Biography, Cultural Studies, Life Writing, Literary Studies

Private Lives, Intimate Readings

08.05.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on Private Lives, Intimate Readings

In any attempt to report on the life of another, or even one’s own life, an inescapable ethical dilemma arises that relates to entering intensely private areas of experience and presenting intimate subject matter for the world to see. How much intimate material should be revealed? For what purpose? To whose benefit? At what risk? How?

In an era when millions of people are willing to share the minutiae of their individual daily lives via social media and the private lives of the famous are exposed routinely to mass audiences, such questions loom larger than ever. With easier access to private information—by governments, hackers, marketers, and private citizens—this area has become one of global concern in the context of the fundamental human right to privacy. Critical engagement with the private and the intimate has always been a key characteristic of life-writing studies, and this field has made a noteworthy contribution to contemporary reconceptualisations of the private and the public spheres and the intricate interconnections between them.

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Communication and Media Studies, Digital Scholarship, e-Research, Humanities

Advancing Digital Humanities

05.11.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Advancing Digital Humanities

Advancing Digital Humanities moves beyond definition of this dynamic and fast growing field to show how its arguments, analyses, findings and theories are pioneering new directions in the humanities globally. Sections cover digital methods, critical curation and research futures, with theoretical and practical chapters framed around key areas of activity including modelling collections, data-driven analysis, and thinking through building. These are linked through the concept of ‘ambitious generosity’, a way of working to pursue large-scale research questions while supporting and enabling other research areas and approaches, both within and beyond the academy.

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Cultural Studies, Digital Scholarship, e-Research, Humanities

Launch of HuNI Virtual Laboratory for Australian Cultural Data

01.11.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Launch of HuNI Virtual Laboratory for Australian Cultural Data

The Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI) is a national Virtual Laboratory project developed as part of the Australian government’s NeCTAR (National e-Research Collaboration Tools and Resources) program. HuNI combines information from 30 of Australia’s most significant cultural datasets. These datasets comprise more than 2 million authoritative records relating to the people, organisations, objects and events that make up Australia’s rich cultural heritage. HuNI also enables researchers to work with and share this large-scale aggregation of cultural information. HuNI has been developed as a partnership between 13 public institutions, led by Deakin University. By providing researchers worldwide with access to the combined resources of Australia’s most important cultural datasets and information assets, HuNI is recognised as the first national, cross-disciplinary virtual laboratory of its kind to be established anywhere in the world.

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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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Paul Arthur is Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Research Fellow and Chair in Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. He speaks and publishes widely on major challenges and changes facing 21st-century society, from the global impacts of technology on communication, culture and identity