Humanistic Studies

UW-Green Bay

Author: Amber Foster

Interning at the Hazelwood Historical Home Museum

UW-Green Bay offers a variety of internships for students to take part in. Humanities interns are able to get internships at local museums, libraries, and more! The last post of the Spring 2018 semester features the next Humanities Department Intern, Rachel Scray who interned throughout the semester for the Hazelwood Historical Home Museum!

Click the link below to read about her experience!

Hazelwood Internship Blog

The String of Pearls Project

Many of us are familiar with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. What most of us don’t know, is this story derives from the 1800s in the form of a penny blood, a “Victorian fiction serial targeting working-class family readers.” Professor Rebecca Nesvet, who specializes in British literature, found a digital facsimile of one of two copies of the compiled versions of The String of Pearls uploaded to the Internet Archive.

Nesvet found issues with its accessibility to the modern public, so she recruited Digital and Public Humanities students to help her solve some of those problems. One student had this to say about the project:

“I am Beth Siltala, and I am an editor of the Sweeney Todd Project. The project is a large-scale and long-term. There are about 170 chapters in this printed work, and we currently are only at chapter 60. I have been editing chapters and creating well researched annotations for about three semesters now under the guidance of Dr. Rebecca Nesvet at UW-Green Bay. I first started this project in a class for my Digital and Public Humanities major, learning Extensible Markup Language (XML) and the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). We were assigned chapters to edit, and then publicly post them on http://www.salisburysquare.com/TSOP/. You can do a lot when annotating a text, like make it very educational or humorous. It just really depends on what the editor wants the readers to get out of the text. Sometimes, in the original text there are moments when the printers make spelling errors, so the job of an editor is to go in and note where the spelling errors are for the publication of the digital edition, notifying the public that this is not an error as this is what was printed.

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I think the reason why I have been doing this project for three semesters now is because I enjoy doing it. It certainly is not like anything I have ever done before (not in high school or my first couple years at UWGB). I also love the story, so I wanted to be a part of it for a longer time than just one semester. I continued my involvement on the project for the next couple semesters. For my second semester on this project, I became a senior editor for the project in one class, helping junior editors (and Dr. Nesvet teach) with their chapters and coding. Many of the junior editors were shocked that I had only been working on this project for two semesters (at the time I was a senior editor). They were, however, grateful for the knowledge that I gave to them during the semester. Now, in my third semester (Spring 2018) I am an intern for this project. I am proofreading earlier chapters that were published at the early stages of the project. Plus, I am coding chapters to be published on the site. On April 20th, myself, Emma Ferron (another intern in the project), and Dr. Nesvet are going to present our project in the UW System Symposium for Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity. Not only is it to show the UW System what we are doing, but also to show our skills to the public. With this, we can show people what we are doing and why this project is such a big deal to the digital world.

This project has influenced my life a lot over the course of my academic career as a Humanities major, helping me develop my leadership skills and become more confident in my work. It has also enlightened me of a job possibility if museum and gallery work does not work out. I can be an editor or at least a proofreader for a publishing company if I want. The Digital and Public Humanities has shaped me into a person I did not know I could be. Sometimes it is hard to look back and see what would happen if I did not become a Humanities major. What would have happened if I followed another dream of mine and become a novelist? Or a paleontologist? Or even a visual artist? Would I be okay with that? Would I feel accomplished with my life? I don’t know. I do know that I am content with the path I am going down. Where that will lead me? I don’t know. Digital and Public Humanities is a new emphasis to have, and I think I can do a lot with it. I just have to get experience in the field to get to where I hope to be.”

The Digital and Public Humanities is one of the newest tracks in the Humanities major and focuses on creating easily accessible projects on digital and public platforms. You can view the press release for the project for more information on the String of Pearls: String of Pearls-1

The Humanities in 2018

If one were to ask us students, “What are the Humanities?” More often than not, we wouldn’t be able to answer that. That was my experience talking to fifth graders and representing the History Club and the Ancient and Medieval Humanities Club at the mini OrgSmorg hosted by Phuture Phoenix last Fall 2017. The definition of “humanities” covers a variety of subjects including languages, history, philosophy, literature, and more. Merriam-Webster defines it as, “the branches of learning (such as philosophy, arts, or languages) that investigate human constructs and concerns as opposed to natural processes (as in physics or chemistry) and social relations (as in anthropology or economics).”

UWGB states it as such, “The humanities comprise those fields that study human creations of all sorts.” I think this definition is more accurate and representative of the study of the humanities. What is the study of literature, for example, without history or language and vice versa? The humanities as a field of study is truly a beautiful thing in that it spans across almost all fields and has real world, modern applications.

Student Michael Dahlberg presented his research on the origins of UWGB's Eco-friendly reputation with Professor David Voelker at the Academic Excellence Symposium in April 2017.

Student Michael Dahlberg presented his research on the origins of UWGB’s Eco-friendly reputation with Professor David Voelker at the Academic Excellence Symposium in April 2017.

One can see that evidenced at UWGB. The Ancient and Medieval Humanities Club teamed up with the History Club and Engineering Club to build and launch a catapult. The English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, hosts biweekly book discussions on fascinating titles such as Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Professor Stefan Hall hosts mead and beer brewing events. You can watch foreign films or brush up your French, German or Spanish with fellow students and professors. You can listen and contribute to discussions on a wide range of topics alongside community members downtown. Or watch your professors get into heated philosophical debates from the Reformation while personifying Luther and Erasmus. If exploring ways to apply your study of humanities to career fields is your interest, you can do an internship and find yourself doing any number of things, from teaching English to people from all over the world, to shadowing a lawyer in court, to learning how to introduce school kids to snakes at the Neville Public Museum’s reptile exhibit. You can even spend the summer venturing abroad to explore World War I trenches in France, Germany, and Belgium. There are so many opportunities to get involved with the Humanities program and the programs it relates to!

The first annual Untitledtown Book and Author Festival began with the Sheepshead Review launch party.

The first annual Untitledtown Book and Author Festival began with the Sheepshead Review launch party.

When I began my academic career here in Fall 2014, the History Club was starting up again. I worked in the Archives and Area Research Center which at the time was beginning to digitize their collections. Now there’s a Viking House on campus! The English department started UntitledTown, an annual book and author festival! Even the programs name changed from “Humanistic Studies” to “Humanities,” since this program and its disciplinary programs are all fields within the Humanities as well as this title being more widely recognizable.  To sum, the Humanities are blossoming at UWGB, pulling in more curious students and preparing them for a future of excitement, creativity, and wonder!

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