Editor’s Choice: Voices of Authority: Towards a history from below in patchwork

This post is intended to very briefly describe a project I am about halfway through – that seeks to experiment with the new permeability that digital technologies seem to make possible – to create a more usable ‘history from below’, made up of lives knowable only through small fragments of information.This particular project is called ‘Voices of Authority’, and is a small part of a larger AHRC funded project – The Digital Panopticon – that is seeking to digitise and link up the records reflecting everyone tried in London between around 1780 and 1875, and either sent to prison, or else transported to Australia.  This small element of the wider project is bringing together a series of different ways of knowing about a particular place, time and experience – the Old Bailey courtroom from around 1750-1850, and the experience of being tried for your life and for your liberty.  The conceit behind this project, is really a suggestion that building something in three dimensions, with space, physical form and performance, along with new forms of analysis of text; can change how we understand the experience of the trial process; and to allow a more fully empathetic engagement with defendants; along with a better understanding of how their experience impacted on the exercise of power and authority.This is only half completed project – so this is very muchy a report of ‘work in progress’.  But, in essence, what seeks to do is bring together three distinct different forms of ‘data’ and to re-organise those data around indivudual defendants.

Source: Voices of Authority: Towards a history from below in patchwork

This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief Amanda Regan based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: Anu Paul, Silvia Stoyanova, Scott Paul McGinnis, Chris Loughnane, Myriam Mertens, Amanda Asmus, Andrew Piper, Federica Bressan, and Beth Knazook