The Epistemology of the Electronic Text: Scholarly and Pedagogical Considerations

multipaper session
  1. 1. Julia Flanders

    Brown University, Women Writers Project - Brown University

  2. 2. John Lavagnino

    Brown University

  3. 3. Carol Barash

    Seton Hill University

Work text
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The Epistemology of the Electronic Text: Scholarly and Pedagogical Considerations
Julia Flanders
Brown University
John Lavagnino
Brown University
Carol Barash
Seton Hall University
Keywords: edition, image, pedagogy

In invoking "the epistemology of the electronic text" this session means to open up a set of questions which have to do with how we conceptualize electronic texts as vehicles for information, and how we imagine their particular kinds of authority. These issues have important implications for how we use electronic texts in teaching and research, since they lie at the heart of the cultural position of the electronic text, both within the culture of the academy and outside it. We would like to ask not simply what people want electronic texts to do, or what they want them to provide, but what drives these desires and how they affect the actual use of the data and function offered by electronic resources.

The papers in the session approach these questions from several angles, but also speak to each other's concerns. John Lavagnino's paper on the place of images in the electronic scholarly edition inquires into the role of the image as guarantor of textual integrity, and the special emphasis that images receive in discussions of electronic editions. His argument that images loom disproportionately large in the imaginations of both creators and users of electronic texts engages with Carol Barash's paper on the pedagogical use of electronic texts, based on her work with the Women Writers Project's textbase and other electronic resources. She investigates both the actual use of images in teaching early women's writing, and the methodological context that supports and motivates that use, arguing that images enable different kinds of textual study and also have significant pedagogical effects on students' use of the electronic materials. Julia Flanders' paper addresses the question of the use of images in the context of attitudes towards the edition: both as a product of human judgement and taste, and as an accurate point of access to other, epistemologically prior documents. Her paper undertakes to explicate the function of the electronic edition in terms of the sociology of the academy, and its ascription of different kinds of authority to different kinds of textual and physical evidence: evidence which the electronic edition must offer in unfamiliar or defamiliarizing ways.

Together, the papers will encourage a more self-conscious discussion of how we imagine electronic text resources, and their claims to sufficiency and authority.

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Conference Info

In review


Hosted at Queen's University

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

June 3, 1997 - June 7, 1997

76 works by 119 authors indexed

Series: ACH/ALLC (9), ACH/ICCH (17), ALLC/EADH (24)

Organizers: ACH, ALLC