The Past's Digital Presence: Database, Archive, and Knowledge Work in the Humanities (A Graduate Student Symposium)

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Yale University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Whitney Humanities Center
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How is digital technology changing methods of scholarly research with pre-digital sources in the humanities? If the "medium is the message," then how does the message change when primary sources are translated into digital media? What kinds of new research opportunities do databases unlock and what do they make obsolete? What is the future of the rare book and manuscript library and its use? What biases are inherent in the widespread use of digitized material? How can we correct for them? Amidst numerous benefits in accessibility, cost, and convenience, what concerns have been overlooked? We invite graduate students to submit paper proposals for an interdisciplinary symposium that will address how databases and other digital technologies are making an impact on our research in the humanities. The graduate student panels will be moderated by a Yale faculty member or library curator with a panel respondent. The two-day conference will take place February 19th and 20th, 2010, at Yale University.

Keynote Speaker: Peter Stallybrass, Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania

Colloquium Guest Speaker: Jacqueline Goldsby, Associate Professor, University of Chicago

Potential paper topics include:
• The Future of the History of the Book
• Public Humanities
• Determining Irrelevance in the Archive
• Defining the Key-Word
• The Material Object in Archival Research
• Local Knowledge, Global Access
• Digital Afterlives
• Foucault, Derrida, and the Archive
• Database Access Across the Profession
• Mapping and Map-Based Platforms
• Interactive Research

Please email a one-page proposal along with a C.V. to Deadline for submissions is September 10th, 2009. Accepted panelists will be notified by October 1st, 2009. We ask that all graduate-student panelists pre-circulate their paper among their panels by January 20th, 2010.

Please contact Molly Farrell and Heather Klemann at with any additional inquiries. For more information about conference events, please visit our forthcoming website: (October).