Matthew Hannah Presentation

Matthew Hannah, assistant professor of digital humanities at Purdue University, will give the talk, "“Dynamic Particles”: Digital Humanities and the Network Turn."

Abstract: How do cultural zeitgeists appear? How do they come to dominate our intellectual and cultural topography? How are ideas about culture--and the way it is produced and shared--circulated throughout a society and can scholars map the spread of such ideas? One method to visualize the spread of new ideas about art, literature, and culture, which has become prominent in the digital humanities, is network analysis.  Like dynamic particles colliding into and bouncing off one another, information spreads through structures of connection, through contact. Mapping such intersectional moments can tell us much about how new information appears and spreads throughout a larger cultural ecosystem.

In this presentation, I contextualize the "network turn" in digital humanities scholarship and discuss my research on one such transformational moment, at the dawn of the twentieth century, when revolution was in the air, and everything seemed possible. New forms of art, literature, and political action were appearing and sparking public awareness and condemnation. Media landscapes circulated information about the rise and prominence of the most experimental and transgressive ideas of the avant-garde for readers interested in the latest cultural movements. I focus specifically on the creation and distribution of coterie periodicals, whose editorial platforms crystallized the avant-garde zeitgeist for readers. Because these periodicals have become digitally available, they form a natural dataset for network analysis. Measuring the individual contributions to such magazines reveals the “trending” practitioners and theorists of the avant-garde during the early years of the twentieth century.     

Matthew Hannah is an assistant professor of digital humanities with a courtesy appointment in American Studies at Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies. He is currently designing a graduate certificate in DH, and he manages the Digital Humanities Studio. He is also an adjunct professor of DH at the University of Alabama and a Fulbright Specialist for 2020. He received his PhD in English from the University of Oregon, and his research interests include media archaeology, critical theory, network analysis, and computational text analysis. 

Questions? Contact Lori Kelso