Internal Think Tanks for Innovation and Team-Building: Abstract

Think tanks are usually associated with non-profit organizations and institutes that perform research and provide advice on subjects such as public policy, technology, culture, economics, and so on. But your IT organization can stretch that term to cover a group of staff members who convene to generate innovative ideas that can be acted upon to improve the overall functioning of their department and the institution that it serves. An internal think tank is also a way for staff to share ideas that may not otherwise have a proper place to be heard and discussed. It gives motivated staff a forum to change and improve the workplace status quo.

At Fordham University, our IT organization implemented the “Innovation Group,” a collection of staff from IT and other university departments who met regularly to brainstorm, research, and carry out ideas to improve the workplace environment, build a stronger sense of community among IT staff and others in the university, and enhance the integration of technology within the university.

This paper gives an overview of the Innovation Group’s goals and methods for organizing and carrying out ideas. It describes some of its successful initiatives and the benefits incurred. It also briefly reviews some of the challenges the group encountered and group’s next phase, which will be based on lessons learned from the Innovation Group’s first incarnation.

This paper will be delivered at the SIGUCCS 2016 Conference, November 06-09, 2016, Denver, CO, USA. It will be published in the Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Annual Conference on SIGUCCS.
© 2016 ACM. ISBN 978-1-4503-4095-3/16/11…$15.00

Digital Yoknapatawpha in the Context of the Digital Humanities: Abstract

Wiliam Faulkner used leading technology of the day to write. He also wrote longhand.
William Faulkner used the leading technology of the day to write. He also wrote longhand.

In summer 2016, the Mississippi Quarterly will publish a roundtable on “Digital Yoknapatawpha” (DY).

The papers will be on the following topics:

1. Overview of the project, “Digital Yoknapatawpha”
2. “Digital Yoknapatawpha”‘s progress to date
3. A humanist does digital humanities
4. “Digital Yoknapatawpha”‘s value for scholarship and criticism
5. “Digital Yoknapatawpha”‘s value for teachers and students
6. Faulkner and DH — how they illuminate each other
7. “Digital Yoknapatawpha” and DH << This one is mine!

“Digital Yoknapatawpha in the Context of the Digital Humanities”

A searchable database, a map, a timeline, interactivity, links to archival resources and other digital elements are what make “Digital Yoknapatawpha” valuable to  both teachers and scholars. Those same assets are reasons why this born-digital project, which will never be published via traditional means (because it can’t), is considered a digital humanities project and not just some fancy website. This paper gives a definition and historical introduction to the digital humanities, and then describes some of the methods and practices central to digital humanities projects that have been used to create “Digital Yoknapatawpha.”

And in case you’re wondering…
What is Digital Yoknapatawpha? “Digital Yoknapatawpha” aims to enter every character, location and event from the individual texts into a robust database and then to map that data into an atlas of interactive visual resources, so that users can better understand and study the acts of narrative re-creation Faulkner undertook, according to the demands of a particular story. The project ultimately aims to link the entire body of Yoknapatawpha fictions together and dynamically generate new, cumulative maps. These will enable scholars or students to study, for example, all black inhabitants and the roles they play in his texts, or Faulkner’s representations of violence, or religion, or family.

The project is a collaboration of Faulkner Scholars with the University of Virginia’s Digital Media Lab, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities and SHANTI. (Source: Digital Yoknapatawpha)

Louis Untermeyer’s Poetic Engagement of the Popularization of Einstein’s Relativity Theory: Abstract

Louis Untermeyer
Louis Untermeyer

Abstract of paper to be published this summer, in The South Central Review.

Following the confirmation of Einstein’s theory of relativity in 1919, the mainstream and avant-garde press erupted with news about the theory, offering commentary that ranged from clear-sighted explanations to cartoons and jokes. Though critics have recognized the impact of the theory on modernist literature, few have attended to the mediating factor of these mainstream public narratives and their engagement by modernist writers. Among the most creative responses to relativity theory during this period is Louis Untermeyer’s understudied collection of parodic poetry, Rhyme and Relativity: An Anthology of Poetry Apostrophising the Theories of Einstein. Published in 1921, the same year as Einstein’s widely covered trip to the United States, it appeared in Vanity Fair and the little magazine, Broom. Written in the style of well-known poets, such

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

as Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell, each of the work’s eighteen poems takes some aspect of relativity theory as its subject. This paper offers a close reading of “Einstein Among the Coffee-Cups,” which is a parody of (mainly) T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” This paper reveals how Untermeyer’s sophisticated and versatile use of relativity theory, popular culture, and modern poetic form shaped both the content and structure of Rhyme and Relativity, resulting in a humorous, but serious, response to modernist poets and popular culture.

Albert Einstein, Aliens, William Faulkner, and Chickens: Conference Paper Abstract

Image from, “Meet Camilla”

“Einstein and an Alien: Faulkner’s Tools for Building a Better Chicken House”

Abstract for workshop/paper I will give at the 2015 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, in Oxford, MS.

Einstein and aliens: In the early 1920s, these subjects had no place in a southern literary landscape usually populated by plantations and antebellum nostalgia. That’s probably why a couple of William Faulkner’s friends, Julius Weis Friend and Albert Goldstein, editors of the New Orleans-based little magazine, the Double Dealer, published a short story entitled “The Rider through Relativity.” Written by Herman George Scheffauer, it appeared in that magazine’s March 1921, issue. With an alien as one of the protagonists and clear references to Einstein’s relativity theory, this story suited the editors’ aims for their publication, which in the influential cultural critic H. L. Mencken’s words, “doesn’t give a damn for the old gods.” And as U.S. newspaper and magazine editors often reminded their readers at the time, Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity challenged the old god Newton, his laws of motion, and claims about the nature of gravity, time and space.

“The Rider through Relativity” is a part of the lively and imaginative discourse about Einstein and relativity theory that appeared in the mainstream and avant-garde press beginning in late 1919, following confirmation of the theory by British astronomers. Scheffauer’s short story uses the alien and literature’s more traditional activity of suicide to demonstrate relativity theory’s claim that linear time is a powerful illusion by imagining a reality where that illusion has been dispelled and, therefore, nothing can ever be lost to the past.

This paper argues that Scheffauer’s story, the national conversation about Einstein, the theory’s notions about time that appeared in the American press, and the theory’s basic concept about the nature of time, all play an important, if subtle, role in Faulkner’s faceted approach to time in The Sound and the Fury. This paper focuses on Quentin’s section (the second section of the novel) to explore Faulkner’s consideration of how the experience of linear time may be especially oppressive during periods of loss. In doing so, he implicitly considers the challenges and possibilities relativity theory posed to the human perception of time and the meaning of personal loss.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Abstract

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Improving Your Messages to the Community

Abstract for workshop/paper I will give at the 2015 SIGUCCS Conference, in St. Petersburg, FL.

Whether it’s an outage, scheduled maintenance or an announcement about a new technology resource, the pressure is on you to create effective and readable messages.

Henry David Thoreau once said that he had received no more than one or two letters in his life that were worth the postage. thoreauTo be sure, most of your communications don’t require postage and won’t be cherished forever. But they should be worth the time it takes to read them.

University faculty, staff, and students are bombarded with hundreds of messages every day, from multiple sources. They appreciate it when your communications are organized, concise, and readable.

In this session, you’ll learn ways to improve written content for emails, blogs, and other communication channels. We’ll concentrate on how to cut the flab from your writing and strategies for organizing information. We’ll also cover how to choose the best words for promoting your organization’s resources and services.

Elizabeth Cornell is the IT Communications Specialist at Fordham University. Before that, she was post-doctoral fellow with the English Department at Fordham, where she taught composition and literature.