Hall Center For The Humanities


Peter Grund

"Writing Practices in Early New England: An Electronic Database Tool for Charting the Recorders of the Salem Witch Trials"
Seminars : Digital Humanities Seminar

Tue., Apr. 3, 2012, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Location: Room 503, Watson Library

In this presentation, Grund will report on his ongoing collaborative project (with Margo Burns and Matti Peikola) on the recorders that took down the some 1,000 documents from the Salem witch trials. Their goal is to produce an online tool that identifies as many of the approximately 250 recorders as possible, and provides bibliographical data as well as data on their scribal practices. At the same time, the plan is to make the tool available to other researchers to use in the charting of handwriting and scribes in other historical contexts. The talk outlines the principles of the work, demonstrates the preliminary setup of the tool, and discusses some of the future avenues for the project. Among other things, Grund will show how collaborative research is crucial in a project of this kind, and how the electronic format of this scribal tool allows us to approach age-old questions not only about the Salem trials but also about writing practices, scribal copying, and literacy.

Peter J. Grund is Assistant Professor of English Language Studies at the University of Kansas. His research interests include English historical linguistics, early American English, corpus linguistics, electronic editing, and the vernacularization of science. He is co-author of the recent Testifying to Language and Life in Early Modern England. Including a CD containing An Electronic Text Edition of Depositions 1560–1760 (ETED) (John Benjamins, 2011), and co-editor of Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt (CUP, 2009).

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