Sarah and Maria are research assistants on Michael Ullyot‘s SSHRC-funded project, “Encoding Shakespeare.” In Summer 2013 their research focuses on Phase 1 of this project, designing the Zeugmatic, a text-analysis tool capable of identifying Shakespeare’s rhetorical figures. This initial phase focuses on simple figures of repetition. It is the first step towards making the Zeugmatic extensible to the entire EEBO-TCP corpus, and the more complex figural patterns of substitution and variation that will require natural language processing (e.g. zeugmas). Sarah will present a paper on the Zeugmatic project at the Early Modern Texts: Digital Methods and Methodologies conference at the University of Oxford in September 2013.
This Sarah’s second year as a research assistant. Her work began in 2011, when she helped Dr. Ullyot design and implement a first-year Shakespeare course in which students analyzed Hamlet using online text analysis tools. Sarah is also a recipient of the University of Calgary’s PURE Award, which will allow her to make the Zeugmatic her full-time work this summer. In the fall, she will be pursuing an M.Phil. in Medieval and Renaissance Literature on Shakespeare’s quartos and folios at the University of Cambridge.
Maria has just finished her third year of her English degree, and this fall (2013) she will begin writing her honours thesis under the supervision of Jacqueline Jenkins and Michael Ullyot, on women’s reading communities in late medieval England.
The opportunity to work as RAs has transformed Sarah and Maria’s experiences at the U of C, equipping them with invaluable research and time-management skills, exposing them to new critical methodologies (digital humanities), and informing their own academic interests. Their undergraduate education has been inestimably enriched by the research opportunities provided by the wide-ranging research interests of the English Department, as they have both been able to pursue research in innovative and vibrant fields. They are very grateful for the support provided by the staff and the tight-knit community of students and staff of the Faculty of Arts.
The Zeugmatic is both a challenging project that will require expert advice and public input; Maria and Sarah will blog regularly over the next four months to update their unfolding questions as well as their progress. Follow the project @TheZeugmatic on Twitter, or by visiting the blog: http://zeugmatic.org/.