting and displaying lives.

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Digital Scholarship, e-Research, Humanities

Digital Humanities Around the World in 80 Days

28.09.14 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Around DH in 80 Days is a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary Digital Humanities collaboration that seeks to introduce new and veteran audiences to the global field of DH scholarly practice by bringing together current DH projects from around the world. Upon the initial live launch of Around DH, a different DH project from around the globe was featured on our site each day for 80 days, offering audiences a unique opportunity to meaningfully engage the international, interdisciplinary, multimodal work being done by the digital humanities community, broadly conceived.

Around DH is intended as a first step toward discovering current and developing DH projects across the globe. That is, where we hope that you will see Around DH as a valuable resource for encountering the broader, global field of DH and its diverse practices, we also hope this project will invite you to seek out the critical work of DH beyond the familiar by continuing to engage with these and other projects beyond our platform.

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Biography, Cultural Studies, Digital Scholarship, Life Writing

Biographical Dictionaries in the Digital Era

25.09.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Biographical Dictionaries in the Digital Era

By any measure biography is popular today. With films, dedicated television channels, books, magazines, and multiple forms of social media disseminating biographical information online at an unprecedented rate and feeding an ever escalating interest in the lives of real people, intense public engagement with biography may be considered a defining feature of the early-twenty-first-century cultural landscape. Not coincidentally, interest in biography has soared from the mid-1990s alongside the phenomenon of mass public access to the World Wide Web, and especially since the emergence of Web 2.0 and social media in the past decade.

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Cultural Studies, History, Life Writing

Reclaiming the Past: Nadia’s Story

27.08.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Reclaiming the Past: Nadia’s Story

My Ukrainian grandparents Nadia and Petro Olijnyk arrived in Australia as postwar refugees in 1949. Petro died in 2005 and Nadia in 2009, each in their mid-90s. My grandfather loved telling stories and holding an audience. Nadia would sit with him, listening, but Petro would never allow her to take over. However, when he wasn’t with her she would sometimes tell her own stories and I was struck by how different they were from his. This paper focuses not on Nadia’s storytelling but her story writing, something she began to do in her late 80s for the first time in her life.

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Cultural Studies, Humanities, Life Writing

International Life Writing: Memory and Identity in Global Context

11.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on International Life Writing: Memory and Identity in Global Context

Representing the best of international life writing scholarship, this collection reveals extraordinary stories of remarkable lives. These wide-ranging accounts span the Americas, Britain, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Pacific over a period of more than two centuries. Showing fascinating connections between people, places and historical eras, they unfold against the backdrop of events and social movements of global significance that have influenced the world in which we live today. Many of the authors document and celebrate lives that have been lost, hidden or neglected. They are reconstituted from the archives, restored through testimony and reimagined through art. The effects of colonialism, war and conflict on individual lives can be seen throughout the book alongside themes of transnational connection, displacement and exile, migration of individuals, families and peoples, and recovery and recuperation through memory and writing, creativity and performance.

Biography, Cultural Studies, Digital Scholarship, Historical Studies

New Digital Resource for Australian National Identity

11.12.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Digital Resource for Australian National Identity

The online version of Volume 18 of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, which tells the life stories of hundreds of significant and celebrated Australians, will be launched tonight at The Australian National University. Featuring articles on 670 individuals with surnames from L to Z who died between 1981 and 1990, the Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB) presents a colourful mosaic of twentieth-century Australia. Included in the ADB are explorers, farmers, criminals, ballet dancers, speedway riders, and authors and politicians such as Patrick White, Christina Stead, William McMahon and Billy Sneddon. Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young, who will officially launch the latest version of the online Dictionary, said that the stories and lives featured in the ADB illuminate major themes in our recent history. “A vast range of people are consulting the Australian Dictionary of Biography online – researchers, students at primary, secondary and tertiary level, genealogists, and people watching documentaries and historical dramas on TV,” he said. “Since going online in 2006, the ADB now attracts 70 million views a year.”

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Communication and Media Studies, Cultural Studies, e-Research

Connecting and Enabling the Humanities and Social Sciences

06.02.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Connecting and Enabling the Humanities and Social Sciences

In today’s era of ubiquitous computing and global online connectivity, e-research is enriching research across a growing range of academic disciplines. Its reach is extending beyond the science and technology fields where it originated, and is now “penetrating the social sciences and humanities, [though] sometimes with differences in accent and label” (Jankowski, 2009). This chapter discusses some of the ways in which humanities researchers are embracing new digital resources, formats and modes of collaborating in ways that further the traditional goals of humanities research, “to better understand ourselves, our history, and our cultural heritage” (Cole, 2007). Topics covered in this chapter include the growing opportunities for collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches, building the information commons for public benefit, and the growing need for strategic investment in research infrastructure to support the humanities.

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Cultural Studies, Historical Studies, Life Writing

Voices from the West End

06.02.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Voices from the West End

On a triangle of land that points out to sea at the mouth of the Swan River is Fremantle’s heritage district, the West End, renowned for its colonial architecture that includes the largest collection of heritage-listed buildings in Western Australia and its oldest public building, the Round House gaol (1831). Although Fremantle has often been threatened by the demands of redevelopment, today it is recognised as one of the world’s best preserved examples of a nineteenth-century port city and colonial townscape. ‘Freo’, as it is known locally, also has an exceptionally diverse multicultural community, lending a special character that is the legacy of its role as a historical gateway to Australia, the first point of contact for generations of migrants and visitors arriving by sea from Europe. This mix of cultures and traditions has shaped the life of the cosmopolitan city, which now has a population of close to 30,000.

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Communication and Media Studies, Cultural Studies, e-Research, Historical Studies

Toward a Global Digital History

25.11.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on Toward a Global Digital History

Digital history spans disciplines and can take many forms. Computer technology started to revolutionize the study of history more than three decades ago, and yet genres and formats for recording and presenting history using digital media are not well established and we are only now starting to see large-scale benefits. New modes of publication, new methods for doing research, and new channels of communication are making historical research richer, more relevant, and globally accessible. Many applications of computer-based research and publication are natural extensions of the established techniques for researching and writing history. Others are consciously experimental. This chapter discusses the latest advances in the digital history field and explores how new media technologies are reconfiguring the study of the past.

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