Thursday, December 13, 2012

Extreme academic freedom, or undergraduates decode mystery manuscript

An interdisciplinary team of librarians, professors, and Brown University undergraduate students working at the John Carter Brown Library have decoded some of the last known writing of Roger Williams, the religious dissident, abolitionist, and founder of the colony of Rhode Island and the First Baptist Church. The library had possessed a volume entitled "An Essay Towards the Reconciling of Differences Among Christians" containing Williams' hand written notes in the margins since the 1800's, but since the notes are written in an obscure shorthand, the writings had never been deciphered. An undergraduate math major, Lucas Mason-Brown, combined frequency analysis together with an understanding of the court stenography once used in England (in which Williams was trained) to work out Williams' system. The writings have proven to be of great historical significance, including twenty pages on the subject of infant baptism. You can read more about the decoding and what the team discovered in the Providence Journal and in the much fuller account on Slate.

We call attention to this remarkable project here as another example of the kind of interdisciplinary and intergenerational work that we have advocated in connection with the Homer Multitext. Next summer the Center for Hellenic Studies will host our third seminar devoted to training undergraduate and faculty teams of researchers, who will then help us to publish in its entirety for the first time the contents of the tenth-century manuscript of the Iliad known as the Venetus A. This years's seminar will include teams from six US institutions and one in the Netherlands.

I am proud to be an alumna of Brown, which is a University that has always exemplified what I would call "extreme academic freedom" coupled with an intense focus on undergraduate education. This project is a wonderful testament to what is possible in that kind of academic environment. Stay tuned for a forthcoming post on the place of undergraduate research in the realm of Digital Humanities, in which we will highlight more examples of this kind of groundbreaking work by undergraduates.

2 comments:

  1. An interdisciplinary team of librarians, professors, and Brown University undergraduate students working at the John Carter Brown Library have decoded some of the last known writing of Roger Williams, the religious dissident, abolitionist, and founder of the colony of Rhode Island and the First Baptist Church. technology journal

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  2. اهم شركات نقل العفش والاثاث بالدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
    شركة نقل عفش بجدة
    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بالطائف
    شركة نقل عفش بمكة

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