Between the Digital and the Material in Research on the Middle Ages
It is probably no coincidence that the increasing interest in the material among scholars, including medievalists of all types, has accompanied the increasing role of digital technology in our work and in our lives more broadly. As we spend more and more of our time manipulating data on our screens, it is easy to become nostalgic for actual contact with material things. Yet, the ongoing proliferation of digital forms continues to promise increased access to research materials of all kinds and to one another. This session aims to investigate this dynamic between the digital and the material as it shapes the efforts of scholars working on all aspects of the Middle Ages, with special attention to issues of access and opportunity.
Key questions include:
- How does the selection of what gets digitized, and what does not, shape the choices scholars make in their work? What is overlooked because it has not been digitized? What receives new attention because it has?
- How does digitization differentially impact the scope of projects we undertake and the ability to access to material sources? For example, what differences exist, for researchers located outside of Europe and the U.K. versus those working within those regions? How has digitization affected access to material sources for individuals at different points in their careers, from different disciplinary backgrounds, and with varying degrees of research support?
- What models exist for fruitful interaction between the digital and the material in research and scholarship? What can the digital contribute to our work that the material cannot and vice-versa?
We welcome proposals that address any of these questions as well as any related issues. Papers should be 20 minutes in length, delivered in English. Please submit a proposal or abstract of no more than 250 words and a current cv to Marian Bleeke (firstname.lastname@example.org) by September 15, 2018. Informal questions about the session as also welcome.