This spring Falvey Memorial Library’s Digital Scholarship Program will be offering two lectures in its Digital Seeds Speaker Series. Check out the details below and be sure to REGISTER in advance! Once registered, you will be sent a link to the event.
“Mapping Indigenous Landowners in 19th-Century Los Angeles: Historicizing GIS and the Public Land Survey System“
Julia Lewandoski, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of History, California State University San Marcos
Thursday, February 18, 4:00-5:00 pm
After the 1848 U.S. conquest of Mexican California, the federal government negotiated, but declined to ratify treaties with Indigenous peoples in California. Tongva, Tataviam, and Chumash peoples around Los Angeles turned to property ownership to keep communities intact and in important places for decades, generating local property maps of their lands.
This project uses ArcGIS to locate, layer, and analyze property maps of Indigenous land in southern California. These local property maps show the persistent existence of important Indigenous places. They also challenge understandings of the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) as a visual project that replaced Indigenous geographies with rationalized settler space. Indigenous properties and landscapes are clearly visible on historic maps, and in the patterns of the present-day PLSS. Their presence raises questions for GIS practitioners about the tensions between social and mathematical frameworks for locating peoples and places.
Julia Lewandoski is a historian of early North America and is an Assistant Professor at California State University, San Marcos. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in History and the Digital Humanities at the University of Southern California. She received her PhD in History with a designated emphasis in Science and Technology Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in August 2019. Her dissertation was awarded the 2019 prize by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR). Her current book project explores how small Indigenous nations across North America exploited imperial transitions to defend land as property in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is also at work on a digital companion to the book project, using GIS to examine how Indigenous property has been mapped and measured. Website: https://www.julialewandoski.com/
This event is ACS- approved and is co-sponsored by Villanova’s Department of History, the Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, and Falvey Memorial Library.
“Libraries of Babel: An Expansive Future for the Humanities”
Ted Underwood, Professor in the School of Information Sciences and Department of English, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
Thursday, March 11, 4:00-5:00pm
The last twelve months have not been kind to optimists. It may sound especially implausible to predict a bright future for the humanities right now, since enrollment and hiring are down in many disciplines. But, as paradoxical as it sounds, we are living in an age of unprecedented opportunity for the study of culture and history. Some of the opportunities are well publicized: for instance, digital libraries have opened up fundamental new research questions for literary scholars. I’ll give examples of that work, but the broader point of this talk is to propose that we’re living through a digital transformation that will matter for everyone, not just for academic researchers. In making it possible to explore culture as a latent space—a space of possibility—machine learning facilitates a kind of creative play that is akin to rigorous self-understanding. This is good news for the humanities, although our disciplinary institutions are admittedly struggling to seize the opportunity.
Ted Underwood is a professor in the School of Information Sciences at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and holds an appointment with the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. After writing two books that describe eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature using familiar critical methods, he turned to new research opportunities created by large digital libraries. Since that time, his research has explored literary patterns that become visible across long timelines, when we consider hundreds or thousands of books at once. He recently used machine learning, for instance, to trace the consolidation of detective fiction and science fiction as distinct genres, and to describe the shifting assumptions about gender revealed in literary characterization from 1780 to the present. He has authored three books about literary history, Distant Horizons (The University of Chicago Press Books, 2019), Why Literary Periods Mattered: Historical Contrast and the Prestige of English Studies(Stanford University Press, 2013), and The Work of the Sun: Literature, Science and Political Economy 1760-1860 (New York: Palgrave, 2005). Website: https://tedunderwood.com/
This event is ACS- approved and is sponsored by Villanova University’s Falvey Memorial Library.
If you are interested in learning more about Falvey Memorial Library’s spring events line-up, please see our events page for an up-to-date listing: https://library.villanova.edu/events