The Mule and Totemism
(“documentary” made by Benjamin Lawlor, Assitan Thiero and Leaf Ye in FR324/493 Ideologies of Africans).
To carry out this project, students used Colby’s Special Collections where they found material dating back to WWII and before (a video of a football game during which a real mule was brought to campus). Students were shown mounting and riding the mule; various reproductions of the mascot and articles written on its meaning; a speech by a former Colby trustee who alluded to the mule as a totem; the controversy surrounding the mule and the attempt to replace it with a moose, etc.). Students also conducted research on the totemic system in sub-Saharan African and in other parts of the world. This research is featured in the video.
A podcast on Pan-Africanism and identity which recorded the participation of Pious Ali, the first African-born and black Muslim to be elected to public office in Portland, Maine (see link–the student responsible for finalizing the project made an error in the title of the podcast (FR324/493) (Leaf Ye, Assitan Thiero, Benjamin Lawlor, Portland City Councilor Pious Ali, and Professor Niang).
Project in FR128
https://sites.google.com/colby.edu/projet-final-fr128/introduction?authuser=1 (Avery Liou and Rohan Sinha).
This project focuses on various cultural practices in North Africa.
FR355, The Other French Empire, Then and Now
As part of her independent research project for FR355, Darcy Gott wrote a graphic novel inspired by “la mulâtresse Solitude” (circa 1772-1802), a forgotten historical figure who was martyred in the fight against slavery in colonial Guadeloupe.
FR128 and FR232 students
During the Fall 2021 semester, students in Cultural Encounters: Engaging with Literature and Media (FR128) and The Rise and Fall of Versailles (FR232), created museum labels with a focus on the historical context of Toussaint Louverture’s life.
Each class went to the Colby Museum of Art to see the exhibit Jacob Lawrence: The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture, and all the students were able to contribute their interpretations of the prints during their visits. Then the students worked individually on a print of their choice before being paired with the student from the other class who chose the same print. Next they collaborated to develop and write museum labels in French, selecting the most relevant details of the historical context, before translating them into English.
–Valérie Dionne, Associate Professor of French
L’autre empire français (Paliyenko)
La couleur des droits
Les abolitions françaises de l’esclavage
La Vénus Hottentote
Julien-Joseph Virey et le racisme scientifique
A Round Table on the Holocaust
French majors Kristin Nissen, Sara Ramsay and Aileen Evans lead a round table on Holocaust memory. They led three round tables on Holocaust memory at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, Augusta.
Digital Humanities Projects
Following their summer internship in Rome aiding Associazione Letteraria Premio Nazionale Elio Pagliarani in cataloging books, dedications, and manuscripts into their database, Payton Privitera ‘23, Lucia Rascionato ‘25, and Meghan Stagnone ‘23 created an interactive map for the library’s website. Elio Pagliarani was a prominent Italian poet of the second half of the 20th century. Many of these books in the library included handwritten signatures and dedications from other poets and authors. This map, created using ArcGIS, organizes this very specific data set, making visible and searchable the locations where each author or poet wrote their dedication to Pagliarani; another map shows where each author or poet lived. Both data sets include photos of the actual pages with the inscriptions. The purpose of this project was to provide a digital means of displaying how a diverse group of poets and authors both Italian and from outside of Italy used poetry to stay connected over a vast span of time. Please feel free to explore our interactive map and learn more about Elio Pagliarani!
After receiving a research grant from the Colby College Center for Arts and Humanities, we (Tara Venkat and Louisa Baum, class 2021) spent the month of January 2021 in Bologna, Italy researching its unique architectural features. This research highlights not only the physical modifications they have undergone over time, but also the impact they have had on the identity of the Bolognese citizens. We focus mainly on how Bologna has recently allocated and re-negotiated the use of its urban spaces in response to the changing socio-economic, religious, cultural, and political demands. This focus was undertaken through an aesthetic and practical lens as well as a sociological and ethnographic perspective to dive deeper into the connection between the portici (a pervasive architectural feature of Bologna), and the political commune of Làbas (a community based political organization which reclaimed some spaces in the city center). We welcome you to explore these elements with us through this site.
Italiamo is a portal of Italian Grammar created by Jessica Reinhart, class of 2020, to document her progress in learning Italian and to serve as a tool for future generations of Italian students at Colby.
The DH L@unch is an Italian Studies + Digital Humanities workshop open to everyone in the Colby community (students, faculty, and staff) that we offered in the spring of 2017.
It met for lunch in Miller 205 on Tuesdays from 1pm to 2:30pm. Everyone was invited to come and see our digital work, ask us questions, give us feedback, and learn how to use Neatline (the platform we utilized for our geo-spatial work).
The Navigli Project is our current Digital Humanities project that we started developing in the fall of 2016 in a Humanities Lab. This Neatline exhibit displays and narrates the visual, thick history of water in the city of Milan, Italy and can be explored by clicking the points on the map, scrolling along the timeline, opening each of the listed records or by following one of the “Itineraries.”
(Lunch was provided courtesy of the Center for the Arts and Humanities)
Contact: [email protected]
The Navigli Project is a digital map of Milan’s waters that displays and narrates the visual, thick history of water in the city of Milan, Italy. It is an interactive resource for students, researchers, and the general public interested in discovering and learning about Milan’s disappeared canals and current plans to bring them back.
It comprises several layers of history, politics, literature, architecture, sound, video, photography, and geography that show the different factors that throughout the centuries have created the cityscape of Milan today. The map can be explored by clicking the points on the screen, scrolling along the timeline, opening each of the listed records or by following one of the “Itineraries.” The Navigli Project was developed in the Humanities Lab titled IT397A City of Water. Uncovering Milan’s Aquatic Geographies in the fall of 2016, and was also the main project being curated and expanded at the DH L@unch in the spring of 2017. The exhibit is constantly evolving and expanding.
Follow us on Instragram at the_navigli_project.
Like our Facebook page to follow our development!
We are very interested in your feedback, comments, and suggestions. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In this Origins Humanities Lab, students explored the history of noise and its impact on 20th-century Italian music. They also produced digital soundmaps of the city of Waterville and the Colby campus. The embracing of noise by Avant-Garde and Neo-Avant-Garde musicians marked the origins of a new way of conceiving and writing music, and noise was therefore a gateway to the investigation of the main features and principles that guided modern composers. In a multimedia environment that fostered an atmosphere of creative collaboration and encourages creative design, students turned from consumers of information into producers of cultural artifacts by generating annotated, playable maps, and disseminating them outside the classroom. Primary sources included music, sound clips, music scores, maps, manifestos, poems, essays, city plans, and historical accounts. Secondary sources comprised scholarly works, online archives as well as other digital humanities projects. The Lab traveled once to Harvard’s Harvard Group for New Music for a conversation with the composers and a concert.
The tangible results of this lab were the students’ projects (soundwalks, remixes, an immersive sonic Virtual Reality experience of Waterville, a 2D laser cut map of Waterville with Arduino components, and a noiseintoner) that were showcased at Noisefest!
Find more about the students’ projects at the links below:
Follow some of the projects’ construction phases on Twitter @Noisemakers11
FR252 Provocative Texts (2017): http://web.colby.edu/provocativetexts/
PLOTTING POETRY. On Mechanically-Enhanced Reading
In 1917, commenting on the rise of new media, Apollinaire urged for “plotting/mechanising (“machiner”) poetry as has been done for the world”. A century later, the slogan’s rich metaphor is made all the sharper with the new technologies’ emergence in literary studies. What role have machines taken up in text reading? What do they teach us about the mechanics of poetry? What mechanical and strategic devices are we developing, with what results?
We are producing all sorts of computing and statistical apparatuses to describe and analyse metre, style and poeticity. We entrust them with part of our research to gain in speed and/or power, escape the physical boundaries of what our mind can embrace, rethink the usual questions and address new ones previously out of reach of traditional readings. Statistical analyses, digital corpuses, miscellaneous inventories shed light upon literature and provide our interpretations with the physical evidence they had to do without so far, but they in turn raise hermeneutic challenges.
To apply mechanical processes to the reading of texts is to raise the question of poeticity. Is it to be found in the measurable sum of artfully assembled processes, or does it escape normalisation efforts? Reading machines, by allowing a distant vision, measure phenomena that a natural reading would not detect, thus questioning the role of such invisible features in readers’ perception. Jacobson’s poetic function has objective linguistic features at its centre, but shall its efficiency be reduced to that of a machine, with levers and pulleys we can take apart?
Finally, the machine carries some notion of dehumanisation of the processes where it replaces us, and symmetrically, we readily adopt an anthropomorphic perception of it. Its use questions the usefulness and legitimacy of adopting “non-human” readings to access a fundamentally “human” material. Must the literary scholar, whose object is not a natural phenomenon, meet the burden of proof, or can one rely on intuitions? How shall mechanically enhanced “readings” and more traditional ones be linked together?
(University of Basel, 5-6-7 October, 2017/https://machinerlapoesie.wordpress.com)
In the course “L’écriture de soi”, students explored concepts of memory and self-fashioning in French and Francophone non-canonical/non-traditional autobiographical narratives, and questioned the (im)possibilities of writing the self. Through theoretical readings and creative research projects with digital platforms such as Tumblr and Storymaps, students acquired a better understanding of the processes by which written/visual memoirs and autobiographies were produced. To help them frame their own digital project, students analyzed a variety of texts (written/visual) to understand how writers, artists, theoreticians and filmmakers were writing and conceptualizing the self. In this Humanities Lab, students put into practice what they learned in class by conducting research/creative digital projects that challenged their own notion of “self” vis-à-vis issues of race, gender, identity, and community.