Next seminar – Tuesday 18 March 2014 – Ian Rawes, ‘Seen and not heard: the struggle for control over London’s street sounds’

faahs_05Ian Rawes (British Library)

Venue: Athlone Room (102), 1st Floor, Senate House, Malet Street (or live online at Live Stream)

Time: Tuesday 18 March 2014, 5.15 PM (GMT)

Abstract: Up until the early 1800s London’s raucous soundscape was popularly described as emblematic of the liberty and vigour of its inhabitants. Over a hundred years later, the last lavender sellers were banned from raising their sales cries by the Metropolitan Police and John Betjeman was reminiscing on the radio about a vanished world of London sounds. In this talk, Ian Rawes will examine the reasons for these changes using sources including early field recordings, borough medical officers’ reports, road surface maps, and a century’s worth of noise complaints in the Times newspaper.

Ian Rawes works for the British Library’s Listening and Viewing Service. In his spare time he runs the London Sound Survey, an online collection of present-day and archival field recordings of the capital.

Image: The pedlar of Lambeth and his dog as drawn in 1786 for Ducarel’s “History of  Lambeth” (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21852/21852-h/21852-h.htm)

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Next seminar – Tuesday 4 March 2014 – Devon Elliott, ‘Magical experiments: levitation in the golden age of stage magic’

Harry_Kellar_toasts_the_Devil,_performing_arts_poster,_ca._1899Devon Elliott (University of Western Ontario)

Venue: Athlone Room (102), 1st Floor, Senate House, Malet Street (or live online at Live Stream)

Time: Tuesday 4 March 2014, 5.15 PM (GMT)

Abstract: Digital tools, such as desktop fabrication and physical computing, afford historians the opportunity to experiment with the experiential and subjective past. We can make tangible things only described in documentary evidence and put them into action. The history of stage magic is a useful topic to experiment with these tools given the ephemeral and momentary events of performed illusions, and the role of secrecy with respect to the knowledge of how those methods functioned. Levitations have been a popular effect for stage magicians since the late 1800s following innovative methods by British magician and inventor, John Nevil Maskelyne, and popularized in the United States by American magician, Harry Kellar. In this talk, I discuss how magicians learned to fly in the 19th century, and new hands-on methods we can use to learn about that today.

Image from the Performing Arts Poster Collection at the Library of Congress.

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Live Stream – 18 February 2014

Join us for the live stream here.

The seminar begins at 5.15pm (UK time) on Tuesday 18 February 2014.

For more information about the seminar click here for our previous post: John Schofield and John Wall, ‘Virtual St Paul’s Cathedral and Paul’s Cross’

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Next seminar – Tuesday 18 February 2014 – John Schofield and John Wall, ‘Virtual St Paul’s Cathedral and Paul’s Cross’

0142-3cranes-320John Schofield (Cathedral Archaeologist, St Paul’s Cathedral) and Professor John Wall (North Carolina State University)

Venue: Athlone Room (102), 1st Floor, Senate House, Malet Street (or live online at Live Stream)

Time: Tuesday 18 February 2014, 5.15 PM (GMT)

Abstract: This paper is in two parts. First, John Schofield, the Cathedral Archaeologist for St Paul’s Cathedral, describes both recent conventional and digital attempts to reconstruct the medieval St Paul’s Cathedral, which preceded the present building by Christopher Wren. Second, John Wall, of North Carolina State University, describes a newly-completed project to recreate the public preaching place of Paul’s Cross, which lay to the north-east of the cathedral, in the early 17th century, and to provide the experience of listening to a sermon by John Donne, from various locations near the Cross. Schofield provided the information for reconstruction of the cathedral and St Paul’s Churchyard. Aspects of the experience will be demonstrated. We report on issues raised by these research ventures, such as authenticity, attempts to make models less than pristine, and how the work itself creates new questions for archaeologists, historians, literature professors and software developers to address.

You can find out more about Virtual St Paul’s at http://vpcp.chass.ncsu.edu/

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Seminar cancelled – Tuesday 26 November

We very much regret that we have had to cancel the final seminar of the autumn term, Erica Calogero on ‘Neither art nor history: revealing what counts in representing lost, altered or imagined historic architecture’ (due to have taken place at 5.15 GMT).

There are some great speakers and projects lined up for next term, so we hope you will join us again on 4 February to hear from Professor Sir Deian Hopkin.

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Next seminar – Tuesday 12 November 2013 – Rob Iliffe, ‘Re-writing a life: Isaac Newton as revealed from his digital archive’

Professor Rob Iliffe (University of Sussex)

‘Re-writing a life: Isaac Newton as revealed from his digital archive’

Venue: Athlone Room (102), 1st Floor, Senate House, Malet Street (or live online at History SPOT)

Time: Tuesday 12 November 2013, 5.15 PM (GMT)

Abstract: This paper will consider the experience of the Newton Project, which has digitised and made available online the multi-million word organic personal and printed archive of Sir Isaac Newton. In doing so, it will also reconsider the life of Isaac Newton on the basis of his digitised Theological Papers and his other scientific and mathematical writings (http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk).

Speaker: Rob Iliffe is the Director of the AHRC Newton Papers Project with an overall responsibility for completing the online publication of all four million words of Newton’s Theological Papers. He is also responsible for extending the scope of the original project to include dealing with Newton’s scientific and mathematical work. Rob gained his PhD from Cambridge University and is currently Professor of Intellectual History and the History of Science at the University of Sussex. He is the author of A Very Short Introduction to Isaac Newton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), and has published extensively on early modern history and the history of science. He is currently completing a major work on Newton’s theology for online release.

Seminars are streamed live online at History SPOT. To keep in touch, follow us on Twitter (@IHRDigHist) or at the hashtag #dhist.

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Next Seminar – Tuesday 29 October – Robert Nelson ‘Ideology and Algorithms: The uses of nationalism in the American Civil War and topic modeling in historical research’

Robert Nelson (University of Richmond)

‘Ideology and Algorithms: The uses of nationalism in the American Civil War and topic modeling in historical research’

Venue: Athlone Room, 102, Senate house, first floor

Time: Tuesday, October 29th, 5:15 pm GMT  (please note that time differences between UK and USA are one hour less than usual)

This presentation will explore the instrumental functions of nationalistic and patriotic rhetoric during the Civil War. Using an innovative text-mining technique called topic modeling to analyze the entire runs of the Richmond Daily Dispatch and the New-York Times during the war, it will suggest that the two newspapers used the same language of patriotism and nationalism but to different ends: the former to draw men into the army, the latter to draw voters to the polls to support the Republic Party.  It will also reflect upon the broader methodological value of topic modeling, suggesting how cultural and intellectual historians can use the technique to interpret the concrete political, social, and emotional functions of elusive ideological discourses.

Rob Nelson is the Director of the Digital Scholarship Lab and affiliated faculty in the American Studies program at the University of Richmond.  He has directed and developed a number of digital humanities projects including “Mining the Dispatch,” “Redlining Richmond,” and the History Engine.  He’s currently working on a couple of projects.  One uses a text-mining technique called topic modeling to analyze nationalism in Civil War newspapers.  The other is an multi-year, collaborative project to develop an extensive digital atlas of American history.

Robert will be speaking via live video link. The seminar will be streamed live online at HistorySpot. To keep in touch, follow us on Twitter (@IHRDigHist) or at the hashtag #dhist.

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Next Seminar – Tuesday 15 October – The Programming Historian 2: Collaborative Pedagogy for Digital History

Who: Adam Crymble (King’s College London)

What: The Programming Historian 2: Collaborative Pedagogy for Digital History

When: Tuesday, 15 October 2013, 5:15pm (BST/GMT+1)

Where: Bedford Room G37, Senate house, Ground floor or live online at HistorySpot

The Programming Historian 2 offers open access, peer reviewed tutorials designed to provide historians with new technical skills that are immediately relevant to their research needs. The project also offers a peer reviewed platform for those seeking to share their skills with other historians and humanists. In this talk, Adam will discuss the project from behind the scenes, looking at how it has grown and hopes to continue to grow, as an enduring digital humanities project and alternative publishing and learning platform.

Adam Crymble is one of the founding editors of the Programming Historian 2. He is the author of ‘How to Write a Zotero Translator: A Practical Beginners Guide for Humanists’ and is finishing a PhD in history and digital humanities at King’s College London. Adam is also a Fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute.

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Autumn 2013 programme

We are very pleased to announce the programme for the autumn 2013 term meetings of the seminar. The seminar will meet four times during the term and topics cover a range of digital history projects and methodologies. The first session, on 15 October, will feature Adam Crymble (King’s College London) who will be talking about the Programming Historian, a project that has developed ‘a tutorial-based open access textbook designed to teach humanists practical computer programming skills that are immediately useful to real reasearch needs’. The second session features Rob Nelson (University of Richmond) who will be talking about his work using topic modelling to explore nationalist ideology during the American Civil War. This session will be followed by Rob Iliffe (University of Sussex) who is the Director of the Newton Project. He will be exploring how the digitization of Newton’s papers provides new insights into his life and work. We finish off the term with Erica Calogero (University of Brighton) who will be talking about her work on 3D reconstructions of historical buildings.

The full programme with dates, times, names and titles is on the seminar programme page of the blog. We look forward to seeing you there.

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Seminar Cancelled – Tuesday 25 June

Unfortunately we have had to cancel the final Digital History Seminar of the year. Thank you to everyone who has

We are currently finalizing our Autumn programme and should have an announcement soon about the excellent line up of speakers for the 2013-14 academic year. Please watch this space over the summer for further information.

Thanks to all of our speakers and attendees – both online and in person – who have helped make it an excellent year.

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