Resolving the Polynymy of Place: or, how to create a gazetteer of colonized landscapes

Katherine Faull, Bucknell University, Diane Jakacki, Bucknell University

Paper delivered at DH 2018 Mexico City June 27-30, 2018

ABSTRACT

This paper will explore the problem of creating a gazetteer of colonized landscapes, specifically those of the mid-Atlantic in the 18th century, in which the name of a place (toponym) changes depending on the person or political entity who is describing that place. In colonized landscapes, there can be multiple names for one place. Maps of this period are veritable palimpsests of conquests and defeats; and travel diaries, mission records and letters contain accounts of human experience of places that are multiply identified. The task is made more complicated still when one factors time into the equation: when competing spatial identities persist across generations.

The paper proposes a two-phased approach to developing the Moravian Lives gazetteer, which will expand geographically to places beyond North America and will need to resolve polynymic complexities in Central Europe, the Arctic areas of Greenland and Newfoundland, the Caribbean, South Africa and Australia.

This paper is published at http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6BG2H91J.    All rights reserved.

Resolving the Polynymy of Place: or, How to create a gazetteer of colonized landscapes

Katherine Faull, Bucknell University, Diane Jakacki, Bucknell University
Slide 2. Introduction 

This paper explores the problem of creating a gazetteer of colonized landscapes, specifically those of the North American mid-Atlantic in the 18th century, where the name of a place (toponym) changes depending on the person or political entity who is describing that place. Maps of this period are veritable palimpsests of conquests and defeats.

Slide 3 Mattheus Hehl’s Itinerant Preachers Map

They also are the result of travel diaries, mission records and letters that contain accounts of human experience of places. The task of compiling a historical gazetteer is made more complicated still when one factors time into the equation: that is when competing spatial identities persist across generations.

Slide 4 Naming Mountains

Here a detail of the previous map where the mountains are renamed as they are crossed by German Moravian missionaries.

Slide 5 Moravian Lives Gazetteer 

Using the case study of the research project “Moravian Lives” we ask how we can create a gazetteer of places using authority IDs, when that very authority is itself the product of a political-historical struggle. Facing the problem of polynymy (multiple placenames for one location) how can we satisfactorily reflect the multiple perspectives and presence or absence of agency of those who name place? If one of our objectives is to make our gazetteer ready for linking with other projects, can we use this approach to create a system of “triples” that will align our place names more effectively.

We argue that the addition of a variable that allows for the designation of agency helps to resolve that problem.

The construction of an historical gazetteer for Moravian Lives involves complexities that arise from not only the naming of places but also how their spatial identities reflect respective, concurrent relationships to those places by Native American peoples, Moravian missionaries, and colonial representatives. There are multiple names for a single place as well as multiple understandings of place names, and these differences depend on who it was who did the naming.

  • How can we recognize spatial multivalence (or “polynymy”) in the Moravian Lives gazetteer?
  • How does the scholar act responsibly while acknowledging their own potential complicity in political-historical renegotiations and multiple cultural understandings of place?
  • Must we not push back at the idea of *an* authority, and work toward a system that recognizes and synchronizes multiple authorities?

Slide 6) Moravian Lives Database 

This is the current state of the personography and gazetteer–the metadata of the 60,000 records are in an intraoperable database but not interoperable LOD system, either with the person and place entities in the transcribed memoirs or with a digital cultural heritage infrastructure.

Slide 7 Setting scoped by Period and Place 

In examining models for the creation of digital historical gazetteers we have found the one proposed by Grossner, Janowicz and Kessler to be particularly helpful. In order to prepare a gazetteer for broad data linkage, they adapted Peter Bols’ list of requirements for digital gazetteers to consider the complexities of place over time. They employ the term “Place” in a contextual sense, where geographic space provides the location for events as well as artefacts and Earth features. They then use the term “Period” as related to time spans – “containers”, as they explain, for discrete “events or an interval of time.” Grossner and his co-authors then apply the concept of “geosetting” proffered by Michael Worboys and Kathleen Hornsby to account for the complexities of the spatial-temporal.

As shown in their diagram we can, therefore, see the subject/predicate/object structure in which Setting is scoped by both Period and Place where each has a specific type and name. Setting, therefore, provides Temporal and Spatial Scope, supporting a framework for W3C OWL Time and Geospatial ontologies.

While this historical expansion is incredibly useful for distinguishing place names that change over time, it also reifies placename authority in a linear geographical narrative predicated on socio-political understandings of possession. For example, 17th-century Eurocentric names for the areas that would ultimately comprise Pennsylvania were connected to land claims and treaties among Dutch and English powers, all of which had beginning and end dates, and were defined by particular geometries. The “Setting” model as set forward here does not take into account the complexities of socio-cultural understandings and namings of place – often in concurrent and sometimes competing timespans.

Slide 8 Case Studies 

Slide 9 Shippen’s Shamokin 

An example of this challenge is the town of Shamokin in 18th-century Pennsylvania. From the end of the 17th century to the mid-18th century, Shamokin was known as the capital of the Woodland Indians.  Lying at the confluence of the two branches of the Susquehanna River, intersected by over 11 major paths used by American Indians, it marked the southern limit of Iroquoia and was considered by both the Iroquois and the colonial powers to be a location of great strategic significance.

Slide 10 John Smith’s Quadroque

Before the Iroquois Shamokin, this place was the probable site of “Quadroque,” one of the Susquehannock forts marked on Captain John Smith’s 1612 map of his journeys around the Chesapeake.

Slide 11 Shippen detail

Shamokin encompassed the shores of both branches and an island at the river’s fork for Shikellamy, the Oneida emissary of the Six Nations of the Iroquois or Haudenosaunee, who oversaw the Algonquin-speaking nations of the Lenni Lenape, Shawnee, and Mahican in Iroquoia (present-day Pennsylvania and New York), and who lived in the town in the 1740s.

Slide 12 Heiden Collegia

To Nikolaus von Zinzendorf, the founder of the Moravian Church who visited Shikellamy in 1742, “Shamokin” represented an opportunity to proselytize Christianity to the Iroquois. Shamokin had already loomed large in Zinzendorf’s mind as he planned his  “Heiden-Collegia” in Pennsylvania and New York.

Slide 13 Plan of the Western Front

To Conrad Weiser, Palatinate German settler and negotiator between the colonial government in Philadelphia and the Indian nations, “Shamokin” represented a strategic and ultimately military outpost that would become the site of Fort Augusta during the French and Indian War. These “Shamokins” co-existed, with Native American, Moravian, and Colonial inhabitants and visitors relating to it in discrete yet overlapping ways.

A further complication is the existence of present-day Shamokin, founded in the late 18th century, which lies 18 miles to the east of the historic town.

Slide 14 Modification of Grossner’s model 

This is a simplified diagram of “setting” defined by Period and Place

Slide 15 Adding Agent 

Drawing on the recent work of scholars of new gazetteers (Berman et al 2016), we propose a modification of Grossner et al’s model through the inclusion of consideration of the “agent” of an event that occurs within a particular setting (defined by temporal and spatial scope). By including an agent within this model we thus can deepen the “geosemantic” approach to place that recognizes that a place may be the setting for many events of significance, that significance being dependent on the view of the naming agent. Following Doreen Massey’s dictum that “place is the meeting up of histories in space” (Massey 2005) the inclusion of agent, whether a person or an organization, foregrounds the historical aspect of geo-spatial mapping without imposing a hierarchy on the naming authority of that place. Thus, the colonial practice of renaming “unfamiliar” places with familiar names (Paul Carter, “The Road to Botany Bay” and Faull, “Smooth Rocks in a River Archipelago”) can be recorded and presented as a polynymic practice without granting that colonial name primacy.  Pulling on a more metonymic naming practice, the addition of “agent” facilitates the mediation between historical discourse and the spatial world. We reject the suggestion that a historical gazetteer should create a hierarchy of definitions of place, from the mainstream to the marginal (Shaw, 2016) but rather we propose that addition of agent as an entity will allow for the aggregation of naming practices in a metonymic string.

Slide 16 Shamokin Determined as Authority Name 

Shamokin offers us an excellent example of how we can benefit from the modification of “agent” in the Setting model. As demonstrated above, there is no one “Shamokin” in the contact period; however, there are multiple names for the place(s) that constituted the geographical area during that timespan – all connected to people or groups of people who lived in or associated with the space, often at the same or in overlapping periods of time. As we develop the gazetteer we are trying to resist the temptation of claiming a naming authority for ourselves that is, resolving to one authority name that we have determined for digital expediency’s sake. Just as we are conscious of the need to recognize different cultural heritage claims to place names, we are concerned about reifying “variants” or in some way deprecating or subordinating others to one name.

In this case, the names we are working with are Shamokin, Fort Augusta, Otzinachson, Sunbury, and Chenastry. Those names are associated with multiple Native American nations, administrative powers and settlers/colonists, and there is no discrete linear temporal distinction between place names (as Grossner’s model asks).  

Slide 17: Adding Metonym

The concept of creating “metonyms” works well within our project. While we create unique identifiers for each place name within the Moravian Lives taxonomy we can extend our TEI schema to include an attribute of @metonym under the @naming class. Therefore, we can connect these place names so that:

Shamokin is a metonym of Fort Augusta is a metonym of Otzinachson is a metonym of Sunbury, etc.

Slide 18: Considering Existing Unique IDs 

As we create the Moravian Lives entities, we negotiate the difference between place names that need to be “minted” and those that have already been assigned a VIAF, Wikidata, or Geonames ID. So far we have not found such IDs for Otzinachson or Chenastry, so we can establish a Moravian Lives ID and make them unique identifiers on the web (via Wikidata, etc.) Because Fort Augusta already has a Wikidata ID of Q5470761 we can associate our Moravian Lives Fort Augusta with that Fort Augusta via “sameAs”. If we do the same with Sunbury, it has a Geonames ID of 5214814. However, in the Geonames entry Sunbury has an alternative name of “Shamokin” – but without citation or date-range indicator. For the historical and cultural studies scholar, it is inaccurate, misleading, and in some ways, irresponsible then to equate Sunbury with or consider Shamokin to be its variant.  As digital humanities projects move into a phase where historical place data is linked, we want to find ways to resist the givenness of authority names; we believe that the metonymic chain of place names need not be fully recognized but is available to all people.

Slide 19: Polynymous Shamokin 

Once we have established the idea of metonymy, we can return to the idea of “agent” and how it is through these eighteenth-century agents that we can effectively integrate the gazetteer within the larger Moravian Lives project and then more broadly to other DH projects. As outlined above, our agents are individuals and groups of people.

Mme Montour and Colonial/metis traders ~ Chenastry

Shikellamy and Iroquois nation, Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians ~ Shamokin

Conrad Weiser ~ Otzinachson

British Colonial powers ~ Fort Augusta

Northumberland County administrators ~ Sunbury

As we create our Moravian Lives entities and relationships, therefore, we need to be explicit about establishing links between the Moravian Lives gazetteer places and persons and organizations. So we create a bi-directional link between ML Shamokin and Shikellamy, Zinzendorf, Moravians, and Iroquois; Fort Augusta and John Sullivan, etc.

Slide 20 Conclusion

We recognize that this is just a beginning and we eagerly look forward to further conversation.

Slide 21 Bibliography

Original slide show viewable at http://bit.ly/2yUIEzc

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Translating the Holocaust: The Ethics of Memoir

Paper delivered at the conference, “Holocaust Writing and Translation” Institute of Advanced Study, University of London, Feb. 2011.

In his provocative 1998 study of the theory and practice of translation, critic Lawrence Venuti makes the following claim for the power of translated texts to disrupt the target culture’s literary and ideological hegemony.  Although “foreign literatures tend to be dehistoricized by the selection of texts for translation, removed from their foreign literary traditions where they draw their significance”(Venuti 1998, 67), translation, he asserts, “simultaneously constructs a domestic subject” (Venuti 1998, 68) who can be transgressive or conservative.  Translation possesses for him “an identity-forming power” that can change canons and concepts of self-identity by forming new domestic subjects through “a process of “mirroring” or self-recognition: the foreign becomes intelligible when the reader recognizes himself or herself in the translation by identifying the domestic values that motivated the selection of that particular foreign text and that are inscribed in it through a particular discursive strategy.” (Venuti 1998, p. 77)  In other words, translated texts, although removed from their historical context in the source culture, retain a transformative power in the target culture because that which was seen to be relevant to the target culture is identified by the new audience.

Venuti takes as case studies two canon-changing translation trends in Classical and Japanese literature.  However, I would like to test this claim on perhaps the far thornier literary and historical phenomenon of Holocaust memoir.  To what extent could Venuti’s insight help us to understand the complexities of reception of the translated text of personal testimony in Holocaust literature.  To what extent does a target culture recognize itself in the translation of the text of witness?  To aid me in this inquiry, I will draw on the work of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, in a brief examination of Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, and the publication history of Ruth Klüger’s weiter leben (1992) and its English version Still Alive (2001).

Recent critical studies of Holocaust memoir have made, what is euphemistically known, as the “linguistic turn”, using either speech act theory, or recent trends in linguistic pragmatics to examine the implicit and explicit assumptions about the truth-value of the utterance of witness and testimony in Holocaust memoirs.  Such an approach can be found in Ruth Franklin’s A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, newly issued from Oxford University Press, in which she bravely points out that even “the canonical work of Holocaust literature, involves some greying of the line between fiction and reality.” (p. 11)  Alan Rosen in his Sounds of Defiance: The Holocaust, Multilingualism and the Problem of English (Nebraska UP, 2005) problematizes the use of English, both within the camps and in immediate post-war texts of testimony as well as in the proliferation of Holocaust memoirs now written with English as their first language.   Piotr Kuhiwczak’s “The Grammar of Survival.  How do we Read Holocaust Testimonies” (in Translating and Interpreting Conflict, (2007) pp. 61-73 examines the fascinating phenomenon of using how English, with its status of non-Native language, can access memories of trauma that remain inexpressible in native tongues. (P. 67)  All these studies problematize the use of English in critical literature on the Holocaust as well as, for Rosen, examine the potential liberatory value of English in the camps.  However, as Franklin’s title would suggest, what is also at stake here is the question of authenticity; the authenticity of the speaking and writing “I” in testimony, the authenticity of the memoir (most famously disproven in the scandalous case of Wolfgang Koeppen’s “ghost-writing” of Jakob Littner’s first-person account “Journey through the Night”) and the examination of the power of, what critic Philippe Lejeune has famously termed the “autobiographical pact.”  This pact, he has theorized, is the necessary agreement between reader and author that the grammatical, speaking “I” of the autobiographical text is the same as the experiencing “I” who is the principal character of the memoir.  This equation constitutes the classical autobiography.  There are variations: where the speaking “I” is not the experiencing “I” and the text, therefore, becomes a “biography in the 1st person;” in other words, a homodiegetic narrative of witness, approaching what Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben  posits in his examination of the impossibility of writing the testimony of the “Muselmann” in his brilliant study of the ethics of witness and the Holocaust Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive (Zone, 1999).  Or, the writing grammatical subject can be referred in the second person but still be identical with the writing subject, in which case we have an autobiography in the second person, such as we find in Christa Wolf’s Kindheitsmuster.  The choice of grammatical speaking and witnessing subject is crucial to the testimonial nature of Holocaust memoir.  Given that many critics, from Adorno to George Steiner, consider Holocaust testimony to reside outside the realm of aestheticization or fictionalization, we arrive at a demand for a kind of “radical authenticity” in Holocaust memoir that, as Agamben argues, carries the impossible and tautological burden of bearing witness to the gas chambers, an experience that one cannot survive.  For Agamben, “ the value of testimony lies essentially in what it lacks; at its center, it contains something that cannot be borne witness to and that discharges the survivors of authority.” (Agamben, 1999, p. 33)  If then, one cannot bear witness to an event, such as being inside a gas chamber and survive it to write of it, the meaning of testimony has to be sought elsewhere. For Agamben, that meaning is to be found in the ethical decision to write of the (untranslatable) Muselmann, the state of simultaneous being human and non-human.

Let us return momentarily to Venuti’s claim with which I began this paper, namely that the potential for cultural disruption that the translated text possesses lies in its ability to “enable a process of self-recognition”.  Now, Venuti here is arguing for a model of [re]cognition that stems from the German Romantics and has been most thoroughly examined in terms of translation studies by Antoine Berman in his work, L’épreuve de l’étranger: Culture et traduction dans l’Allemagne romantique. [Paris: Gallimard, 1984] .  Berman identifies in his work the twelve deforming tendencies of translation

  • Rationalisation,
  • Clarification,
  • Expansion,
  • Ennoblement,
  • Qualitative impoverishment,
  • Quantitative impoverishment,
  • the destruction of rhythms,
  • the destruction of underlying networks of signification,
  • the destruction of linguistic patternings,
  • the destruction of vernacular network or their exoticisation,
  • the destruction of expressions and idioms,
  • the effacement of the superimposition of languages

Of these tendencies, the ones that might prove to be of most conceptual use to the study of Holocaust memoir and translation are the “destruction of underlying networks of signification” and those deforming tendencies that deal directly with the inter-lingual translation as also an inter-semiotic one.  For example, what would be the linguistic patternings of the source text, the vernacular network, expressions, idioms, the multi-layering of language in Holocaust memoir?  In Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, the author makes frequent reference to the “Babel” of the carbide tower of the Buna works, built with its “Ziegel, briques, tegula, cegli, kamenny, mattoni, téglak”, (p. 73) the ziggurat of linguistic brickwork preserved in Stuart Wolf’s translation.  German in the camps is a language of survival, English the language of potential liberation, signified by the grinning English POWs in their fur-lined jackets, clandestinely giving the extra-linguistic Victory sign as they pass the lines of slave workers.

But what must also evade deformation in translation is the untranslatable, the sign that cannot be deciphered, to which no equivalent may be found in any target language:  the Muselmann.  Again, avoiding the deformation of the loss of vernacular networks, Stuart Woolf lists the labels one could assume within the camp system, the “Organisator, Kombinator, Prominent” and if one cannot become one of these, one soon “becomes a musselman” (p. 89)  Strangely, Woolf decides to attempt a translation of Muselmann and produces a deformed term—“musselman”, what is this, a collector of mussels? Not even using the lexical equivalent of the German term “Muselmann”=muslim, Woolf produces a neologism, perhaps to exoticize, to alienate, to make the reader stumble over the term.  But, I would argue this is not satisfactory, which also seems to be Woolf’s judgment as he switches on the following page between his newly coined and deformed term and the German original.

The “Muselmann” provokes much discussion in both Holocaust literature and criticism.  For Agamben, Levi’s account embodies the paradox of witnessing the “Muselmann” in that the ethical moment of Holocaust memoir comes in self-recognition of the witness in the human/non-human whose gaze has now become milky, whose skin has developed sores and whose body displays the edema of severe malnutrition: that gaze of self-recognition that produces the guilt of the survivor and the exhortation to witness.  The subversive tendency of translation in this perversely Lacanian mirror-moment would then consist of a disruption of the radical anti-semitism of the Nazis that pro- and re-duces the human to the non-human, that translates the Jew into the “Muslim”, the “Muselmann.”[1]  What is left, as an act of permanent restitution, in the sense of Steiner’s fourth hermeneutic motion, would then be to give the “drowned their story” to quote Primo Levi.  The untranslatable “Muselmänner” of Auschwitz, etymology better left unknown, present themselves as “the anonymous mass, continually renewed and always identical, of non-men who march and labour in silence, the divine spark dead within them, already too empty to really suffer.  One hesitates to call them living: one hesitates to call their death death, in the face of which they have no fear, as they are too tired to understand.” (Primo Levy, Survival in Auschwitz, p. 90)

The ethical question that Agamben poses, and on a much wider cultural plateau that Venuti echoes, is how to bear testimony to “this inhuman impossibility of seeing.”  (Agamben, p. 54) Is then what is recognized as the “tohu-bohu” of preconscious existence?  The chaos of the existent world before God moved upon the waters?  That state of non-being of which each of us is capable, that is beyond the ethical, the moral, the conscious? And what does that then make of the witness? Not only one who recognizes that this state is present in the other and the self, but also that the presence of this state radically disrupts the moral fabric of those who survive, of the world that continues on after the “non-death” of the Muselmann.

How, then, does the survivor “weiter leben”?

In 1992, Ruth Klüger published her Holocaust memoir, weiter leben.  Wildly successful in Germany, selling over 250,000 copies and on the bestseller lists, the book actively engaged the German reader in an interrogation of the Nazi past.  Immediately translated into Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese, the book did not appear in English until 2001, after the death of Klüger’s mother.  However, as Caroline Schaumann has pointed out, Klüger’s English Holocaust memoir was an act less of textual self-translation than a substantive cultural translation.[2] Schaumann has already painstakingly traced many of the linguistic and stylistic changes from the German version to the English and has linked the changes to specific events in the ensuing years after the appearance of the German volume.  For example, Klüger’s mother dies, new facts arise as to the actual end of Klüger’s father (in fact from a reader of the German version), Klüger writes the English version in America and not in Germany.  There are multiple places within the work where Klüger performs deformations à la Berman of either expansion or clarification, whether dealing with German terms, Jewish, or allusions to American parallels.   Schaumann examines the comments made by the author that are specifically targeting her audience, either in Germany or in the US and comes to the conclusion that Klüger’s text is “the first Holocaust testimony devised as a specific dialogue with a culturally specific readership.” (p. 336)  Putting the question of primacy aside, I would like to focus on one culturally specific change to the Holocaust memoir that caused Klüger to rewrite the whole work as an English memoir and not as a translation of a German memoir, bearing in mind Venuti’s claims for translation’s potential to form cultural identities.

Klüger was also in Auschwitz.  The argot of the camp produced, from nowhere, the term “Muselmann” as referenced above in Levy’s work.  In the German text of her memoir, Klüger writes of the importance of not giving up hope in order that one did not become like the Muselmann:

Es gibt eben außer der Hoffnungslosigkeit, die Mut macht und die Borowski über die  Hoffnung stellte, noch die apathische Hoffnungslosigkeit, verkörpert in dem Phänomen “Muselmänner”, Menschen, denen der Selbsterhaltungswille im KZ abhanden gekommen war, und die nun wie Automaten reagierten, fast autistisch.  Sie galten als verloren, kein Muselmann könne lang überleben, versichterte man mir.  (weiter leben, p. 106)

Echoing Primo Levy, Klüger defines the Muselmann as the non-living, the autistic, non-communicative existent, soon to be memorialized in her “aalglatte[r] Kindervers” Der Kamin, which follows, transcribed from memory as the poet had in Auschwitz, of course, neither paper nor pencil.

In the English version, as though suddenly faced with the ontological paradox of translating the phenomenon of the Muselmann, Klüger omits the remembered children’s verse, and writes the following:

Maybe there are two types of despair, the kind that enables you to take risks, as Borowski thought, and which he held in higher esteem than hope, and then the kind of despair that makes you listless, sluggish, impassive.  There was a type of prisoner who had given up, whose will to live had been destroyed, who acted and reacted as if sleepwalking.  I don’t know the source of the moniker Muselmänner, Muslims, which was used to describe them, but no racial slur was implied, since Islam wasn’t an issue either for the Nazis or for the inmates of the camp.  The Muselmänner were walking deadmen who wouldn’t live long, I was told. (Still Alive, p. 90)

Bearing in mind her politically sensitive American audience, Klüger removes the reference to autism, and performs a quantitive and qualitative deformation by substituting “listless, sluggish, impassive”  (hardly a PC way out for the readers who knew the German as well as the English!).  Faced with the “épreuve” of translation, of the foreign, Klüger (like other prisoners in Auschwitz) denies knowledge of the source of the term “Muselmann,” at the same time as she assures us of its non-racist intentions, removing from its conceptual grid the very irony commented on by others (Mansoor et al).  Klüger’s  American version has been deformed, with the destruction of the underlying networks of signification, of the vernacular network of the KZ and its idioms.  Schumann has identified the places in the American text where Klüger has drawn sometimes uncomfortable parallels between the experience of anti-Semitism and American racism, places that she, Schaumann elevates to the status of a direct interrogation of the target audience.  I would disagree.  To return to Venuti: the phenomenon of racial discrimination may well be that which the target audience (of which Klüger herself has become one, as an American not German author) sees reflected in the translated text and recognizes as the reason the text speaks to them.  But, the ethical moment of translation, is to endure the “épreuve” of the foreign, the gaze of the slave worker, the non-death of the Muselmann.

[1] See Parvez Manzoor “Turning Jews into Muslims: The Untold Saga of the Muselmänner” Islam21 (April 2001) pp. 8-12.  Accessed on 2/5/11 at http://www.algonet.se/~pmanzoor/Muselmann.htm

[2] Caroline Schaumann, “From weiter leben (1992) to Still Alive (2001):  Ruth Klüger’s Cultural Translation of her “German Book” for an American Audience” in German Quarterly 77 (Summer 2004), pp. 324-339.

“Teaching, Learning, Doing DH in a Comparative Context: Promoting Critical Thinking in the Liberal Arts”

Delivered at the 2016 ACLA Harvard University March 18, 2016

What does it mean to do Digital Humanities in an undergraduate context?  How do we promote critical and comparative thinking at the same time as cultivating “digital habits of mind?”

In  Bucknell University’s interdisciplinary Comparative Humanities Program, Digital Humanities has become the fulcrum of a new critical hermeneutic that invites students in Computer Science to think as Humanists and students in the humanities to learn the processive discipline of Computer Science. Starting with seminars on the concept of DH itself, and the challenges that it might pose to critical theory and the canon, this program has developed a set of undergraduate courses that takes students from the discovery and representation of an archival artifact to the creation of sophisticated data visualizations of multi-variant datasets.

Intrinsic to these pedagogical inquiries are the “multiple lenses” of DH, as Tanya Clement has described them. Moving between the positivism of data curation and the critique of interpretation, students learn that representation is also a knowledge generator; that epistemological systems beget representational systems in the digital world as well as the analog (Drucker 2014). As such, student DH-ers become critical learners, questioners and creators.

Within the field of Digital Humanities (and for this paper I am going to posit that there is a field–itself a significant question) there still rages the vibrant debate whether one must code to be a true DH practitioner. Within the undergraduate environment, this is especially complex, as curricula within colleges (such as across Engineering and Arts Sciences) are not normally constructed to allow for coding humanists or humanistic coders.  However, I would argue, following Alan Liu, that a Liberal Arts environment provides exactly the location where we can investigate “The Meaning of DH” (Liu 2014).  In thinking about DH as a hermeneutic act, teachers and students alike become both “builders and interpreters” where the goal of undergraduate DH is guided by a pedagogic hermeneutic of “practice, discovery, community.”  Indeed, within the Liberal Arts context we are encouraged to practice what I and others call “research-based learning” in which we faculty scholars invite student-scholars to collaborate in a classroom setting on our own research.

Founded in 2001, the Comparative Humanities Program at Bucknell seeks to engage the undergraduate student in a sophisticated and complex examination of the breadth of the humanistic disciplines.  Not limiting itself to the study of literature, the program incorporates the study of philosophy, history, religion, political science, echoing Giles Gunn’s 20-year old critique of the limits of comparative literature. As he says,

“Literature and  . . . ” does not capture the emergence of new subjects and topics such as history of the book, materialism of the body, psychoanalysis of the reader, sociology of conventions, ideologies of gender, race, and class as well as intertextuality, power, and the status of “others.” (Gunn 1992, 248-9)

With its own dedicated core courses that follow what might seem to be a “Great Books” trajectory, the program also incorporates theoretical and methodological seminars in concepts of comparativity across media, genres, and national literatures.   It also regularly cross lists courses from departments across the humanities at the 200 and 300-level. Upper level seminars in, for example, The History of Sexuality, are cross listed three or even four ways, causing the Registrar many headaches.

Criteria for cross-listing are based in the adoption of 2 or more of our learning goals that foreground concepts of comparativity, linguistic competency, and written and oral communication.  In order to distinguish ourselves from courses in English literary studies, for example, or Philosophy, comparativity is crucial.  Assessing student outcomes is also key to the evaluation of educational achievement and can prove a difficult task.

In her long engagement with the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity, Julie Thompson Klein has provided the academy with a useful vocabulary with which such assessment can work.  Distinguishing between multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity, in her recent volume Interdisciplining DH: Boundary Work in an Emerging Field (2015) Klein firmly situates DH (and I would argue CH) within what she terms the baseline vocabulary of interdisciplinarity.  Privileging integration over juxtaposition or (a kind of Hegelian) synthesis (although the latter are not excluded) the ground of interdisciplinary comparison becomes for Klein method, data, tools, and concepts.

Within this curricular environment, the Program in Comparative Humanities in collaboration with colleagues in other humanities departments has designed a minor in Digital Humanities that includes the following curricular components:

  • course offerings that explicitly involve Digital Humanities (and/or Digital Media) modes and methods as applied to critical humanistic inquiry
  • interdisciplinary/cross-disciplinary courses that bring the “digital” to and from other disciplines
  • Independent study and/or faculty-student research project electives that involve digital literacies and the development of applicable skill sets
  • a portfolio that demonstrates mastery of digital approaches to humanities subjects through a set of artifacts

This minor is interdisciplinary in nature, spanning humanities departments and programs and including faculty from non-humanities programs and departments and Engineering as appropriate.  As my colleague and co-author Diane Jakacki and I have written elsewhere, one of the distinguishing features of a Digital Humanities course is the foregrounding of critique.  Unlike other more CS-based classes, students in DH classes are required to reflect on the process they have undertaken in developing their projects to be able to place their praxis within the broader scholarly discourse of DH.  Therefore, we argue, carefully selected readings are directly linked to development of each of the student’s competencies and embedded within the class schedule. Teaching students to use these digital platforms requires the conscious placement of the course within a curricular context; in our case, within the context  of the program in Comparative Humanities.

The learning goals of the minor (a requirement to be included in the minor is the adoption of at least two of these) foreground the concepts of interdisciplinarity and critique.  Requiring students to learn, practice and critically evaluate the methodologies, conventions, and social contexts of DH, the minor attracts students from STEM and other humanities fields.  And, in order to integrate and not merely juxtapose, in these courses, DH cannot be viewed as “just a tool, just a repository, just a pedagogy (Klein, 2015).  But rather, as Willard McCarty (2005) has argued in his work, we seek to avoid the relegation of DH and its practitioners (especially colleagues in so-called alt/ac positions) to the rank of “mere assistants or delivery boys to scholarship”.  Rather, as learning goal #3 clearly states, the collaborative nature of work in DH must be understood as a part of the heuristic.  DH is a “habit of mind”, a hermeneutic, in which new knowledge, both instrumental and foundational, is created.

A useful way to think about and do DH with undergraduate students is as a new language.  As Jason Rhody, of the National Endowment for Humanities Office of Digital Humanities, has stated, for him DH is a kind of “Boolean operator,” creating a lexicon and syntax for work in multiple disciplines.

This is a helpful concept in the execution and evaluation of student and faculty work in Comparative and Digital Humanities, not least because we also offer a minor in Translation Studies, that has as its basis a firm grasp of linguistics and also translation theory, history and praxis as well as high competency in a second language.  Dynamic intersectionality between Translation Studies, Digital Humanities and Comparative Humanities produces an innovative and exciting curricular and intellectual environment for faculty and students.

Students in the Translation Studies minor engage in an examination of translation from multiple perspectives that provide them with an educational pathway toward the acquisition of general and specific knowledge about the field of Translation Studies, its history, evolution and theories. Further, they are be trained in the practice of critical thinking about language use and translation; and broaden and deepen their understanding of translation as it relates to power relations, politics, ethics, cultural issues, gender, post-colonialism, etc. Additionally, the minor in Translation Studies provides students with an opportunity to acquire important skills in their respective target language(s); skills such as conducting research in preparation for translation, sound writing skills in one’s source language, learning proper analytical processes and appropriate use of current technological resources in the field. As such, the intellectual glue of Comparative Humanities, DH and Translation Studies could well be understood as Roman Jakobson’s notion of intermedial/intersemiotic translation.

Screenshot 2016-03-19 19.08.11Bringing together DH and Translation Studies has produced some groundbreaking work, such as this on-going project in the history of translation.  Tong Tong ‘17 has created a database of all the translations in the Chinese language journal “World Literature” for the 1980s.  From this meticulously scraped data, Tong is able to pursue her research into the transmission of non-Chinese literature into Chinese in the 1980s.

So, how do these programs provide a curricular environment in which the process of practice and discovery is the norm (to quote Alan Liu)?  How do we produce meaning in DH? As Liu has argued

“In both their promise and their threat, the digital humanities serve as a shadow play for a future form of the humanities that wishes to include what contemporary society values about the digital without losing its soul to other domains of knowledge work that have gone digital to stake their claim to that society.” (Liu 2013)

But how is this possible? How do we get from numbers to meaning? The objects being tracked, the evidence collected, the ways they’re analyzed—all of these are quantitative. And, as Willard McCarty has argued, models give meaning (Willard McCarty and Lima).

In an attempt to answer this question, in my course in Data Visualization, I integrate the principles of design into the practice of data visualization. Using Edward Tufte’s work as a basis, and Manuel Lima’s recent research in the field, students are required to produce visualizations that exemplify the insight that they can be either representations or knowledge generators in which the spatialization or arrangement of elements is meaningful.

In her recent work, Graphesis, Drucker encourages us when reading a visualization to use language carefully, employing terms such as “juxtapose”, “hierarchy”, “proximity”. From their work in the core courses in CH, students can verify Drucker’s claim that visualization exploded onto the intellectual scene at the edge of the late Renaissance and beginning of the early Enlightenment, when engraving technologies were able to produce epistemologically stunning diagrams that both described and also produced knowledge. The advent of digital modes to manipulate and produce data means that we can, for example, all produce timelines without giving a thought to the revolution in the conceptualization of time and history that Joseph Priestley occasioned. So, as students work with Timeline JS, Drucker cautions us to become aware of the visual force of such digital generations. “The challenge is to break the literalism of representational strategies and engage with innovations in interpretive and inferential modes that augment human cognition.” (p. 71)

How do we do this? Drucker argues for us to recognize three basic principles of visualization, both as producers and as interpreters: a) the rationalization of a surface; b) the distinction of figure and ground; c) the delimitation of the domain of visual elements so that they function as a relational system. A graphical scheme through which we relate to the phenomenal world structures our experience of it (p. 74).

Screenshot 2016-03-19 19.06.07

In visualizations of the Bucknell curriculum, Comparative Humanities major, Erin Frey and a Computer Science Engineering major, Nadeem Nasimi take as their starting point a student’s experience of the Bucknell curriculum. The student designers drew data from our Banner system, that connected courses in departments and programs with the General Curriculum requirements.  This database was then visualised as a complex network (on the right using a force directed graph).  In an effort to represent the data on a macro, meso, and micro scale, Erin not satisfied with computer generated GUI’s drew the model on the left inspired by Boris Muller’s visualization “Poetry on the Road.” In so doing Erin followed closely Tufte’s principles of display architecture and describes how this visualization  “(1) documents the sources and characteristics of the data,” through its shape; how it “(2) insistently enforces appropriate comparisons,” made possible through the variable node sizing; “(3) demonstrates mechanisms of cause and effect,” by the simple organization of data into the democratic, circular structure; “(4) expresses those mechanisms quantitatively,”  by sizing and connecting each node based on quantitative data from the course catalog; “(5) recognizes the inherently multivariate nature of analytic problems,” shown through the combination of variables such as node color, size, and location, and different CCC requirements; “and (6) celebrates ambiguity (Tufte 53).” http://datavizfordh.blogs.bucknell.edu/author/emf012/

While the Bucknell Registrar might not make the resulting interactive visualization part of his website, for Erin and Nadeem it created a complex and accurate representation of paths taken and not taken through the Bucknell curriculum.

Meredyk Paxton Map
Steffany Meredyk ’14, Bethany Dunn ’14/Prof. Katherine Faull

Drucker argues that the shape of temporality is a reflection of beliefs and not standard metrics, and asks how we find a graphical means to inscribe the subjective experience of temporality or the spatial.

The mapping of the earth, sky, sea or the measurement of time, that are in themselves complex reifications of schematic knowledge, actually become the way in which we experience that thing. The week is seven days long and the month is 28-31 days long (because of lunar cycles) and thus astronomical tables become the way we structure time. But time isn’t like that; it isn’t linear, especially in the humanities! It contains flashbacks, memories, foreshadowings, relativities (it speeds up when we are nervous, and slows down when we are scared). We impose structures from social and natural sciences onto human experience.

This summer research project by, Steffany Meredyk (History and Geography) and Bethany Dunn intentionally draws on the critical cartography of Margaret Pearce (and Ann Knowles) Steffany and Bethany produced a series of museum quality interpretative panels on the history of the Susquehanna River in the mid-18th century.  Drawing primary evidence from historical accounts, some in archives, some published, the two students wove together a representation of the experience of fear and landscape that invites the viewer in.

Having worked in GIS for almost ten years now, I know that as a software, GIS gives us enormous power to produce knowledge as a generator; through the combinatory power of layers, and base maps, and points, and embedded data tables, GIS is seductive with its “deceptive naturalism of maps and bar charts” generated from spreadsheets that I and my students have spent months creating. It strengthens the fiction of observer-independence; the objectivity of the “bird’s eye view”, and, as Drucker so aptly states, “we rush to suspend critical judgment in visualization.” For me, however, and for the students I have worked with, the question of how to represent ambiguity has consumed us; as has also how to make ambiguity the ground of representation.

Screenshot 2016-03-19 19.12.42
Metadata from “Moravian Women’s Memoirs” Faull 1997

In the extraction of data from humanities sources, we are perhaps seduced into thinking this is a isomorphic representation of experience.  For example, digital mapping may give us the ability to georectify a manuscript map onto a coordinate system, but what does this show us? Maybe how accurate a mapmaker was, or not; it might help us to locate a birthplace with accuracy, but it is ignoring the fact that the manuscript map, drawn perhaps on buckskin, or stone, or vellum is a representation (and a thin one at that) of a traveler’s or observer’s experience that we are translating into a system of coordinates.

Screenshot 2016-03-19 19.16.46

Platforms such as Omeka and Neatline can help to make that quantification more complex, more experiential for the viewer, more of a narrative.  Students learn that way-finding depends upon narratives, travel accounts, diaries; and digital maps produce the illusion of isomorphism, but this illusion is based on an elaborate system of abstract schema and concrete reality.

Screenshot 2016-03-19 19.25.34

This work can take place both inside and outside the classroom.  Principles learned in the classroom can be applied outside.  For example, students are working with me on an international DH project that involves some (pretty) big data and they can contribute to the discussions about data storage, retrieval, and visualization.

Importantly they also understand the necessarily iterative process of the work.  This is the first version of the memoir visualization project with the University of Gothenburg and students  are helping to clean data.

Screenshot 2016-03-19 19.28.40

In conclusion, although students in the humanities and computer science might initially view each other with disciplinary suspicion, through collaborative and integrative work that is modeled through the professor’s research, undergraduates in the liberal arts learn that the subversion of the core logic of digital tools can open up new forms of knowledge.

 

Anna Piesch Seidel

Ich bin gebohren anno 1726 den 12ten January in Berthelsdorff
allwo meine lieben Eltern sich <(>interims Weise<)> aufhielten, bis ihr
neu erbautes Haus in Herrnhuth fertig wurde, denn sie waren
den Herbst vorher erst aus Mähren angekommen.
Wie ich 6 Jahr alt war, verlohr ich meine liebe Mutter, die an
einer hitzigen Kranckheit gar sehr selig u. geschwinde heimging.
Ich hatte 2 Brüder die jünger waren als ich, u. wir wurden eben
alle 3 in das damalige Wäysen-Haus in Hhuth gethan. Unser
lieber Vater war selten zu Hause, weil er beständig mit dem
seligen Papa auf Reisen war. Die Behandlung in dem lieben
Wäysen-Hause war dazumal hart u. schwer. <(>Meine armen
kleinen Brüder grämten sich daß sie beyde die auszehrung krieg-
ten, u. ihrer lieben Mutter bald nach folgten. Ich blieb also
allein übrig, u. habe meine Zeit ab u. zu daselbst zugebracht
bis ich 12 Jahr alt war. Der liebe Heiland war mein Einiger
Trost, an Ihn hielt ich mich, u. Er half mir <gnädig.> durch. Wie ich 11
Jahr alt war 1737 kam ich nebst noch mehreren von meinen Gespie-
linnen ins Stunden-Gebeth, u. war in diesem mir aufgetragenen
Geschäffte so threu, daß ich noch iezt mit Vergnügen dran denke.
den 13ten Septr. dieses Jahres wurde ich in die Kinder-Gemeine auf-
genommen. 1738 im Jan: reiste ich nebst noch unterschiedenen Kin-
dern nach Berlin, allwo der sel. Papa mit seinem Hause schon
verschiedene Wochen vorher war. Wir wurden in Seinem Hause
einlogirt, u. wenn Er seine Reden an die Weibs-Leute hielt, saßen
wir um die Bühne herum worauf er stand, u. sangen gemein-
nigl. die Lieder, die er zum Anfang singen lies.
Im Monat May dieses Jahres, reisten wir Kinder mit Geschw.
Leohards nach Marienborn, u. formirten auch da eine Anstalt, zu
welcher immer Kinder herzu kamen, bis wir endl. zieml. starck wurden. ///Da ich noch nicht 14 Jahr alt war, wurde mir eine zieml. große
Stube voll Kinder anvertraut, deren Vorgesezte ich war, welches
eine eigene Schule vor mich war, u. mich gar sehr zum Heiland trieb
in allen Angelegenheiten.
anno 39 im Oct: ging ich zum erstenmal zum heil: Abendmahl,
zum unvergeßl. Eindruck u. Seegen vor mein armes Herz;
(<)14 Tage darauf wurde ich nebst noch unterschiedenen von meinen Ge- spielinen Confirmirt, oder zur Accoluthie angenommen.(>)
anno 40 zogen wir nach Herrnhaag in das vor die Anstalt er-
baute Haus. anno 41 im Jan: wurde ich Kinder Aeltestin u.
mit Aeltestin der grossen Mädgen, <(>welche Aemter ich in wahrer
Armuth des Geistes etl. Jahre bedient habe.<)> den 13ten Nov: da
das erste Aeltesten-fest in Hhaag gefeyert wurde, war ein ganz
extraordinairer Gnaden- u. Seegens tag, den ich so lang ich lebe
nie vergeßen werde, denn der Hld. that auch aparte Gnade u.
Barmherzigkeit an mir Seinem armen Kinde.
(<)anno 42 da Papa in America waren, hatten die Arbeiter alle Monat ein Pilger Abendmahl in Marienborn, wozu ich auch die Gnade hatte zu kommen, welches mir gar erstaunl. wichtig war, u. mir viel Seegen vor mein Herz austrug.(>)
(<)anno 43 im Apr. kamen Papa, meine liebe Tante u. die liebe Benignel von America zurück, da ging wieder eine ganz neue Gnaden Zeit an, die vor iedes Herz in der Gemeine viel ausgetragen hat.(>) im Juny gings zu einem Gen: Synodum
nach Hirschberg, ich reiste auch dahin, u. wurde bey demselben
am 5ten July zu meiner Gen: Mit Aeltestin ernennt.
<(>Diese hohe Würde in der Gemeine zu bekleiden, kostete
mich unzehl. Thränen,(>) und ich ging klein und Sünderhafft dran.(>)
Die Liebe und wirckl. Zuneigung aller meiner Geschwistern zu
mir armen <(>Ding<)>, beschämte u. beugte mich (<)noch mehr(>).///Nach dem der Synodus vorbey war, reisten wir über Ebersdorff
nach Hhuth u. Schlesien, hatten im Herbst desßelben Jahrs ein
Pilger-Haus in Burau. im Winter war ich im Hhuthschen
Schw. Hause. Da Papa von Liefland zurück kamen 1744
waren in Hhuth selige Mensch-Sohns-Tage, doch war der Auffent-
halt kurz. wir reisten von Hhuth wieder nach Mborn, u. blieben
daselbst bis im Febr. 45 da reisten wir nach Holland, u. hatten
in Amsterdam in Schellingers Haus, ein Pilger-Haus von ein
paar Monaten, alsdann reisten wir wieder zurück nach Mborn
u. ich zog bald drauf ganz nach Hhaag das led. Schw.-Pfleger-
amt zu übernehmen, welches ich bis zu ende Sept: dieses
Jahr besorgte, u. alsdann nach England reiste, nebst meinem
lieben Vater und dem Br: Leonhard<(>, letzterer u. ich hatten den
Auftrag das ganze Werk des Heilands dasselbst zu besorgen,
u. die Arbeiter zusammen zu halten.<)> Dabey hatte ich besonders
den Auftrag ein led. Schw. Chor in London zu sammlen u.
deren Specielle Arbeiterin zu seyn, es sah im Anfang schwierig
aus, aber der Hld lies mirs gelingen, daß ich in kurzer Zeit
ein recht schönes led. Schw. Chor kriegte. Die Sprache lernte ich
auch sehr geschwind, u. war in kurzer Zeit ganz zu Hause.
Im July 46 kamen Papa, Mama u. viele Geschw: nach London
u. wir formirten in Red Lions quare ein schönes Pilger-Haus.
Noch vor Ende des Jahrs gingen Papa pp. wieder zurück nach
Teuschland. anno 47. im Apr: reiste ich zurück nach Hhaag,
wurde am 4ten May vom Papa u. Mamagen zur gen: Aeltisten
aller led. Schw. Chöre eingesegnet. dieselben etl. Monate in
Hhaag werde ich meine lebe tage nicht vergeßen, denn es war
eine ganz aparte selige Zeit. Von da reisten wir nach
Hhuth, u. das Jünger-Haus hielt sich im Berthelsdorfer Schloß///auf. im Nov: reiste ich mit Johannes u. Benignel nach Hhaag
im Herbst 48 reiste ich nach Holland, u. nach einem 2 monatlichen
Auffenthalt in Zeyst mit der sel. Mama über Barby nach
Hhaag zurück, allwo ich den ganzen Winter blieb, u. eine
ernstere schwere Zeit in dem Sichtungs Periodo hatte.
Zu Ende May 1749 reiste ich nach England ins Jünger haus, welches
sich dazu mal im Bloomsburry Square befand. Bald nach meiner An-
kunfft reisten Christel und ich mit Papa und Mamagen nach Yorkshire
u. hielten uns bey nah 2 Monat in dem neuen Gemein Ort in Pudsy
auf, welches bey unserem Da seyn den Namen Grace Hall bekam.
(<)wir legten die Grund-Steine zu den led. Brr- u. Schw. Häusern u. hatten sehr selige u. vergnügte Zeit mit der Gemeine daselbst.(>)
im Aug: kamen wir zurück nach Bloomsburrysquare; u. blieben
da bis anno 50, da wir über Zeyst, Neuwied Mborn u. Hhaag reisten
Hhuth reisten. Von Hhaag emigrirten im Herbst dieses Jahres die
Kinder, (neml. die Mäd:anstalt:) Sie wurden im Hennersdorffschen Schloß
einlogirt, ich kriegte meinen mehresten Auffenthalt bei ihnen, weil
mir die Aufsicht über die ganze Anstalt übertragen worden war
u. es war eine selige Zeit die wir mit den Kindern in diesem
lieben Örtgen hatten. im Merz 51. zog ich mit er Anstalt nach
Hhuth. im Aprill besuchte ich in Schlesien, u. kam zum 4ten May
wieder in Hhuth an, allwo ich verblieb bis im Mitte im Juny, dann
machte ich einen Besuch in Ebersdorff, u. ging von da nach Hhaag
u. Mborn, vertheilte meinen lieben ledgen Schwestern vollends
u. fertigte welche nach Ebersdorff, welche nach Neuwied, und
eine zieml. Anzahl nach Zeyst ab, von da reiste ich über Holland
nach England, allwo ich den 23ten Aug: in Bloomsburry eintraff
u. den Tag drauf kamen auch Papa u. übrige Geschwister des
Jünger-Hauses an. (<)Gegen Winter zogen wir nach West Minster
wir hatten zieml. schwere Zeit. Christel wurde kranck, kriegte im
Febr: 52 das Blut-Speyen, u. darauf eine geschwinde Auszehrung ///u. ging am 28ten May zu unser aller großen Schmerz u. Betrübniß
zum Heiland. ich vor meine Person fühlte aufs empfindlichste was
ich an Ihm verlohr, u. wäre der Hld. nicht mein Trost gewesen
so wäre ich untröstl. über den Verlust geblieben.<)>
Zu anfang Oct: dieses Jahr, reiste ich mit einer Collonne ledger
Schw: nach America; wir gingen mit der Irene, u. kamen am
24ten Novr glückl. u. wohl behalten in Bethlehem an, u. wurden
mit vieler Freude aufgenommen, hatten auch die Gnade noch am
selbigen Abend mit der Gemeine das heilige Abendmahl
zu genießen. im Jan: 53 machte ich eine Besuch in den Stadt
u. Land-Gemeinen. die Indianer Gemeine in Gnaden-Hütten
charmirte mich sehr, u. überhaupt gefiel mir alles sehr wohl
in America. in der Mitte des Febr: reiste ich wieder von Bethle-
hem ab, über Philadelphia nach New York, hatte am 25ten
die Freude mit dasiger Gemeine das heil: Abdm. zu genießen.
ging am 26ten an Bord der Irene, u. am 25ten Merz hatte
ich die Gnade u. Freude das heilige Abendmahl im Jünger
Hause in Westminster mit zu genießen. etliche Tage da-
rauf zogen wir in Linseyhouse ein. im herbst deßelben
Jahrs machte ich einen Besuch in Yorkshire meinen lieben
krancken Vater zu besuchen sehen u. zu sprechen, welcher
auch am 3ten Novr. selig zum Heiland ging. Sein Heimgang
kostete mich viele Thränen, doch ich ihm sein Glück beym
Herrn daheime zu seyn nicht misgönnen.
anno 54 im Jan: reiste ich über Holland nach Hhuth u. Schlesien
zur Visitation der led. Schw. Chöre, u. reiste mit der seligen
Mama im August durch die Niederlande nach England zu-
rück, war im Herbst sehr kränckl., so daß ich schon zieml. von
den Doctores aufgegeben war, u. o, wie gern wäre ich damals///
heimgegangen, aber es gefiel dem Heiland mich wieder gesund
werden zu laßen.
im Febr: 55 ging ein Theil des Jünger-Hauses nach Holland, u.
ein Theil blieb noch in Lindseyhouse, ich reiste mit nach Holland
u. wir hatten unsern Auffenthalt in Zeyst. im May reisten
wir über Neuwied, Mborn, Barby, nach Hhuth, u. das Jünger-
Haus war im Berthelsdorffer Schloß.
anno 57. im Septr. reiste ich mit Papa u. Mamagen pp.. über Barby
u. Mborn nach der Schweiz. Wir kamen am 3ten Oct: in Mont-
mirail an. Besuchten im Nov: Geneve u. Lausanna, u. hatten
selige Zeit mit den Geschwistern allenthalben, im Rückwege
besuchten wir Bern, Arom, Basel, Zürch u. Schaffhaußen
u. reiseten durchs Würtembergerland nach Ebersdorff, wo wir
kurz vor Weyhnachten ankamen. Gleich nach den Feyer-Tagen
reiste ich nach Hhuth u. kam am lezten Dec: glückl. daselbst an.
Im Früh-Jahr 58 war ich wieder sehr kränckl. u. verbrachte meine
meiste Zeit in meinem lieben led. Schw. Hause in Hhuth.
Im August reisten wir nach Holland, u. das Jünger-haus zog
nach Herrndyk, allwo wir den ganzen Winter blieben, u. auch
noch im Jahr 59, bis im Monat Aug, doch waren wir auch
viel in Zeyst
Am Ende Mey reiste ich mit Johannes und seiner
lieben Frau nach England zur Visitation der Gemeinen u.
Chöre, u. kam zu Ende des Jahrs mit ihnen zurück nach
Zeyst. Bald nach dem Neuen Jahr 1760 reisten wir über Barby
nach Hhuth. Als ich da ankam, fand ich mein gutes Mamagen
sehr schwächl. ia in völliger Auszehrung, gab mich also gleich
dazu her sie zu pflegen u. zu warten, u. mich um sonst wenig
zu bekümmern, u. das habe auch treul. gethan u. gehalten.
Es war eine drückende schwere Zeit vor mich, aber der Heiland
der bey allem Brast (?) u. Kummer mir innig nahe war, halff mir ///
mir gnädig durch. Am 9ten May ging unser allerliebster Papa
heim, der wol nie vergeßen werden wird, von allen die ihn ge-
kannt u. die gnade gehabt haben um ihn zu seyn. Das war
ein tief schneidenter Schmerz, u. beförderte auch das gute
Mamagen daß sie ihm am 21ten schon nachfolgte. Nun war
ich ganz verwayst, u. die Betrübniß und Kümmerniß meiner
armen Seele war gross, <(>nicht nur allein um ihre 2 lieben
Personen, sondern auch hauptsächl. darum; weil die Gemeinen
u. Chöre nunmehr ihre Leit-Schaafe verlohren, u. wie es künf-
tig gehen würde.<)>

Nach dem Heimgang dieser 2 lieben Leute,
dachte ich mich nunmehro meinen lieben led. Schw. Chören ganz
zu widmen, u. doppelte Treue u. Fleiß anzuwenden <(>, glaubte
auch daß es iezt nöthiger sey als sonst. Allein der Hld. fügte
es ganz anders u. gab mir ein ganz ander Feld zu bearbeiten.
ich kriegte meinen Plan in America, u. dazu den lieben Bruder
Nathanael angetragen, wir solten dahin gehen das dortige
oeconomat u. die Güther der Unitæt zu übernehmen. dieser
Plan war schon bey Papas Leb Zeiten vor uns bestimmt, u.
so gut als resolvirt, u. ich selbst war auch informirt davon.
Nach America ging ich gern, aber in die Ehe zu treten, das
kostete sehr viel, u. es gab manche bittre Schmerzen bis ich
meinen Willen in des Hlds Sinnen geben konnte, Er halff
mir aber auch darinne durch, u. war mir kräfftig zur Seiten.
Wir wurden am 15ten Juny in einer kleinen lieben Gesellschafft
versprochen. Dieser Vorgang wurde aber den led. Chören nicht bekannt ge-///gemacht, bis zu Ende August. <)> Wir waren 5 Monat versprochen.
Nathanael reiste in der zwischen Zeit mit Johannes nach Barby
u. ich mit Geschw. Marschalls nach Ebersdorff zur Visitation des
led. Schw. Chores. den 16ten Oct.r kam ich wieder in Hhuth an,
u. wir wurden am 30ten von unserem lieben Br. Johannes
zur heiligen Ehe verbunden, unter einem ganz aparten Ge-
fühl von der Gnaden Gegenwart unsers besten Freundes. ich
ging wie schon gemeldet sehr schwer in diesen wichtigen Stand
doch da es des Heilands Wille so war, so bat ich mir auch gleich
zum Eintritt in daßelbe von Ihm zur Gnade aus, daß Er
mich Ihm, wie auch meinem lieben Mann zur Freude u. Ehre
gestalten möge, u. mir Gnade geben nunmehro ein treue
unterthänige Frau zu seyn. ich gab mich Ihm dazu hin
wie ich war, u. fühlte Seinen Frieden u. Sein gnädiges Be-
kenntniß zu uns bey allen Umständen die mit uns vorkammen.
Wir besuchten diesen Winter noch Niesky, u. reiseten am 2ten .
Merz 61. von Hhut über Barby nach Holland ab, waren 6 Wochen
in Zeyst, u. unsere ganze Collonne fand sich nach u. nach zusammen
wir nahmen ein gemiethetes Fahr Zeug, u. fuhren mit selbig
nach England, kamen am 12ten May glückl. in Lindseyhouse
an. Zu Ende May gingen unsre lieber Geschw. die nunmehro
50 Personen ausmachte an Bord der Hope, Br. Jacobsen
Capitain, u. segelten nach Portsmouth. Mein lieber Mann
u. ich, nebst Geschw. Marschalls blieben noch ein paar Wochen
in Ldshouse, weil wir mit Br. Johannes noch viel zu conferiren
hatten. im Juny reiseten wir auch ab, u. gingen zu Lande
bis Portsmouth, u. von da gleich auf unser Schiff. Wir lagen
aber als den noch 7 Wochen vor Anker; u. musten auf die Flotte warten./// Wir machten ein Complietes Gemeinlein auf unserm Schiff aus,
hatten täglich unsre Versammlungen, u. das heil. Abendmahl
zur gesezten Zeit, verbrachten unsere Tage u. Wochen selig.
Br. Johannes besuchte uns auch noch einmal, so auch noch unter-
schiedene andre Brüder von London. Am 4ten Aug. segelten
wir endlich ab, 96 Schiffe in der Flotte, hatten eine passable
gute Reise, brauchten aber doch 10 Wochen bis wir am 18ten
Octr. abends in die Hook vor Anker liefen.
Am 23ten Octr. kamen wir nebst unsern lieben Geschw.
Münsters u. Marschalls in unsrem lieben Bethlehem an.
Die andern Geschw. kamen in den folgenden Tagen auch
alle glückl. an. <(>Die ersten Wochen gabs nichts als Freude
u. Niedlichkeiten, hernach aber gings in die Arbeit nein.
Das erste im Jahr 62 war die Umkehr der gemeinschaftlichen
oeconomie, welches ein schweres Stück Arbeit war, das
meinem guten Mann u. mir manche Schlaflose Nächte
verursachte. Der Hld. stand uns aber auch in diesen Um-
ständen gnädig bey.
Mit meinem lieben led. Schw. Chor allhier stand ich in
wahrer Herz Vertraulichkeit die ersten paar Jahre.
Mein Verheiratet Seyn, stöhrte nichts bey ihnen, noch
bey mir, u. ich wäre herzl. gern in dem Gange mit
ihnen geblieben. Aber die Veränderung Ihrer Arbeiter
machte auch hierinne eine Veränderung die mir gar
sehr schmerzl. Wehe gethan hat, doch habe ich mich mit der
Zeit auch dahinein schicken lernen durch des lieben Hlds
Beystand.<)> In den Stadt u. Land-Gemeinen, haben mein ///lieber Mann u. ich fleissig besucht, u. manche Bewahrung bey
dem vielen Reisen vom lieben Hld. erfahren. Anno 64 waren
wir in Newyork, u. hatten ein Boat genommen nach Staaten
Island über zu fahren, wie wir ans Waßer kamen, steigt
mein lieber Mann gleich hinein, ist aber keine Minute drinne
so tritt er in ein anderes, ich ruffte ihm zu, u. sagte ihm,
daß dieses das Boat sey wo wir drinne wären, mit dem
wir gehen wollen, er aber sagte nein, komm du nur in
dieses, ich will mit diesem gehen, ich folgte ihm stillschwei-
gends nach, wir gingen gleich ab, u. kamen glückl. über
es stand ein starkes Gewitter am Himmel, welches ausbrach
da wir noch eine halbe Meile vom Land waren, aber
wir erreichten das Land ohne Schaden, hingegen das andere
Boat wo wir erst drinne waren, kipte um, u. 7 Menschen
ertrancken bey dieser Gelegenheit. Wir sahen also
recht augenscheinl., wie uns der Hld. bewahrt hatte, daß
Er meinem Mann es so ins Herz gab, aus diesem Boat
raus zu gehen. Der gleichen Exempel könnte ich noch viele anführen,
es mag aber nur bey diesem bleiben.
Anno 69. reiste ich mit meinem lieben Mann zum General
Synodum nach Europa. Wir reiseten von unserem lieben
Bethlehem den letzten Merz ab, u. segelten von Philadelphia
den 17ten Aprill, kamen am 29ten May glückl in London
an, u. reiseten nach ein paar Tage Auffenthalt über
Zeyst u. Neuwied nach Mborn, allwo wir am 28ten
Juny glücklich eintrafen. Ich hatte große Freude viele
von meinen lieben, alten Bekandten wieder zu sehen <(>u. zu ///zu umarmen,. u. das wars auch alles, denn im übrigen
hatte ich kein Freude, sondern lauter Betrübniß, u. habe
viel viel Tränlein da geweint.<)> So bald der Synodus
vorbey war eilten wir zurück, u. kamen am 6ten Octr.
glückl. in London an, u. wären gerne noch dieses Jahr
nach America zurück gegangen, kriegten auch ein Schiff
an welches wir am 11ten Octr. wirkl. gingen, ich war etwa
eine Stunde mit meinem guten Mann an Board deßelben
so musten wir wieder mit Lebens-Gefahr davon weg
eilen, weil er ganz auf die Seite fiel u. auf einer Sand
Bank veste lag, wir gingen an Land, u. hielten uns bey
ein paar Geschw. auf, bestellten es aber daß uns ruffen
sollen, wenns Schiff wieder los käme, allein das Schiff
ging ganz zu Grunde in der Themse, u. wir musten nun
resolviren diesen Winter in England zu bleiben. Wir
thaten also eine Reise nach Yorkshire, Ockbrook u. Bedford
u. kamen zu Ende January 1770 wieder in London an.
hatten selige u. vergnügte Zeit mit der Gemeine da-
selbst, u. reisten am 12ten Merz von da nach Gravesend
ab, u. von dort an Bord eines Schiffes das nach Newyork
segelte. Wir hatten eine zieml. gute Reise, nahmen 10
oder 11. led: Brr: mit hieher nach Bethlehem u. Christians-
brunn. Mein guter Mann war kränckl. auf der Reise, u.
kriegte die gout das erstemal zieml. hart, ich aber
war wohl, u. konnte ihn pflegen. Wir kamen am 12ten
May glückl. in Newyork an, hielten uns nur ein paar
Tage da auf u. reisten alsdenn nach Bethlehem, wo ///wir zur wahren Freude aller unsrer lieben Geschwister
glückl. eintraffen. Wir thaten bald darauf eine Reise
in die Stadt u. Land Gemeinen an, nachdem der Verlaß
des Synodi hier u. in Nazareth u. Litiz war publiciret
worden, um ein Gleiches bey ihnen zu thun mit dem was
vor sie gehörte u. wir waren zu Ende Octr erst damit
fertig.
Anno 71. fing mein guter Mann an sehr zu kränkeln, doch thaten
wir 4 1774 noch einen Besuch in allen Stadt u. Land-ge-
meinen u. bald drauf brach der unglückselige Krieg
aus, der uns gar viel Kummer u. Gram verursachet hat
wegen der damit verknüpften Umstände.
Anno 79 im Merz kamen unsre lieben Geschw. Reichels zu unserem
wahren Trost hieher, u. mein guter Mann schien ganz auf-
zu leben, aber es änderte sich das Jahr darauf da Geschw.
Reichels in der Wachau waren wieder gar sehr, u. er
kriegte gleich nach Weyhnachten 80 solche Zufälle, die mich
in große Noth u. Bekümmerniß brachten, u. was ich ge-
fürchtet ist mir wie zu præcis eingetroffen, denn er
ging am 17ten May 82 zu meinem unbeschreibl. Schmerz
sehr geschwinde heim. O hätte ich gleich mit Ihm gehen kön-
nen, wie wohl wäre mir geschehen! Ich hatte bey andert-
halb Jahren nichts anderes vor mir gesehen, als daß ich Ihn
verliehren würde, u. stellte mirs Centner schwer vor, aber,
aber alle Vorstellungen reichen da nicht hin, was man
erfährt bey der Auflösung dieses Bruders.
Nun hatte ich alles verlohren, was ich in dieser Welt
Liebes gehabt hatte, u. glaubte ofte daß es mir nicht möglich ///seyn würde, es zu überkommen. Allein meines besten
Freundes Nahes zu thun zu mir Seinem armen Kinde
kam mir auch in dieser harten Probe zu Hülffe, u. Er
sagte mir zu in meiner nunmehrigen Einsamkeit mein
Trost u. mein Ein und Alles zu seyn.
Die 21 u. ein halbes Jahr, die ich in der Ehe zu gebracht,
überdachte ich oftermals, fand unzehlige Ursachen Sün-
derin vor dem lieben Heiland zu werden, doch konnte ich
Ihm auch tausend Danck sagen vor Sein mit uns seyn,
vor Sein Bekenntnis zu uns in so mancherley schweren
Dingen, die in unserem Amts-Gange vorgekommen
sind. Bey allen Fehlern u. Mängeln haben es unsre
Herzen doch treu gemeynt. Wir haben nichts zum
Zweck u. Ziel gehabt, als den Heiland u. seine Sache.
Dabey haben wir einander zärtlich lieb gehabt, u. Freud
u. Leid mit einander getheilt, u. weil er bey 10 Jahren
her schwächlich u. kränklich war, so wars mirs eine
wahre Gnade ihm zu dienen bey Tag u. Nacht, u.
ihn so gut zu pflegen als es nur möglich war, hätte
es auch gern noch viele Jahre gethan, wenn mir ihn
der liebe Heiland noch hätte laßen wollen.
Ich gönne meinem guten Mann seine Ruhe von Herzen
ob ihm gleich noch ofte Thränlein von mir nach geweint
werden, denn ich weiß am Besten, wie sehr er sich darnach
gesehnt. Der liebe Heiland wird mir armen Sünderin
auch noch helffen zu Seiner Zeit u. Stunde. Indeßen
bleibt Er meine Zuversicht alleine, sonst weiß ich keine.

Student Final Project for HUMN 100-The Humanities Now! Spring 2015

This spring I taught another iteration of HUMN 100 to a small group of highly motivated and talented students.  Like last semester, (see HUMN 100) this is a project-based class where students take an as yet unpublished manuscript from the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA and develop their DH skills.

Screenshot 2015-05-05 21.26.02
Click image for link to website

This semester we were fortunate enough to work on the Travel Journal of Christian Froehlich and Jasper Payne.  Students started with the transcription of the manuscript and once a text had been established they were then able to analyze it using the lenses of the digital humanities.  The course website can be found here, where the outline, assignments, and blog posts are organized by topic (Close Reading, Distant Reading, Visualization, and Time).

A Shamokin Thanksgiving

Seal of Agreement for smithy

As we gather today in the Susquehanna Valley to share our food with friends and family, we might be curious how this time of year was celebrated back in 1747, in the time of Chief Shikellamy and the beginnings of the Moravian mission at what was then called Shamokin, today Sunbury.

1747 had been a very busy and important year in the history of Shamokin. The project of establishing a forge at the Confluence of the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna River, first requested by the Six Nations in 1745 and not approved by the Colonial government in Philadelphia until 1747, had finally been achieved. Moravians and Indians had met in conference in the spring of that year to discuss exactly how the forge would be built and the conditions under which the Six Nations and their emissary, Shikellamy, would permit the European missionaries to live at the confluence. Shikellamy and his sons had helped to construct the mission house and smithy during the summer months and the Moravians had already cleared land around their house to plant corn, beans, and squash. By the end of July the smithy was ready for business, with the preferred customers being the Indians of the Six Nations (for whom account books were kept); and traders being just tolerated. The wives of the Moravian missionaries, Anna Mack and Catharine Schmidt were already participating fully in the economy of the smithy and mission as they took in sewing from the Indians, mending Shikellamy’s shirts on a regular basis.

But the hard work of setting up the smithy and mission house had already taken its toll on one of the Moravians. After a long trip down river to collect supplies, Brother Hagen succumbed to the prevailing fever and, in September of 1747, was buried in a plot just beyond the turnip field, accompanied by a beautiful service of song.

That November was cold. The charcoal fire in the forge had been started, and many Indians passing through Shamokin stopped at the smithy to have work done to their weapons and to keep warm. The last full week of November was marked by the sadness that prevailed at the death of Shikellamy’s two year old grandchild. Anna Mack and Catharina Schmidt sewed, as requested, a death shroud for her out of a piece of linen brought to them by the Indian women, and then visited the dead child before burial.

But amid the sadness there was kindness and hope. The sharing of dried cherries and bread between a Mohican woman (Shikellamy’s daughter in law, the wife of his eldest son) and the Moravians; the sharing of Moravian bread with a cold tired and hungry Delaware man from the Wyoming Valley. The last Thursday in November 1747 brought a woman trader to the mission with much rum, much to the dismay of the Moravians. They neither wanted alcohol in Shamokin nor traders, whether male or female.  The Moravian Sisters spent “Black Friday” chopping and fetching wood, while their husbands were working in the smithy or repairing shoes.

That Saturday, the rum the woman trader had brought to town had clearly been exchanged for skins and the population of Shamokin was drunk. Order returned with Shikellamy though, who had been absent on Colonial business and arrived that evening from Tulpehocken and Conrad Weiser’s house with letters and news for the Moravians. He had also brought a piece of beef for Catharine Smith and the others from her mother who lived close by Conrad Weiser’s.

The relations between Shikellamy, his family and the Moravians were clearly warm and loving. His daughter in law, the Mohican, was worried about the fate of the dead child, for example. Would the child be with God even though it wasn’t baptized? Yes, said Anna Mack, she will be, because we are all loved by God, regardless of whether we are baptized or not. And as a sign of fellowship the Moravians bring Shikellamy his favorite, turnips.

Looking back at these records from nearly 270 years ago the picture we can see of relations between the Native peoples and the Moravian missionaries is clearly not the one that is popularly depicted with turkeys and pies and pumpkins. However, what we can see is a time of mutual aid, kindness, and significant intercultural understanding. True, the Moravians are not like all “white people”, a comment often made by the Indians who witness their quiet love. The outside forces of the traders and Colonial policies have their effect on the population around Shamokin, in that rum is all that Indians can trade their goods for. But the last Thursday of November in 1747 is marked by shared food and warmth. A true Thanksgiving.

On using GIS to uncover the ‘Stories of the Susquehanna’

Back in 2011, Janine Glathar interviewed me and Emily Bitely ’11 on the ways in which we had used GIS to begin mapping the Stories of the Susquehanna. These originally appeared on the Bucknell GIS blog.

Emily’s work was central to gaining the National Historic Trail designation from the National Park Service.

  • To learn more about the John Smith Trail, click here.
  • To view more  Captain John Smith’s voyage, click here.
  • To view a map of interpretive ‘smart’ buoys located in the river, click here.