As a doctoral candidate with the Institute of English Studies at the Université de Neuchâtel, I am studying how place is mediated in literary texts by analyzing materials such as correspondence, journal entries, manuscript drafts, and literary works. In this talk, I will describe the process of developing a digital humanities project Mapping Bishop and of mediating the research material through technology. Specifically, I’m looking at the work of American poet Elizabeth Bishop, who grew up in Nova Scotia and Massachusetts and then moved to Brazil, where she lived and wrote for 15 years. As part of this study, I collaborated with Dr. Andrew Sempere of Place Lab Ltd. to make a spatio-temporal map of Bishop’s movement and correspondence. Mapping Bishop acts as what Seymour Papert called an “object-to-think-with” — a computer model that serves as an externalization of theories, approaches, and assumptions that can be interrogated. I will discuss the various inflection points in this project, including different methods of visualizing the material and making it experiential.

Anindita Basu Sempere is a doctoral candidate at the Université de Neuchâtel (UniNE) studying place and poetics in twentieth-century American literature, specifically how change of place is mediated in literature. She holds an MFA from VCFA (2007), an MA from BU’s Creative Writing Program (2005), an SM from the MIT Media Lab (2002), and a BA in Computer Science and English from Wellesley College (2000). Prior to joining UniNE, Anindita spent over a decade in the field of education in different capacities: as a researcher, as a founding faculty member of a charter school, as the Director of Education at a boutique tutoring company, and as the Executive Director of an online tutoring company focused on writing.

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