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2014 New York Plenary Session
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Current Trends in the Digital Renaissance

3/28/2014
When: Friday, 28 March 2014
7:00 PM–9:00PM
Where: Hilton New York Midtown
Second Floor, Sutton Rooms
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Plenary Session: Current Trends in the Digital Renaissance

7:00–8:30 p.m.


Sponsor: The Renaissance Society of America

Location: New York Hilton Midtown, Sutton Rooms

Organizer and Chair: Martin Elsky, CUNY, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center


Jonathan R. Hope, Strathclyde University

Paradigm Shifts in British Renaissance Literature: The Digital Future

On 1 January 2015, research in British literature will be transformed by the release of the first set of EEBO–TCP (Early English Books Online–Text Creation Partnership) texts, giving free access to 20,000 fully searchable volumes. With further releases planned, scholars can look forward to being able to read every printed English book from the period. It is hard to overestimate the importance of this as a paradigm shift in Renaissance studies, but such "big data” (or rather, in today’s terms, small-to-medium-sized data) also poses new challenges. In order to realize the potential of such data sets, Renaissance scholars must adapt tools and methodologies from other fields such as corpus linguistics, data visualization, and statistical analysis. I will also look beyond text analytics to new applications of network analysis, geospatial mapping, and image searching, which promise to transform our research into Renaissance social structures, spaces, and visual culture.


Nicholas A. Eckstein, University of Sydney

Renaissance History and the Digital Turn

Of late Renaissance historians have ventured decisively down the road of the "digital turn.” New digital technologies mean not only that scholars can map cities with unprecedented detail and clarity. They may also virtually "observe” and "experience” urban environments from vantage points that help us to see through barriers that even now divide disciplines and subdisciplines. Overlaying and peeling away categories of data allows us to filter our view of streets, zones, and neighborhoods by gender, occupation, residence, spatial relations, and other variables in order to reveal visual and even aural landscapes. Views of Venice and Florence by such cartographers as Jacopo de’ Barbari and Stefano Buonsignori, for all their magisterial detail, are static. The exciting promise of several projects currently underway is to create dynamic maps that are not prisoners of the moment — maps that show evolutionary change, and may evolve and expand in the future.

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