Buon giorno!

I kicked off my Day of DH 2014 with a  morning in the classroom. I am teaching two language courses this semester in the Italian Department at Yale and this morning my Intensive Elementary students tried their hand at creating Vines. I first heard about using these six second videos in the language classroom from a post on HASTAC  and loved the idea. My students do too!

In my current research on Dante in America, I haven’t used much multimedia, but that could change. Erroll Morris’s new documentary on Donald Rumsfeld, The Unknown Known, illustrates how the textual evidence of history (in this case Rumsfeld’s blizzard of memos) can be harnessed to powerful narrative effect. As he mentioned in a recent interview with Dana Stevens,  the image of the drifting “snowflake” memos came to stand for “the retreat into language, used not just to hide the truth from others, but from yourself—a strange retreat into the castle of language.”

I like the idea of trying to break into the “castle of language” in new and unexpected ways. The Dante in America project takes as its point of departure the history of Dante studies in America, but in exploring this history I have stumbled upon both the history of the discipline of modern language studies and an unexplored chapter of the history of higher ed in North America.