[Humanist] 24.547 career in textual scholarship

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Dec 4 09:37:40 CET 2010


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 547.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Matthew Kirschenbaum <mkirschenbaum at gmail.com>            (44)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.542 career in textual scholarship?

  [2]   From:    Wesley Raabe <wesley_raabe at yahoo.com>                     (12)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.542 career in textual scholarship?


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2010 08:07:09 -0500
        From: Matthew Kirschenbaum <mkirschenbaum at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.542 career in textual scholarship?
        In-Reply-To: <20101203095526.86549B7683 at woodward.joyent.us>

Sibongile,

You might consider making your way to the Society for Textual
Scholarship conference at Penn State in March. More details here:

http://www.textualsociety.org

For two and a half days, that will be the center of the textual
scholarship world.

Best, Matt

-- 
Matthew Kirschenbaum
Associate Professor of English
Associate Director, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)
Director, Digital Cultures and Creativity (DCC, a Living/Learning
Program in the Honors College)
University of Maryland
301-405-8505 or 301-314-7111 (fax)
http://mkirschenbaum.net and @mkirschenbaum on Twitter



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2010 17:57:24 -0800 (PST)
        From: Wesley Raabe <wesley_raabe at yahoo.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.542 career in textual scholarship?
        In-Reply-To: <20101203095526.86549B7683 at woodward.joyent.us>


I consider myself to be in early stage of a career in textual scholarship, so I suppose I can offer some suggestions for your question. As a primary emphasis, university faculty position which call for a specialist in textual scholarship are quite rare. 

In general, at least in the US in field of American literature, textual scholarship is more likely to be considered a secondary emphasis, one that complements the primary field. Because textual scholarship is slow work, which demands locating and comparing multiple versions of texts, editorial labor is usually reserved for works or authors who have previously reached canonical status. Works and figures who have joined the literary and cultural studies canon during the past 20 or 30 years---like many African American authors---are excellent candidates for more detailed study of multiple publication forms, manuscript variants, periodical publications, etc. 

The drawback of textual scholarship is that it can be viewed within broader disciplines of literary studies as a narrow discipline. Its value is more broadly recognized in some fields---Renaissance literature, Medieval literature, 18th-Century literature---but less well recognized in others, like 19th and 20th century literature. Because of copyright restrictions, it can also be more difficult for more recent authors. Such generalizations may be incorrect in particular instances.  Textual editing in field of English is loosely affiliated with types of editing performed by historians and scholars of classic or biblical literature. 

Related fields include bibliography (study of printed documents), print history (study of cultural history of books and printing), and digital humanities, the latter because works are increasingly being edited for electronic publication (one reason that I follow the Humanist list).  Organizations affiliated with the practice of textual editing include the Society for Textual Scholarship (literary editing) and the Association for Documentary Editing (historical editing). A handful of graduate programs offer emphasis (certificate or like) in textual scholarship, but to extent that a graduate program in humanities can ever be considered a wise move---and please recognize that it is probably NOT a wise career move---also consider any program with at least two (but preferably all three) of the following: two potential mentors in textual scholarship, a strong program in area chosen as primary field, convenient access to strong holdings in author (or authors)  that have your potential interest for dissertation project. 

Others on the list could probably address the situation in Europe and Canada more thoughtfully. But I would happily respond to more narrowly focused inquiries off-list. 

Wesley Raabe
wraabe at kent.edu
Assistant Professor
Textual Editing and American Literature
Kent State University

      




More information about the Humanist mailing list