The iSchool is pleased to announce that Ted Underwood has joined the faculty, effective August 16. Professor Underwood also holds a joint appointment with the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Underwood's shift toward the iSchool happened gradually. "I found myself collaborating more and more closely with students and faculty at the iSchool and eventually came to see it as a second intellectual home,” he said. Since 2003, he has been a faculty member in the English Department. He looks forward to helping students there and in the iSchool understand “how one builds a bridge between domain knowledge and information science."
Underwood works in the broad collection of fields known as digital humanities. "Specifically, I use digital libraries to cast new light on the literary past, showing how genres and assumptions (about gender, for instance) have changed across long timelines in ways that are sometimes too gradual to see if we’re just reading one book at a time," he said.
After receiving his doctoral degree in English from Cornell University in 1997, Underwood worked at the University of Rochester and Colby College before coming to Illinois. He has authored two books—Why Literary Periods Mattered: Historical Contrast and the Prestige of English Studies and The Work of the Sun: Literature, Science and Political Economy 1760-1860—and is working on a third, The Horizon of Literary History.
"Digital humanities is a rapidly growing area in libraries and information services. Our School has had the good fortune to work closely with Ted for years, so we are delighted to bring him even closer, giving our students more opportunities to study with a major figure doing pathbreaking research," said iSchool Dean and Professor Allen Renear.