Who produces knowledge? How is it organized? Who has access to it?
These are some of the questions that will be addressed by students and visiting faculty in the ACM Newberry Seminar: Research in the Humanities during the fall 2014 semester.
The seminar, titled “Knowledge and Technology: from Socrates to the Digital Age,” will be team-taught by a pair of Monmouth College professors, Bridget Draxler and Hannah Schell.
Students and faculty in the fall 2012 Newberry Seminar at the front door of the library.
The Newberry program offers undergraduates the rare opportunity to conduct independent research projects in the humanities at one of the premier libraries in the world, the Newberry Library in Chicago. Advised by the faculty and the Newberry’s staff of scholars, students conduct research and write a substantial paper on a topic of their choice.
The Newberry’s vast holdings – manuscripts, maps, music, rare books, and other printed materials – span the history and culture of western Europe from the Middle Ages to the mid-20th century and the Americas from the time of first contact between Europeans and Native Americans.
Each fall, two visiting faculty members are selected to lead the seminar on a broad, interdisciplinary theme that they have proposed. The seminar is designed to make use of the Newberry’s unique resources and to guide students as they develop their skills in using primary source materials in research and writing.
Readings, discussions, and assignments during the early weeks of the program introduce students to the Newberry’s collections and give them background and a framework for addressing the seminar’s theme and for shaping their individual research proposals.
According to Draxler and Schell, knowledge and technology will undergird both the content and the form of the fall 2014 seminar. “This seminar explores the relationship between knowledge, technology, and power,” the professors noted, “and provides students with a chance to reflect upon and engage in the activity of creating, organizing, and accessing knowledge in a digital age.”
In presenting their research, students will be encouraged to explore the possibilities of digital publishing, complementing their research papers with multimedia such as digital maps, interactive timelines, online forums, and dynamic webpages. “By experimenting with new forms of digital publishing, students will actively engage and participate in the democratization of knowledge in a digital age,” the seminar leaders wrote.
Along with being faculty colleagues at Monmouth, Draxler and Schell have directly collaborated on several projects on their campus, including pedagogy and faculty development within Integrated Studies, civic engagement and civic reflection, and exploring how new technologies can support writing and other assignments.
- As director of Communication Across the Curriculum at Monmouth, Bridget Draxler focuses on innovative strategies in interdisciplinary writing and speaking. She has led faculty workshops on a range of digital technologies and regularly uses technology and collaborative media in her courses. A specialist in 18th century literature, Draxler has explored ideas of participatory spectatorship and has research interests in contemporary issues related to civic engagement and the digital humanities.
- Professor of Religious Studies Hannah Schell has taught a variety of courses in philosophy and religious studies, and since 2010 has coordinated Monmouth’s Integrated Studies program. She is a veteran of the Newberry Seminar, having previously served as in fall 2008, and has extensive experience advising independent student research.
More information and a syllabus for the fall 2014 seminar will be available on the Newberry Seminar webpage in the weeks ahead.