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Find Anything Cool at the Library?

One of the goals of the Kluge Center is to make the Library of Congress accessible to researchers, who can investigate and highlight the treasures it holds. In that spirit, I asked our scholars “Have you found anything cool at the Library recently?” These are their responses.

Susan Schneider, Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology, Exploration, and Scientific Innovation: I’ve been pouring through the Congressional Research Service reports, which are available online and are bringing me up to date on the goings on of Congress, and especially, science and technology policy.

Greg Afinogenov, Kluge Fellow: I did find a cool thing – indications that the library might possess a copy of Karl Marx’s Capital once owned by Tsar Alexander II.

A card in the Library of Congress card catalog listing a copy of Karl Marx’s Capital once owned by Tsar Alexander II (Credit: Greg Afinogenov)

Yiling Shi, Intern, New York University: For the past few weeks, I have been working on the smart cities projects initiated by two technology giants in China: Huawei and Alibaba. It was super interesting to explore how they have designed their projects and how the world composed of intelligent cities would look according to their blueprints.

It surprised me to find that we can gain a new perspective on city development by tracing the smart city approach the city has adopted and is adopting. What are the weak points? What are the areas that have been/will be focused on to strengthen? And also based on all of these, what level of development the city is currently in plus what development path it is pursuing?

As a student majoring in urban studies, I was gratified to see the connections between my academics and the research for the internship. I have learned and benefited a lot recently, and I really appreciate that!

D. Andrew Johnson, J Franklin Jameson Fellow in American History: One thing I’ve been working on is the earliest history of South Carolina with respect to the enslavement of Native Americans. The first attempt at colonizing Carolina was in 1663 when some “adventurers” from New England set up an outpost along the Cape Fear River.

Well, these folks weren’t up for too much of an adventure because they abandoned the colony within weeks of arriving. The next year, a group of Barbadians attempted to do the same thing in what seems to be almost the same location. An issue for the Barbadians was that they could not have picked a worse time to set up a distant colony. Shortly after they landed at Cape Fear, the Second Anglo-Dutch War broke out, which was in many ways a naval war, so shipping supplies to the colony became even more dangerous than the threats from weather and pirates that were common in the era.

To make matters worse, a terrible outbreak of bubonic plague hit London and then the Great Fire of London hit in 1666 and burned something like a third of the city. The Lords Proprietors, who owned and administered Carolina, had other things on their mind than what was happening at Cape Fear.
Well, as the colonists became more desperate, they made the worst mistake they could have: they went to war with the local Native peoples, who we call Cape Fears (who scholars think were the eastern-most of the Siouan peoples in the region). The colonists at the first Charles Town also decided to enslave Cape Fears and sell them to other colonies, which finally made the outpost untenable. The Barbadians finally abandoned Cape Fear, but some of the same people tried again a few years later at what turned out to be the permanent center of South Carolina.

There are records showing that within a year of founding the 1670 iteration of Charles Town, colonists were back at enslaving Native Americans again, which would turn into the most-profitable undertaking in the colony for over forty years until the supply of captives in large part dried up.

Yuwu Song, Kluge Staff Fellow: I found LC Stacks (//stacks.loc.gov/) is interesting and helpful since it provides a useful full-text searchable platform to find relevant research materials online faster and more easily.

Will AI Become Conscious? A Conversation with Susan Schneider

Susan Schneider is associate professor of philosophy and the director of the A.I., Mind and Society Group at the University of Connecticut. She was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Kluge Center in the spring and will be back in residence as the Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology beginning in October 2019. She […]

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This is a guest post by Patrick Egan (Pádraig Mac Aodhgáin), a researcher and musician from Ireland, former Kluge Center Fellow in Digital Studies and currently on a Fulbright Tech Impact scholarship. He recently submitted his PhD in digital humanities with ethnomusicology to University College Cork. Patrick’s interests over the past number of years have […]

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The following post was written by Meghan Ferriter and originally appeared on The Signal. Patrick Egan is a scholar and musician from Ireland, currently serving as Kluge Fellow in Digital Studies at the Kluge Center. He has recently submitted his PhD in digital humanities with ethnomusicology in at University College Cork. Patrick’s interests over the […]

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This is a guest post by Helen Margetts, John W. Kluge Center Chair in Technology and Society at the Library of Congress. Margetts is a Professor of Internet and Society at the University of Oxford, and served as Director of the Oxford Internet Institute from 2011 to 2018. Her most recent book, “Political Turbulence: How […]

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As Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education Tahir Hemphill’s year at the John W. Kluge Center ends, he took the time to share his reflections on his experience with us at The Library of Congress. Hemphill’s capstone event, playtest, was a daylong social sculpture exploring the application of virtual and augmented reality to the humanities, education […]

Can Big Data Save Us from Ourselves? A Conversation About Information, Democracy, and Dystopia

On a rainy day in late spring, a pan-Asian noodle restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue offered the perfect nook for a spirited conversation about big data, algorithms, and the construction of our legal and social realities. Among those at the table with me were Martin Hilbert, who was a Kluge Distinguished Visiting Scholar and is Associate […]

Emoji, Texting and Social Media: How Do They Impact Language?

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Cross-Cultural Links in Modern Computing

“The humanistic inquiry and innovation may appear to be independent of one discipline to another. Yet they weave a more interconnected story as well as demonstrate the pervasiveness of digital technologies in modern culture.” -Jennifer Baum Sevec In her lecture “It From Bit: Cross-Cultural & Interdisciplinary Links in Modern Computing,” Kluge Staff Fellow Jennifer Baum […]