Digital Frontiers Conference, September 2015

At the recent Digital Frontiers Conference, organized by University of North Texas Libraries, I presented on my DH collaboration at SMU and the ways it has enhanced my career. I got a lot of “Amen!” tweets during the Q&A when I stressed that librarians should not provide service, but rather collaboration. Quite encouraging!

#DF15UTD Twitter feed

From the conference program:
Creating Digital Humanities Collaborations Using Library Special Collections
Carrie Johnston, Bucknell University; Cindy Boeke, Southern Methodist University

With their rich special collections, academic libraries are in an ideal position to partner with faculty and graduate students to host, sponsor, and/or support Digital Humanities projects. The Norwick Center for Digital Services (nCDS), a unit of Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Central University Libraries (CUL), has become a Digital Humanities partner in two ways: helping foster projects that utilize items from the library’s special collections, and introducing a Digital Humanities Practicum to train students to design, implement, and complete Digital Humanities projects. The practicum focuses on digitization, historical research, metadata creation, digital collections development, and outreach. Feedback from initial participants has been extremely positive.

Here are two examples. One post-doctoral student utilized the nCDS Digital Humanities Practicum to receive specialized training and advice for a project to create a multi-archival digital exhibit on the 1910 lynching of Allen Brooks in Dallas, entitled “The Lynching of Allen Brooks and the Disappearance of the Elks Arch.”  An nCDS Digital Humanities Practicum project by Carrie Johnston brought to light new information on the development of tourism in the U.S. Southwest. At the turn of the 20th century, the Fred Harvey Company was instrumental in bringing tourism to the Grand Canyon and throughout New Mexico. The final project was presented on the Fred Harvey Co. Materials from the DeGolyer Library web page. This Digital Humanities project has attracted interest from unexpected venues and been beneficial in the student’s job search: Carrie recently accepted a two-year CLIR Digital Scholarship Fellowship at Bucknell University because of the work she created through the Digital Humanities Practicum.

American Literature Association Conference, 2015

I presented a paper, “A Woman’s ‘Brand’ of Success,” on William Dean Howells’s The Rise of Silas Lapham at the 2015 ALA conference. In the paper, I argue that the novel’s direct correlation of Lapham’s professional missteps and his emphatic rejections of his wife’s input illustrates the curse of Gilded Age prosperity to be the exclusion of women—more specifically, the traditionally feminine traits of restraint and good character—from the masculine public sphere. After Lapham’s extravagant house has burned down and he faces financial ruin, Lapham and his wife have similar epiphanies, regretting “how much [Persis] had left herself out of his business life. That was another ‘curse’ of their prosperity.” By presenting the Persis “brand” as a potential solution to the contradictory impulses of both achieving success in the Gilded Age corporate economy and maintaining one’s integrity, this paper reveals the ways Lapham demonstrates the damaging results of excluding women from the public sphere, while simultaneously reinforcing traditional notions of the feminine qualities of virtue and honor that are central to ideas such as “true womanhood” and the doctrine of separate spheres.

Browsing Forward Magazine

“A Digital Path to the Past” in Southern Methodist University Libraries’ Browsing Forward magazine:

This article outlines the Digital Humanities project I developed and currently edit and features one of the postcards digitized for the collection, “The Complete Story of a Navaho Blanket, Canyon De Chelley, Arizona,” ca. 1915. Held in the DeGolyer Library’s Fed Harvey Company Collection.

The Pre-Occupaton of the American West, ASA 2014

A review of a panel that I co-organized with Sigrid Anderson Cordell for the 2014 American Studies Association Meeting.

“The ‘Pre-Occupation’ of the American West: Imagining a Native Past” panel examined representations of the first peoples of the Americas and the temporal-spatial imaginaries to which they are often consigned. Sigrid Anderson Cordell explored how journalist Charles Lummis’ ethnographic work on indigenous nations of the American West championed white male academic expertise and undercut indigenous women’s claims to knowledge and authority. Regarding photography as a means of shaping narratives about cultures, Colleen Marie Tripp interrogated how the filmic material that accompanied lecturer Charles Hall’s “lantern show” made and unmade conceptions of race in the American West. Carrie Johnston evaluated how Alice Corbin Henderson’s poetry–used as marketing material for rail tourism–presents “Indians” as a sign, demarcating an authentic frontier space apart from the “settled” American landscape. Christen Mucher observed that framing the pre-Colombian mound complex in Miamisburg, Ohio as part of the state’s “prehistory” renders its builders and inhabitants, by association, pre-Ohioans. The forcing of the Ohioan mound-builder nation from the main current of Anglocentric regional history mirrors and recapitulates the spatial dislocations of forced removal and extermination.

Schuyler Chapman and Will Fenton and Sean Gerrity and Laura J. Schrock et. al. “The Year in Conferences—2014.”ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 61, no. 1 (2015): 114-211.