Viral Hive Knowledge: Twitter, Historians, and Coronavirus/COVID-19

We are all historians of the present. At least we should be. Many fellow historians of knowledge are currently using a wide variety of media to share their experience and research in an effort to put the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic into context. Twitter is one medium where this conversation is especially lively, as Eileen Sperry has noted on Nursing Clio, a wonderful group blog that is also active on Twitter. One can find these parts of Twitter by searching for the relevant hashtags, for example, #histmed (history of medicine) and the much more generic #twitterstorians (historians on twitter).

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Knowledge Notes

POSTDOC VACANCY: The Restitution of Knowledge: Artefacts as Archives in the (Post)Colonial Museum, 1850-1939. TU Berlin, April 15, 2020, to April 14, 2022. Application deadline: March 20, 2020. (HT @an_augusti)

CALL FOR PAPERS: The Technology Behind Media Misinformation: The Creation, Detection and Investigation of Fake News. “The Digital Humanities/Digital Scholarship Special Interest Group is calling for presenters to participate in their open session at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Dublin, Ireland, from August 15-20, 2020.” Deadline: March 25, 2020. (HT @SwenSteinberg for this and the next two calls .)

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An Intimate Knowledge of the Past? Gossip in the Archives

When the writer Anne Brewster (1818–1892) and the sculptor Harriet Hosmer (1830–1908) met in Italy in 1876, their conversation circled mainly around the recently deceased actress Charlotte Cushman. That itself was hardly unusual—Cushman was the talk of the town. During most of her adult life, Charlotte Cushman (1816–1876) was among the most-well known public figures in the Anglophone world. As an American actress who could boast a phenomenal success in Britain with roles as varied as Meg Merrilies and Romeo, Cushman dominated the theatrical scene on both sides of the Atlantic for several decades. While she might be forgotten today,1 she was everywhere during the height of her success. You can’t miss her in databases like ProQuest’s American Periodicals Series and Historical Newspapers or the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Yet if you relied only on these public sources, you’d miss a lot.

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Knowledge Notes

Stephanie Leitsch is teaching the 44th International Wolfenbüttel Summer Course, entitled “Early Modern Visual Data: Organizing Knowledge in Printed Books.”

As prints taught viewers how to observe and thus arguably democratized knowledge derived from first-hand experience, this seminar considers printed images as critical visual technology that built knowledge acquisition. . . .

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