Binotti and MacNeil Selected as DIL/IAH Faculty Fellows

The Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative, the Digital Innovation Lab, and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities are pleased to announce the 2014 recipients of the DIL/IAH Faculty Fellowship in Digital Humanities: Lucia Binotti, Professor of Spanish, and Anne MacNeil, Associate Professor of Music.

Part of the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative, the DIL/IAH Faculty Fellowship allows outstanding faculty at all ranks to explore the possibilities of digital humanities for extending their research, teaching, and engagement with audiences beyond the university. These fellowships encourage research at the intersection of traditional and engaged scholarship, the effective use of digital technologies in research and teaching, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Binotti and MacNeil will work with the Digital Innovation Lab to create and launch their own digital humanities projects by December 2014. The fellowship provides $15,000 in project funds, as well as a course release in the fall semester, and in-kind project management and technical development support from the Digital Innovation Lab.

Lucia Binotti: How Do You Say It?

Lucia BinottiA Professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Lucia Binotti holds a PhD in Hispanic Renaissance Languages from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She earned her M.A. in Romance Philology from the Università degli Studi (Pisa).

Binotti’s research crosses the borders between literary criticism and cultural history. Her work focuses on Renaissance material and cultural history, and on the mechanisms that construct linguistic and cultural identity. She has worked on linguistic theories on the origin and development of the vernaculars, on the establishment of historiography as a discipline, and on the strategies that were used to synthesize the civic values of the Renaissance into the ideological tenets of the Spanish Empire. Her new book project analyzes the discourses and rituals that constituted illicit, transgressive sexuality among early modern Spanish elites.

Binotti comes to the digital humanities through her collaboration on a previous project, Gnovis: Flowing through the Galaxy of Knowledge, which was awarded a NEH Digital Startup Grant in 2011. Gnovis was envisioned as a navigation engine that would allow users to visualize semantic relationships between entities by diffusing traditional and rigidly enforced boundaries among humanities disciplines, allowing the user to visualize connections between subjects and across disciplines that would otherwise not be immediately apparent. Binotti was an early adopter of DH Press, testing it in her Honors Study Abroad in Rome last year, and she plans to use it again this summer.

Binotti’s fellowship project, How Do You Say It?, is an interdisciplinary and community service oriented project, in collaboration with Professor Cynthia Rizo of the School of Social Work at UNC. The project aims to deploy DH Press to crowd source, layer, map and visualize information about varieties of the Spanish language used to address Latino/a audiences when discussing the prevention of intimate partner violence. The project’s ultimate goal is to assess whether the choice of different varieties of Spanish targeted more specifically to a local sub-group of the larger Latino/a community might increase the success and effectiveness of textual literature (brochures, signs, advertisements) as well as spoken interactions (from support services, doctors, social workers, etc.) in preventing and educating about domestic violence. As Binotti explains, “The project’s results will have direct impact on the development of culturally appropriate interventions for this vulnerable population of survivors.”

Anne MacNeil: POPP: Parsing Ottaviano Petrucci’s Prints

Anne MacNeilAn Associate Professor in the Department of Music, Anne MacNeil holds a PhD in the History and Theory of Music from the University of Chicago. She earned an MA in Music History from the Eastman School of Music and a BMus from Ithaca College.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MacNeil taught at Northwestern University and the University of Texas at Austin. Her areas of specialization include music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, music and spectacle, commedia dell’arte, opera, performance studies and historiography. Her current research encompasses the use of boats, barges, and waterways as venues for music performance and as modes of travel, especially for noble women, to entertainments in and around Renaissance Mantua; early-modern laments; operatic settings of tales of the Trojan Wars; and the intersections of music, ceremony, and biography in the lives of Margherita Farnese and Eleonora de’ Medici.

MacNeil’s fellowship project grows out of her work on IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive. This continually evolving project is an interactive, interdisciplinary research and learning environment for scholars, students, educators, and the general public around the world. Taking as its inspiration and focus one of the most influential figures of the Italian Renaissance, Isabella d’Este (1474-1539), IDEA offers new ways to explore the history and culture of early modern Europe. IDEA’s primary materials are Isabella’s letters, music, and art collections, as they evolved during her reign as the marchesa of Mantua. These resources map a world where politics, art, music, family life, business, and social relations intertwined, prior to the modern separation of many of these concerns into separate spheres.

MacNeil’s fellowship project, POPP: Parsing Ottaviano Petrucci’s Prints, is the first music project for the IDEA environment. As MacNeil wrote in her proposal, in the typical transcription of Renaissance music, something is often lost, since modern music notation “imposes a uniformity of spacing, metric accents, and text underlay that are foreign to early modern music.” With this project, MacNeil aims to “develop a digital program for working with sixteenth-century printed music that bypasses transcription entirely and thereby preserves the metric quality and independence of parts that characterize this music in its original sources.” She believes this will lead to a deeper understanding of the compositional techniques, theories, character, and practices of Renaissance music. Additionally, this will provide insight into the interactions between emerging print technologies and humanistic conceptions of music and music-making in early modern Europe.

MacNeil will work with the Image and Spatial Data Analysis Division of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Together, and in collaboration with the Digital Innovation Lab, they will design a prototype tool to engage with the metric structures of Renaissance music; to reveal patterns of musical gestures and suggestions of performance practices that are obscured by modern notation; and to apply, by automated process, heuristics developed from contemporary music theory treatises to the analysis of scores created by Ottaviano Petrucci, the first music printer. This tool will allow students and scholars to manipulate Petrucci’s scores visually in order to see and hear interactions among the parts, to explore differences between modal and tonal behaviors in the music, and to see analytical concepts derived from contemporary music theorists in action. This project will benefit a wide audience, including undergraduate and graduate students, music historians and theorists, and non-specialists in diverse humanistic fields.

MacNeil was also recently awarded an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship for Mapping Secrets, another project connected to IDEA. Mapping Secrets will develop a tool for mapping networks of secretarial practices and administrative recordkeeping in the act of letter writing, using the notes, drafts, copies, and letters from the archive of Isabella d’Este. MacNeil begins this fellowship January 2015.

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