Friday, November 1, 2013

News from the Classroom: Undergraduates Prepare Scholarly Edition of Peruvian Manuscript

Working with Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish Dr. Chad Leahy, students in the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures this semester are collaborating in an exciting project to produce a digital edition of El Perú en sus tradiciones, en su historia, en sus artes, a unique early 20th-century Peruvian manuscript held at Special Collections in the Falvey Library at Villanova.  

Title page from El Perú en sus tradiciones
The undated manuscript might be described as a visually rich scrap-book of Peruvian history and culture, incorporating a wide variety of photographs, post cards, detailed illustrations (both printed and hand-drawn), and other media, along with commentary particularly on Pre-Incan, Incan, and Colonial cultures.   

Students are preparing a critical introduction to the work in which they address questions of race, nationalism, and science in assessing how this manuscript appropriates the past (and especially the indigenous past) to dialogue with the present of early 20th-century Perú.  At the same time, they are  gaining unique and valuable hands-on experience working with the transcription and annotation of the manuscript, engaging intensively with problems of material textuality, while being introduced to the field of the Digital Humanities, or DH.  (For some approaches to how to define DH, see here and here).  

The completed edition is scheduled for public release as part of the Aurelius Digital Humanities Initiative in the Spring 2014 semester.  Stay tuned to read El Perú en sus tradiciones!

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