Culture, Commerce & Environment: Iceland and the North Atlantic in a Global World

The Digital Humanities program aims to equip students for the global marketplace by developing skills to communicate using multi-modal digital methods. In this project, students will explore the humanities – and learn how to represent cultural nuances of the North Atlantic – through the use of information technology skills such as big data analysis, data visualization, and cross-platform communication. Students will gain workplace competency based on interdisciplinary knowledge from the sciences and humanities and will gain real-life applications in marketing, business communication, and humanities-centered entrepreneurialism. The project is divided into three segments that showcase the strength of Digital Humanities in the North Atlantic.

Piribeck’s project, The Moving Tides: An Arctic Journey studies the implications of climate change and sea level rise in Maine and the North Atlantic region. It is based upon the premise that effective communication will be crucial in addressing the changes happening in the Arctic, and that art can communicate across national and cultural borders in ways that are different from, but complementary to science. Her project is inspired by Josephine Peary’s memoir “My Arctic Journal.” Peary’s journal chronicles an 1891/92 expedition with explorer Robert Peary along the west coast of Greenland. Piribeck casts backward and forward in time, using a blend of artistic imagery and scientific information to interpret relationships between culture, commerce and the environment. She will present with Professors Libby Bischof and John Muthyala at the 2018 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik.

Muthyala is developing a web platform where rigorous humanities work can be published using multi-modal methods. Traditionally, writing has been the primary and most credible method of meaning-making in academia, while the other four recognized modes of understanding established in the field of rhetoric studies are neglected. The platform will experiment with all methods of communication and will add a degree of legitimacy to work being published using these methods. The platform will feature Muthyala’s own research in the role of coastal societies in culture, which he is developing with John Gillis. The feature will be framed as a dialogue between the two experts.

Bischof’s research compares cultural and geological experiences of Maine and Iceland through 19th and 20th century photography. Bischof is analyzing the ways in which these cultures have created and used a sense of regional identity. She is exploring the impact of the modernization of these societies and the cultural traditions that have evolved or\ remained to develop an understanding of the visual culture of the North Atlantic. Bischof is also working with private and public institutions to digitize large photographic archives that are not easily accessible to the public.