SEEEPS at ESPRit conference Summer 2016

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Conference schedule available!

Decoding the Periodical: A Workshop in Slavic, East European and Eurasian
Periodical Studies
Princeton University, March 27, 2015

All panels & keynote held in 245 East Pyne.

11-12:30pm / Panel 1: Seeing Readership

Yelizaveta Raykhlina (Georgetown University)
The Expanded Readership of Two Early 19th-century Russian Periodicals
Colleen Lucey (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
The Portrayal of Prostitutes and Courtesans in Russian 19th-century Periodicals
Karla Huebner (Wright State University)
Gentleman: An Interwar Czech Consumer Magazine
Discussant / Jindřich Toman (University of Michigan)

1:30-2:30pm / Panel 2: Mediations of Russian Modernism
Jon Stone (Franklin & Marshall College)
Between Little Magazine and Thick Journal: Approaches to Russian Modernist Periodicals
Sarah Krive (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
Periodic(al) Parody: Akhmatova’s Fate in the Post-Revolutionary Press
Discussant / Olga Peters Hasty (Princeton University)

2:45-4:15pm / Panel 3:  Regional Circulation, Global Exchange
Meghan Forbes (University of Michigan)
ReD, Pásmo and Disk: The Interwar Czech Periodical as Platform for International Exchange
Ksenia Nouril (Rutgers University)
Production-Reproduction: Modernist Photography and its Circulation through the Lens of the Thomas Walther Collection
Alex Moshkin (University of Pennsylvania)
Israeli-Russian Periodicals 1995-2015: Networks, Aesthetics and Ideologies
Discussant / Katherine Hill Reischl (Princeton University)

4:30-6pm Keynote Lecture
Nicholas Sawicki (Lehigh University)
Avant-Garde Fissures in the Modern Czech Art Press: Traces in the Printed and the Digital

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Conference Keynote! Nick Sawicki on Czech Avant-Garde Magazines

We are very excited that Nicholas Sawicki, the Frank Hook Assistant Professor of Art History at Lehigh University, will present the keynote lecture “Avant-Garde Fissures in the Modern Czech Art Press: Traces in the Printed and the Digital” at the Decoding the Periodical conference on Friday March 27th in Princeton

Time: 4:30pm
Place: 245 East Pyne


This presentation examines the radicalization of modern art periodicals in the years before World War I. Focusing on the prominent Czech magazines Volné směry (Free Directions) (1896-1949) and Umělecký měsíčník (Art Monthly) (1911-1914), it considers key moments in the history of the two periodicals, when they began to transcend their own stated role as publications of the specialized art press, and to manifest avant-garde qualities more typically associated with periodicals of the interwar avant-garde.

Both magab8bb57194449e7afdfcfb6f30774eab385af57cazines were initially designed to appeal to the broadest possible constituency of the art-going public, but successively sharpened their artistic and editorial positions in the early 1910s. They radicalized their content and reoriented to a more circumscribed readership, and the editorial inclusiveness and compromise needed to sustain their operation and popularity as leading art magazines gave way to conflict and division.

indexTracing these instances of avant-garde fissure, the presentation also looks closely at how our contemporary understanding of episodes such as these is mediated by the multiple forms of access that we have today to the periodical as an object of study: as printed original; as transcribed, translated, and anthologized text; and increasingly as digital facsimile, available in a growing number of online repositories of digitized periodicals. Volné směry and Umělecký měsíčník have recently been added to the digital collection of the Princeton University Library’s Blue Mountain Project.

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CFP AATSEEL 2016 – Digital Humanities and Linguistic Research

A Czech and Digital Humanities panel that may be of interest to SEEEPS members.

CFP: Digital Humanities and Linguistic Research: Czech Varieties at Home and Abroad for the 2016 AATSEEL Conference (January 7-10, 2016 in Austin, Texas)

Submission requirements: Title, 300-word (at the most) abstract; your affiliation and contact information.

Title of the session: As above (though subject to revision/shaped by the accepted papers)

Description of the session:
This interdisciplinary session will explore the relationship between language corpora and language documentation and demonstrate the promise this tool holds for analyzing the Czech language from both theoretical and applied linguistic perspectives.

Please send your submissions by March 15.

Send submissions to Lida Cope: COPEL@ECU.EDU

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Politics and Periodicals, 2015 ESPRit Conference CFP

ESPRit, the European Society for Periodical Research will hold its 4th International conference in Stockholm in September. See the CFP below for details.
Download conference poster here: Politics and Periodicals Poster.

Call for Papers: 2015 ESPRit Conference

Politics and Periodicals

The 4th International Conference of the European Society for Periodical Research (ESPRit)

10-11 September 2015

Stockholm, Sweden

The European Society for Periodical Research (ESPRit) will hold its 4th international conference in Stockholm, Sweden, on 10-11 September 2015.

Its theme of Politics and Periodicals seeks to bring together current research on the connections between politics – most concretely, political or social movements – and individual or groups of periodicals. We welcome comparative cross-national perspectives as well as more local studies of European periodicals of any period on topics which may include but are not limited to

  • Periodicals started by social or political movements
  • Social or political movements invigorated by periodicals
  • Periodicals devoted to political theory/political science; that is, periodicals explicitly about politics
  • Periodicals as party organs
  • Politicians as editors/contributors
  • Periodicals and political reputations
  • Politicised conflict and controversy between periodicals

We are keen to bring together postgraduates and early-career researchers with more experienced scholars, and aim to present a programme that includes various modes of engagement with research in the field: panels, round tables, workshops, etc.

Please send proposals for 20-minute papers, panels of three or four papers, round tables, one-hour workshops or other suitable sessions and short biogs by 1 June 2015 to


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Decoding the Periodical: Abstracts online!

We have posted the abstracts for our March conference, Decoding the Periodical. The array of topics covered highlight aspects of Russian and Czech 19th, 20th and 21st century periodical culture from a range of interpretive frameworks – including literary studies, history, gender studies, art history, material culture, and digital humanities.

Conference schedule will be posted soon.

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Step 1: making my Russian texts machine readable

As is often the case with DH projects, my current endeavor has involved going back to an older research project, and resurrecting and reformatting ideas and materials that I haven’t looked at in a while.

FullSizeRenderA few years ago I started working with the journal Novosel’e (I’ll write another post about my research question and its evolution), and was able to physically locate the entire run – 35 issues bound together in 7 volumes – and spent hours (hours) at the Electronic Text Services Center at Columbia University (now the Digital Humanities Center) scanning every single page.

So when I came back to this project a few months ago, I had PDFs of every issue at my disposal, and didn’t have to go though the time-consuming process of creating them. But what to do with these PDFs? What is the most efficient and effective way to make them machine readable and machine-actionable?

Luckily I could ask my multitalented colleague at the Princeton CDH, Ben Johnson, for advice. He sat down and helped me figure out how to extract clean text from those PDFs that could be plugged in, processed, and analyzed by the programs and tools I’m interested in.

The best text files will be created when images are black/white (not color or greyscale) and at a resolution of about 300dpi. By using image editing software you can clean up the  images (cropping out edges and noise on the margins) will help. I chose not to spend the time cropping the text – my images seemed clean enough.

The next step was gauging the quality of the OCR. There are many options for OCR –  such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, ABBYY FineReader, OmniPage, Google’s Tesseract, etc.. Since I created  my files in Adobe Acrobat Pro, that’s what I first used to OCR my texts. The result was not great, and certainly not good enough to create the clean text that I require.

I then ran my PDFs through ABBYY FineReader and got much better results. What was so much better? This software seems to read and understand Russian, is good at recognizing and “guessing” words, and even puts together words split at the end of a line (ABBYY is headquartered in Moscow btw). These are all very important for creating machine-actionable texts that can be read and analyzed at the word-level.

So the takeaway from this post is: use ABBYY to OCR your Russian texts.

Anyone have any other experiences?

In the next post I’ll describe how I plan to model my data, and which tools I will use to encode it.


DH tools & technologies for Russian émigré periodicals

As part of my R&D time at Princeton’s Center for Digital Humanities during the Spring 2015 semester, I will be turning my attention to the Russian émigré journal Novosel’e (Housewarming), published by Sofia Pregel in New York between 1942 and 1950, and testing out how some of today’s widely-used digital humanities tools and technologies can help me learn more about Russian emigre periodical culture.

My aim is to run my corpus of Russian-language text and metadata through tools for text analysis, processing and visualization (e.g. NLTK, TextBlob, Voyant), markup and analysis (e.g. CATMA), named entity recognition (e.g. Stanford NER), topic modeling (e.g. MALLET), and network analysis (e.g. Gephi, Raw, Palladio).

I’ll document my process in a series of blog posts on SEEEPS in the hopes that this may be helpful to other scholars curious about how digital humanities methodologies can shed light on Slavic and East European periodical studies.

Stay tuned!