Call for Participants: Roots and Routes III – Sociability and Material/Digital Mediterranean (26 May – 3 June 2014, Toronto)

Format:
Unlike traditional academic conferences, the Roots & Routes Summer Institute features a combination of informal presentations, seminar-style discussions of shared materials, hands-on workshops on a variety of digital tools, and small-group project development sessions. The institute welcomes participants from a range of disciplines with an interest in engaging with digital scholarship; technical experience is not a requirement. Graduate students (MA and PhD), postdoctoral fellows and faculty are all encouraged to apply.
Hosted by the University of Toronto Scarborough, the institute allows participants to develop a more coherent and explicitly transdisciplinary analytical framework for future scholarship using digital tools and methodologies. Participants will explore new formats for conducting research and presenting their findings. By teaming up with information technology specialists and digital scholarship experts working outside the Mediterranean, participants will have a chance to develop long-term collaborative projects to enhance their ongoing individual research agendas. In order to maximize the potential for future collaboration and broad, thematic conversations, groups will be composed of participants from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and at different stages of their scholarly careers, from senior scholars to advanced undergraduates. Participants are encouraged to engage each other’s materials, bring insights from their own fields of expertise to a broader methodological and conceptual discussion, and begin to draw out connections between what are often seen as disparate fields of knowledge.

Annual theme:
This year’s theme, “Sociability and Materiality,” aims to capture a range of historical problems and their attendant methodological and epistemological challenges. Participants are invited to define and approach this theme from the position of their individual disciplines and research interests. For example, what place does “the Mediterranean” have in discussions about manuscript, print, and digital cultures and their interpretation? What can historians, art historians, archaeologists, and other scholars learn from one another when tackling these problems? (How) are themes such as sociability and materiality useful in the study of the premodern Mediterranean? How can attention to materiality and sociability make salient the various practices of knowledge production of different disciplinary traditions, and what do such practices entail? What new ways of envisioning archives (as processes as well as products) are being facilitated by digital technologies? How do digital media and methodologies change the ways in which we identify, access, and interpret historical records? What might “collaborative research” in digital environments have to learn from (and teach) the history of earlier forms of scholarly sociability? How does the recent resurgence in the history of material culture speak to longer-term interest among historians of the book in the materiality of textual artifacts?

Application Guidelines:
Applicants should submit  a CV and a brief proposal (up to 600 words) that includes a discussion of their current research and a specific object they would like to present and further develop digitally. This object may be a text, an artifact, a dataset, or a cluster of any of the above. Once accepted, participants will be asked to compile a bibliography of relevant readings to share with others in advance, as well as to install and become familiar with a few digital tools (e.g. Zotero), to allow us to explore more advanced features and digital skills at the institute itself. Participants are not expected to have prior programming knowledge or other advanced digital skills, but should be genuinely interested in the potential of digital tools to challenge and transform current research practices.
Application deadline: March 21, 2014

See http://ocs.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/utsc/RRSI3/announcement/view/139
** Travel bursaries may be available for some out-of-town graduate student participants. **
Please contact the organizers at rrsi2014[at]utsc.utoronto.ca for further information or to get involved in the organizing process.
“Roots & Routes: Scholarly Networks and Knowledge Production in the Premodern Mediterranean and in the Digital Age” is a three-year Summer Institute (2011, 2012 & 2014) hosted by the University of Toronto Scarborough and is generously supported by a grant from the University of Toronto’s Connaught Fund.

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