- All Astir
A new UK-based organization has been formed, the British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists (BrANCA), several of whose founding members, including Michael Jonik and Peter Riley, have a strong interest in Melville and have participated in recent Melville Society events. BrANCA plans to offer regular meetings, lectures, reading groups, an online discussion group, and a biennial conference in the UK with international participants. You can view the mission statement, see a listing of news and events, and sign up for the electronic mailing list at http://www.branca.org.uk. Along with the establishment of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists (http://c19.psu.edu), which held its recent biennial conferences in 2010 at Penn State and in 2012 at Berkeley and whose semiannual journal J19 began publication with a Spring 2013 issue, the formation of BrANCA is welcome news for those interested in Melville and in nineteenth-century US literature.
The Melville Society Cultural Project has selected two recipients in 2013 for the Walter E. Bezanson Fellowship for study in the Melville Society Archive at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. They are Joseph Meyer from the University of Arkansas, who will be researching Melville and Biblical genealogy with a focus on Clarel, and Munia Bhaumik from Emory University, who will be studying Melville in translation and mutinies in nineteenth-century literature.
The Cultural Project also reports that it has received its first request to lend some of the Melville Society's recent art acquisitions for an exhibit, a request that its members happily approved. The Luther Brady Art Gallery at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, will exhibit four drawings by Matt Kish for his book Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page, as part of an exhibition inspired by the Melville Society's Ninth International Conference, "Melville and Whitman in Washington: The Civil War and After," held in Washington on June 4-7, 2013. The exhibition, titled "After Melville and Whitman," will run from April 9 through July 5, 2013, and also will include several paintings based on Melville's The Confidence-Man by the contemporary artist Doug Paisley, as well as selections from the writings of Melville and Whitman, among others.
In March, the Melville Electronic Library (MEL) research associates and technical team convened for their fourth MELCamp, this year at the beautiful new Liberal Arts and Humanities building at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. Over two dozen participants—some seasoned, some new, some [End Page 78] tech-oriented, some digital innocents—from as close as a few blocks away (Dennis Berthold, who treated the group to an authentic Texas BBQ dinner at Rudy's) and as far away as Spain (Laura López Peña)—signed on to brainstorm the newest developments and narrow the gap between traditional and digital scholarships.
Laura Mandell, Director of TAMU's Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture, and her graduate assistant Liz Grumbach welcomed MELCampers with a reception Monday evening, followed by a keynote address by Wyn Kelley, Associate Director of MEL. The talk, titled "Editing Raw: From Archive to Classroom and Beyond," looked at participatory practices of editing in John Bryant's fluid-text theory, in an editing-based pedagogy for the literature classroom, and in a digital tool called Annotation Studio, as well as a mapping tool called Locast, both developed at MIT. As MEL moves to a more public phase, loading materials to a live site and eventually inviting visitors to interact with Melville texts, art, maps, and a timeline of Civil War history, the site will enable them not just to read but also to engage in editing activities. Kelley argued that finding ways for non-experts (not just scholars) to consider themselves editors could engage them deeply in Melville's texts and contexts.
The events included an intense and productive series of talks and workshops. MEL Director John Bryant updated participants on MEL's newest developments and then introduced plenary speaker Laura Mandell, who spoke on "The Digital Humanities Center: Project Management, Graduate Training, Critical Thinking." Outlining the strong advantages of creating a digital humanities center for training a new generation of...