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June 2017

Welcome to the Centre for 21st Century Humanities eNewsletter. This Newsletter will keep you updated and informed about our latest activities and achievements. 

Call for participants - Humanities startup workshop

Calling all budding entrepreneurs!

A 2-day workshop for UoN humanities PhD students and researchers will be held at Maitland Regional Art Gallery on June 29 and 30.

Presented by the Centre for 21st Century Humanities and Maitland City Council, this workshop will introduce participants to the fascinating world of the startup. Participants with a culturally and linguistically diverse background, and those with a Maitland connection, are especially welcome.

Over two days, with the help of industry experts and a short course on business models, workshop participants will take their fledgling ideas and nurture them into possible business projects.

Some will go away with funding support to move to the next stage but all attendees are guaranteed to leave with something new to think about and with vital information about the practicalities and possibilities of the startup world.

This is a free course, but spaces are limited so please register.

New federation to bring together stylometry experts from around the world

UoN’s Centre for Literary and Linguistic Computing (CLLC) is behind a move to create a new partnership between stylometry labs from around the world. The recently formed Federation of Stylometry Labs will deepen collaborations, and help the exchange of tools and knowledge among researchers in the fast moving and highly innovative field of literary stylistics.

Director of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities, Professor Hugh Craig from the CLLC has helped set up the Federation of Stylometry Labs with research groups in Amsterdam, Krakow, Wuerzburg and Stanford.

Professor Craig said there are a small number of stylometry labs spread across the globe pursuing similar specialised goals, so it makes sense to create a formal network of these labs.

“This partnership is designed to speed up the adoption of new methods, provide mobility for early career researchers, and make it easier to share software and text sets,” Professor Craig said.

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Early modern literature collaborations to flow from appointment of acclaimed academic to School of Humanities and Social Science

A leading Australian academic in research on early modern literature and Australian literature has been appointed as a Professorial Fellow in the School of Humanities and Social Science.

Professor Paul Salzman has taken on a position in the discipline of English and Writing. He has published on early modern women’s writing, prose fiction, literary and cultural history, and the intersections between literature, society and politics.  In the field of Australian literature, he has published on modern fiction, including two co-written analyses of contemporary Australian fiction co-written with Professor Ken Gelder, and a book on Elizabeth Jolley.

Co-founder of the Early Modern Women Research Network (EMWRN), Associate Professor Ros Smith said the appointment of Professor Salzman, a founding member of EMWRN, is a coup for UON.

“Professor Salzman's appointment will add to the research concentration in early modern literary studies at the University, reinforcing our position as a national leader in this area. His expertise in early modern women's writing, material cultures of the book and the digital humanities make him the perfect fit for our research cluster,” Associate Professor Smith said.


Dr Trisha Pender invited to talk about Buffy as a feminist icon

Early modern women’s writing researcher, and author of I'm Buffy and You're History: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Contemporary Feminism, Dr Trisha Pender, has been invited to speak at the Williamstown Literary Festival in Victoria in June.

Member of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities and the Early Modern Women Research Network, Dr Pender will take part in a conversation style event alongside feminist author and commentator Clementine Ford and Dr Jenny Lee entitled “Are you ready to be strong? Exploring Buffy as a feminist icon.”

All three panelists are Buffy fans and will discuss how Buffy, gender, politics and feminism all intersect.

“It’s been 20 years since Buffy first appeared on our screens as an exhilarating alternative to the tired cultural trope of a hapless, attractive blonde woman victimized by a murderous male villain,” Dr Pender said.

“Even though the series finished in 2003, it still went on to inspire an unprecedented number of monographs, edited collections, conferences, book chapters, journal articles, and even university courses that grapple with the Buffy phenomenon in one way or another. The series is one of the most studied popular culture texts of all time.”

“I’m looking forward to talking with Clementine Ford and putting the series under the feminist microscope!”

Linguistics research to aid conservation of Indigenous culture

Using digital technologies to conserve heritage in Indigenous Australian communities through engagement in sustainable tourism is the topic of a paper co-authored by University of Newcastle PhD student Gabrielle McGinnis and Endangered Language Documentation, Theory and Application (ELDTA) research group member Associate Professor Mark Harvey, together with Dr Tamara Young from the Newcastle Business School and Professor Ian Clark from Federation University.

As part of her thesis Gabrielle has worked with the Wagiman community in Pine Creek in the Northern Territory. Associate Professor Harvey, a member of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities, has been working with the Wagiman community to document language and culture since the early 1990s.

“Associate Professor Mark Harvey has acquired a large amount of linguistic data from the Pine Creek community. We can see the potential for using this data to help empower the communities through Indigenous tourism at Pine Creek using digital technologies which would not only help conserve knowledge for future generations of Wagiman in the area, but also benefit the local tourism industry,” Gabrielle said.

“The Wagiman community has rich Australian Indigenous Biocultural Knowledge (AIBK). During our research the community members expressed interest in integrating Digital AIBK via videos, websites and apps within Pine Creek’s existing infrastructure rather than in independent tourism ventures,” Associate Professor Harvey said.


National history conference comes to Newcastle

Several members of Centre for 21st Century Humanities and the Centre for the History of Violence will be involved with the upcoming Australian Historical Association Conference being held at UoN.

Attendees at the conference will have the opportunity to get hands on experience using computational linguistics for historical analysis and learn from one of the leading scholars in the field.

A digital history workshop is planned and will be led by international scholar Associate Professor Michelle Moravec from Rosemont College in Philadelphia.

Director of the Centre for the History of Violence and member of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities, Professor Philip Dwyer is convening the conference and says it is the largest annual history conference in Australia.

“Planning for the conference is well under way. We’ve secured prominent national and international keynote speakers and panelists including Professor Dane Kennedy from George Washington University, and Professor Christina Twomey from Monash University,” Professor Dwyer said.


Post-doc uncovering the hidden meanings in religious texts using stylometry

After completing his first degree in India in computer science, then a PhD in computational stylometry in Malaysia, Ahmad Alqurneh now comes to the University of Newcastle to further his post doctoral studies in stylometry, the statistical analysis of variations in literary style of texts.

Originally from Jordan, Ahmad has recently commenced with the Centre for Literary and Linguistic Computing and is now focused on a project related to translations using stylometry.

Ahmad explains the importance of stylometry in investigating sacred religious texts, for example the Qur’an.

“Traditionally stylometry is used to ascertain authorship attribution and disprove fake fabrication by authors. I’m going down another path here with single text and single authors, using stylometry to extract hidden knowledge in the text in order for the reader to truly appreciate the efforts of the writer and their unique writing style.”