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Intellectual Networks in the Early Middle Ages: Working with Pre-Modern Datasets

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Thursday, November 21, 2013
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4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
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Clare Woods
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Media Arts & Sciences Rendezvous

In the age of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other global social networking tools, networks and ways in which we can (re)construct and analyze them have become an important focus of research across the disciplines. This is no less true for those of us studying the premodern world, where networks (whether social, political, familial or intellectual) were both the fabric and the driving force of societies.Clare's talk will present work-in-progress towards the construction of a total intellectual network for the period generally known as the Carolingian Renaissance (8th-9th centuries CE). Her project uses new digital tools to capture, merge and visualize a wide range of data about early medieval scholars and their interactions, and aims to reconstruct the Carolingian intellectual environment in as nuanced and dynamic a way as possible. The talk will discuss the challenges of working with pre-modern sources (such as letter collections) and data sets (medieval manuscripts, and modern editions and studies of medieval texts). Visual models handle complex data more effectively than text-based narratives: layering different sorts of network - correspondence, travel itineraries, manuscript distribution data - leads to new discoveries, and new avenues for research.The Media Arts + Sciences Rendezvous is held every Thursday at 4:15pm on the 2nd floor of Smith Warehouse Bay 10. Drinks & light snacks provided.

Contact: Eric Monson