global identity

Visiting Speaker, 12 Mar 2019: Richard Graham on digital identities and Google

Richard Graham (University of Birmingham) will be presenting his paper, ‘Understanding Google: 5000 Years of Human Thought in 0.3 Seconds’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 12 March 2019. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.01, and will be followed by a wine reception.

Abstract
2018.04.grahamHow do search engines change the way we think or remember? Should global technologies present knowledge as universal, or are some truths relative? Does Google’s contribution to the democratisation of knowledge outweigh their facilitation of fake news, conspiracy theories and hate speech?

Search engines have become an integral part of the Web for many around the world who rely upon them on a daily basis. Google’s search engine governs a wide range of activities that regulate how news, politics and cultural beliefs circulate online. Therefore, search engines are at the centre of a huge number of debates that reach far beyond the study of an isolated technology.

This talk will address a range of diverse issues concerning the nature of search, including how our identities are interpreted algorithmically and how search engines provide individuals with different results based on the language they speak, where in the world they search from, and the phrasing of queries that might disclose existing attitudes. The paper will also address the social impact of harnessing big data and machine learning to make linguistic judgements, which often lead to the propagation of sexist, racist or extremist views. In an age when multinational technology companies have the power to distribute fake news, trace human behaviour in ever-closer detail, and shape the kind of knowledge people have access to around the globe, critical and human-centric enquiry is urgently required. The talk will highlight why humanities perspectives are essential for the study of digital culture and will directly address how researchers without a computing background can study and critique dynamic computational systems.

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1879-1880: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Early Transatlantic Network

In the eighth of an ongoing series of posts, Harriet Gordon, a second-year doctoral candidate based in Cardiff’s Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, discusses the early steps of her project: a book historical study of Robert Louis Stevenson’s global literary networks. Harriet’s project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW-DTP).

In previous posts I have discussed Stevenson’s early years of professional authorship, demonstrating his initial reliance on Sidney Colvin before his growing knowledge, confidence and connections in the literary industry enabled him to secure many of his own publishing deals. Once in America, with the vastness of the Atlantic separating him from the literary world of London, he once again became reliant on a few core members of his network. (more…)

‘The Clyde to California’: Robert Louis Stevenson in America

In the seventh of an ongoing series of posts, Harriet Gordon, a second-year doctoral candidate based in Cardiff’s Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, discusses the early steps of her project: a book historical study of Robert Louis Stevenson’s global literary networks. Harriet’s project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW-DTP).

In 1879, Stevenson boarded a steamship to New York in pursuit of a married woman, who, less than a year later, would become his wife. Despite spanning little more than a year, this period of Stevenson’s life has been seen by many commentators as a watershed moment, for both his literary career and his sense of himself in the world. This life-altering journey began on 6 August 1879 in St Pancras Station. From here, Stevenson took a night train to Glasgow, and the next day left the Clyde for New York on the steamship the Devonia. He was following Fanny Osbourne, who had returned to California and her husband a year before. (more…)

‘Out of my country and myself I go’: Stevenson and Literary Geography

In the sixth of an ongoing series of posts, Harriet Gordon, a second-year doctoral candidate based in Cardiff’s Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, discusses the early steps of her project: a book historical study of Robert Louis Stevenson’s global literary networks. Harriet’s project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW-DTP).

Edward Said writes that ‘none of us is outside or beyond geography; none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography’. The life and work of Robert Louis Stevenson is, perhaps more than most, intimately bound up with his geography. From the ambivalent relationship with his home town of Edinburgh, to his exploration of the conditions and effects of emigration in the New World, to his depictions of transculturation in the contact zones of the Pacific, issues of place and space, and their relation to identity, permeate both his biography and his writing. (more…)

Stevenson, the Savile Club and its Social Network

In the fifth of an ongoing series of posts, Harriet Gordon, a first-year doctoral candidate based in Cardiff’s Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, discusses the early steps of her project: a book historical study of Robert Louis Stevenson’s global literary networks. Harriet’s project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW-DTP).

In June 1874, Robert Louis Stevenson was elected as a member of the Savile Club, a prestigious gentleman’s club that welcomed promising young authors, as well as many members already firmly established in the London literary circle. Among these were Sidney Colvin (who proposed Stevenson’s election) and Andrew Lang, as well as editors like Leslie Stephen, John Morely and Charles Appleton. His acceptance into the Savile Club was the apex of the first few years of Stevenson’s literary career, immersing him in a literary milieu that presented new and exciting opportunities. (more…)