Thursday, January 31, 2013

Digital Research Day #2

Hello, Everyone:

In advance of Tuesday's class, I ask that you spend (at least) 20 minutes familiarizing yourself with the second digital research activity sheet, which is uploaded to Blackboard and focuses on the online Concordance. The activity invites you to search Locke and Vico, anticipating ways of bringing them into conversation, while also observing how you can do this via digital concordance. Please just get as far as you can with it and stop when you need to.

Like Locke, Vico will be very interested in language in use, which causes some revisionary historians to treat him as an early discourse theorist. So, based on the searching that Alex and Internet Archive allow you to do, I will ask you to discuss in class how you think Vico is important as a rhetorical player and how his theory diverges from Locke’s.

Here are some questions we may turn to in class on Tuesday:

1) Does Vico think that
  • sign systems are arbitrary or universal?
  • the mind precedes language or arises with language?
  • we go to language to discover “real” cultural and sociological theories about a nation or to discover ways that truths are distorted?
  • rhetoric is potentially a threat to probability and a harm to inquiry, or a help to probability and a guide to inquiry?
  • ingenuity is seen in metaphor or in imagination?
  • we should be more concerned with training youth for civic action or with the ways in which knowledge becomes incorporated into social institutions?
  • the poet is a scientist or a creationist?

2) How did the evidence from your concordance search enable you to answer one of the goal questions on your activity sheet? How did it enable you to answer any of the questions above?

3) Both tools enable the same kind of searching, although one tool was obviously built to be a concordance, while the other was not. What are the affordances and limitations of one over the other? What kinds of historical queries do you think each one would encourage? 

I really look forward to this,

-Dr. Graban

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