digital archives

Online Archives and the Poetry Anthology

Photo of poetry anthologies on a bookshelf overlaid with the words I Hate You More Each Time I Move

The bottom shelf of my bookcase is dedicated almost entirely to anthologies.  I’ve lugged them around with me for almost 15 years, through four cities and nine houses, and every time I move I think about tossing them.  Like the set of Collier’s encyclopedias I ditched in 2001 or the Field Guides I donated in 2009, the anthologies may have outlived their usefulness. 

Navigating Digital Archives

Two open books with the words Data and Base carved into their pages

As a student, graduate or undergraduate, working with an archive can be daunting, and the effort doesn't necessarily get easier when the archive is digital.  But as more digital archives become available, it's worth considering how they might be used as classroom resources. My students in "Banned Books and Novel Ideas" this semester are reading several books and authors that have affiliated digital archives, and figuring out how best to introduce the

Digital Romantics: Wordsworth, Coleridge, and "Radiant Textuality" in the classroom

Caspar David Friedrich's painting Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog with Internet logos in the distance

I’m teaching E 314L: “Reading Poetry” this semester, with a fantastic set of students of all levels of proficiency who really like to dig into the big issues motivating our poems.  Early in the semester when we read Donne and other metaphysical poets, our classroom discussions often coalesced around two or three centers of gravity for each poem.  Though opinions and readings about what the poems are up to might be divergent, we could normally, as a class, agree on a few choice passages as the cruxes for making meaning.

Encouraging Class Participation with Google Docs

Graphic comparing Google Docs and Enterprise 2.0 platforms

Classroom dynamics can vary widely from one group of students to the next. This fact has really struck home now that I’m teaching two sessions of Rhetoric and Writing: “Disability in Pop Culture.” I walk into both classes with the same lesson plans, with (one of) the same interpreters, and with the same kinds of technology available. Many variables are different; different buildings, different classroom space (in terms of size), one interpreter is different, different days, different time of day (although both take place in the afternoon).

Finding Trial Transcripts Online and Exploring 18th-19th Century Crime Broadsides

Broadside depicting crowd at an execution

I’m teaching an upper-division rhetorical theory course about legal rhetoric in which I focus students on the rhetoric involved in adjudicating particular cases in dispute. The initial unit in the course focuses students on the rhetoric of narrative, memory, and proof surrounding factual disputes in particular cases. Although there are many examples of such discourse, the most classic example is in a legal trial.

Teaching with Early Modern Digital Archives

Latin transcription of Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae

In the last three decades, our understanding of early modern literature and culture has been enriched by a renewed attention to data that might be called "archival."  Because of the proliferation of digital repositories such as Early English Books online, scholars and teachers have increasing home access to resources previously restricted to on-site consultation.  While such archival material is often incorporated into graduate and advanced undergraduate teaching, there is also significant opportunity to employ it in the instruction of early-major and non-major literature students


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