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A Publication of UC Irvine School of Humanities • Spring 2010

Going Digital By Maria Pantelia


n today’s digital age, searching through millions of books in a matter of seconds has become a trivial matter. To “google” is now a verb and part of our daily vocabulary. But 40 years ago the idea of putting 2,500 or more years of Greek literature into the computer sounded closer to the realm of science fiction than reality. The unthinkable became reality when, in 1972, UCI, still a young institution, received a million-dollar research gift to undertake the task of collecting and digitizing the complete canon of Greek literature from antiquity to the present era. The gift came from Marianne McDonald then a graduate student in Classics and now Professor of Theater and Classics at UCSD. At the time, McDonald was pursuing dissertation research on “terms of happiness” in the fifth-century BCE tragedian Euripides.

As the daughter of Eugene McDonald, founder of the Zenith Corporation, she understood the potential of technology and proposed the creation of a “machine readable” collection of texts. The need for such a collection had been in the minds of scholars for a very long time. During the 16th century, Henri Estienne (Stephanus), a French scholar and printer, produced a large lexicon known as the Thesaurus Graecae Linguae Parchment codex, tenth century CE. St. (‘Thesaurus of the Luke copying a text from a scroll to a Greek Language’). compact book codex. This lexicon remained the standard of lexicography for the next four centuries. In the late 1800’s the discovery of thousands

of new papyri in Egypt and the rise of modern textual criticism motivated European scholars to undertake the creation of new lexica for Greek and Latin. But the creation of such lexica required the manual gathering of a huge amount of data, so despite repeated efforts the project never came to fruition. It was the advent of modern technology and a young classicist’s search for the meaning of “happiness” that led to the creation of the TLG® or Thesaurus Linguae Graecae®. Unlike Estienne’s monumental lexicon, the TLG was not conceived as a dictionary but as a more flexible collection of digital texts that could be the basis for the compilation of lexica. The project was an extraordinary undertaking which required the development of standards and technologies that had never been tested before. David W. Packard, son of the co-founder of Hewlett Packard and an accomplished classicist, was the

architect of the original technical infrastructure, the so-called Ibycus system that was used to proofread and search the texts once they had been digitized. Today the TLG digital library includes all extant ancient and medieval works written in Greek, almost 4,000 authors from 15,000 works. As new critical editions appear and new texts are discovered, these are incorporated into the collection. Homer,

Marble inscription from Athenian Agora (“market-place’), first century CE. Most likely placed at entrance to the Titus Flavius Pantainos Library. It states that books cannot be checked out and the library is open from the first until the sixth hour.

Today the TLG digital library includes all extant ancient and medieval works written in Greek, almost 4,000 authors from 15,000 works.

Plato, Aristotle, the Greek dramatists, Galen, Hippocrates and other medical authors, the New Testament, the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), the Eastern Church Fathers, and the Justinian legal corpus are only a few of the TLG holdings, texts that have helped shape Western literature and thought. Distribution of TLG data to the scholarly community began with CD

World map with red dots indicating institutions that subscribe to the TLG.

ROMs in the mid 1980s—in 1985 the TLG distributed the first ever CD ROM that did not contain music—and culminated in today’s globally available web interface in 2001. Accessed by thousands of institutions and individuals in 58 countries around the world, the TLG has revolutionized research in the fields of classics, history, philosophy and religious studies. Taking advantage of the latest technologies, the TLG has become a model for sustainability, interdisciplinary research, and innovation in the digital humanities. Its more recent accomplishments include collaboration with the Unicode Consortium, which resulted in the encoding of all Greek characters as an international standard (ISO), and the development of a highly specialized search engine. Unlike Google and some other large digitization projects that focus on quantity, the TLG pays close attention to detail. Its texts are not scanned but are carefully keyed, encoded and extensively proofread. Data recognition is done automatically but also painstakingly checked for quality control. Accuracy

and precise organization of information is everything, especially for scholars in the academy who maintain highly demanding standards. It is this combination of quality and specialization which distinguishes the TLG project and which will ensure its longevity in the digital age. Users of the TLG can browse the texts online, many of which come from rare editions that exist only in remote libraries and special collections. At the inception of the project, scholars estimated that approximately 500 authors from the classical period survived and would need to be digitized. This number has now been multiplied by a factor of eight, and scholars have access to authors and Professor of German Anke Biendarra texts that they did not even know existed. But the greatest contribution of the TLG lies in its powerful search engine which makes it possible to search the corpus for the use of any dictionary form and its cognates. Without a computer, such a search would take years to complete. What makes things even more complicated, Greek is a highly inflectional language. A Greek noun has on average ten morphologically distinct forms, while a verb can have more than a thousand word-forms expressing tense, voice, mood, person, etc. In English the verb “to see” has only four morphologically distinct forms (see, sees, saw, seen). Entering “see” in a modern search engine will easily produce most of the possible hits. The verb “to see” in Greek has 1250 distinct forms due to dialectal and linguistic variation over twenty centuries of literature. Searching for all these occurrences manually would require 1250 searches assuming that the user knew all 1250 forms! Such a task would be practically impossible without the use of computer systems that are trained to recognize complex grammatical structures. If Marianne McDonald were to research terms of happiness today she would have a much easier, and happier, task. Using the TLG lexical database, she would obtain a list of all words that mean happiness in Greek in no time. Then the TLG would perform a search for all the terms in the entire corpus of Greek literature and return over 10,000 citations in two seconds. Instead of using her time compiling word lists and chasing down citations in the library, she would be able to focus on the interpretation of these forms. This past October the TLG celebrated its 37th anniversary at UCI. Speakers from around the world came to discuss the future of digital humanities. One thing emerged as quite certain: whatever happens down the road, the TLG will be part of the picture. What started out as a dream is now an internationally acclaimed research center.

Maria Pantelia, professor of classics, has been director of the TLG for the last fourteen years. She is an expert in Greek epic poetry and Hellinistic poetry. Her work has been published in the International Journal of Lexicography and the American Journal of Philology.

Maria Pantelia



he Real Housewives of Orange County, Grand Theft Auto, superhero collectibles, Juicy Couture fashion, anything starring Chuck Norris--and worse, the fans who adore them--why study such cultural detritus? As a scholar of popular culture, I routinely field variants of this question from students, colleagues, friends… pretty much anyone who deems him- or herself better than Those People. However, after some self-deprecating jokes and stealthy Jedi-style mind reversal, most of my genteel inquisitors sheepishly confess to indulging in one of the above or similar, supposedly unenlightened diversions. We have met our cultural Others, to paraphrase Walt Kelly’s Pogo, and they are us. Several dynamic processes are evident here: aggressive reproduction of social hierarchy; assertion of distinctions in taste and value; and anxious attribution to others of that which we find intolerable in ourselves, to identify the most obvious. Such workings demonstrate some of the ways in which popular culture is not simple but complex, indeed, demanding humanistic research and analysis. Yet its scholarly neglect has a long history. At least since the late-nineteenth century, the study of culture has been divided between, on one hand, the humanistic cultivation of arts and letters; and on the other hand, the social-scientific, anthropological pursuit of “traditional cultures” following their ostensibly fatal encounter with Western modernity. In contrast, when they weren’t ignored, commercialized leisure and vernacular entertainment were usually castigated as debased examples against

“These sites and forms of popular entertainment became the principal means by which working-class men and women... socialized and articulated their group identities.” which high culture in the industrializing West or ritual-andtradition in the colonial periphery was venerated. Liberal, conservative and even Marxist intellectuals tacitly colluded--albeit for different reasons-in their chronic Glen Mimura hostility to “mass culture” through the 1960s, at times in tandem with legalized morality such as prohibition and censorship.

and political-economic contexts. These critical tools remain vital for the humanities today. My research on pan-Asian transnational cultures elaborates on one facet of this history, especially since the 1960s as East-Asian economic ascendancy has generated transnational flows of commodities, ideas and art that have profoundly transformed American culture. Asian Americans have been central to the post-civil rights commercialization, politicization and fan culture reception of Asian popular cultures ranging from Anime, Canto-pop and boba tea cafes to import car customizing, the frozen yogurt craze

Educated opinion notwithstanding, popular “amusements” proliferated amidst growing urbanization. The nineteenth century witnessed the development of minstrel shows, vaudeville, amusement parks, dime novels, dime museums, world’s fairs, and popular photography; and the twentieth century gave rise to jazz, nightclubs, comic books, radio shows, cinema, rhythm and blues, television, and rock and roll. These sites and forms of popular entertainment became the principal means by which working-class men and women Giant Robot storefront in Manhattan. and others on the socioeconomic margins--racial and sexual minorities, immigrants and, especially after and Japanese “Superflat” art and design. I’m currently World War II, youth--socialized and articulated their researching the cultural work and entrepreneurialgroup identities. ism of Giant Robot (GR), an independent magazine that has become the most important trendsetter for By the late 1960s, these modes of cultural production Asian American popular culture today. Since 1999, and their mass reception neither devolved into the GR has established four brick-and-mortar stores that “end of civilization” nor extinguished political conhave helped to revitalize or expand their historically sciousness, as pessimistically predicted or feared. To “hip” urban enclaves: Sawtelle and Silverlake in Los the contrary, they powerfully animated and expressed Angeles; San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district; and the era’s political and cultural revolutions. In their Manhattan’s East Village. GR’s stores also double as wake, the emerging fields of media and cultural stud- gallery spaces for emerging Pop artists influenced by ies approached popular cultures from the bottom-up East-Asian popular cultures, and their impact on conby centering the perspectives and experiences of their temporary graphic arts and design is garnering critical participants. Given their wide reach and influence, praise and attention. in what ways and to what degree did these cultural forms and practices reproduce the status quo or enable social change? To address such issues, media and Continued on page 8... cultural studies developed interdisciplinary methods to describe and analyze the interrelations of texts, institutions and their audiences in cultural, historical

A Glimpse of Sylvia Reines


By Alisa Reines Cowden - September 2007

“I touch the future. I teach,” declared Christa McAliffe, the intrepid history teacher- turned astronaut. Though she perished in the 1986 Challenger disaster, her legacy and her words live on. Her familiar quote strikes me as particularly appropriate this year. The School of Humanities faculty dominated the campus Celebration of Teaching Awards. The honorees included Vinayak Chaturvedi and Emily Rosenberg (History), Maria Pantelia (Classics), Lynda Haas (English), and Linda Vo (Asian American Studies). In addition, Barry Siegel (Literary Journalism) was awarded the School of Humanities Teaching Award and Lynn Mally (History) received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Fostering Undergraduate Research. All bring a deep commitment to their students whether in English composition, world history, Greek mythology, or community internships. Recognized with the Dean’s Award, Vinayak Chaturvedi has excelled in Humanities Core, the school’s signature program. From Gandhi to South Asian hip hop, Chaturvedi’s lectures provide students with a sophisticated, yet accessible, understanding of modern India. Service learning remains an essential component of Linda Vo’s undergraduate courses in Asian American Studies. Mentoring student leaders across the campus and across Orange County, Vo has earned the first-ever campus-wide Civic Engagement Award. Now English composition can be just as intimidating for the instructors as well as for the undergraduates. The recipient of the TA Professional Development Award, Lynda Haas inspires and guides doctoral students who often get their first taste of teaching in composition. As one grateful mentee declared, “What I know about teaching. . .I learned from Lynda.” As the director of Humanities Out There, Lynn Mally is a dedicated and supportive mentor for undergraduate and doctoral students alike. An international expert in digital humanities, Maria Pantelia is the honoree for the campus Instructional Technology

Award. Devoting months of hard work, Pantelia transformed her popular mythology course that regularly draws over 400 undergraduates into an exciting, innovative online class. With imagination and verve, Pantelia has created a superb model for academic excellence in distance learning. The School of Humanities Teaching Award goes to Barry Siegel, the director of Literary Journalism. A Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, Siegel has led the fastest growing undergraduate Humanities major in the UC system with enrollment soaring from 7 majors five years ago to almost 300 today. With great pleasure, I announce that UCI’s Celebration of Teaching Professor of the Year is Emily Rosenberg. A distinguished scholar of international relations, Rosenberg makes U.S. history accessible and meaningful to the scores of students who enroll in her classes. These colleagues represent the truly global visions that animate UCI’s School of Humanities. I am humbled and gratified by their accomplishments. They represent the strong, vibrant teaching profile of our school. Please join me in congratulating our colleagues. Despite persistent budgetary constraints, we have reasons to cheer—the dedication of Humanities Gateway, the generosity of our Friends of Humanities ($800,000 in individual gifts), and now campus recognition of our instructional prowess.

Vicki L. Ruiz, Dean

Visit the School of Humanities Blog at for weekly updates highlighting news, events, faculty, students, and general happenings in the school.

BOOKSHELF The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is the fourth book from Aimee Bender (Programs in Writing, fiction 1998). Lemon Cake tells the story of Rose Edelstein, a young girl who on the eve of her ninth birthday bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. In Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, distinguished professor of English and comparative literature at UCI, writes about his experience growing up in Britishoccupied Kenya in the 1950s. Ngugi recalls a boyhood framed by his pursuit of education and by his developing awareness of African nationalist politics despite the ruling missionary and colonial forces “which always assumed the fragility of the African mind.” Set on the Mattaponi Indian Reservation and in its surrounding counties, the stories in Mattaponi Queen: Stories by Belle Boggs (Programs in Writing, fiction 2003) detail the lives of rural men and women with stark realism and plainspoken humor. A young military couple, a dying alcoholic attempting to reconcile with his estranged children, and an elderly woman’s nurse weathering life with her irascible charge.

FACULTY NOTES Developing Over the Years: An Interview with Professor of East Asian Languages & Literatures Martin Huang By Louise Truong, fourth-year literary journalism major Right after completing his PhD at Washington University, Martin Huang began his first teaching job in UC Irvine’s Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures (EALL). While working towards his B.A. in English in China at Shanghai International Laura Swendson/Humanities Martin Huang Studies University, he never once thought that he would one day be a professor in southern California – “a place with great weather.” Yet, the campus has remained his home for the last 20 years. “It is an experience that I would not want to give up,” Huang affirms. “I love the chance to do research I care about and also have the opportunity to interact with the students, especially when I am able to learn from those who have a completely different background than my own. This is what makes UCI such a unique, dynamic place.” When he arrived on campus in 1991, the EALL department had existed for only two years and had a grand total of three faculty members. The entire student population of UCI was only 17,000. As UCI grew, Professor Huang saw his department grow as well. He helped recruit other faculty members and has seen the department swell to 10 professors, with almost the same number of lecturers. Now serving as department chair, Professor Huang describes how “with the rising importance of East Asia, especially with China….the future of this department is very good.” One of Professor Huang’s proudest accomplishments at UCI has been the development of the East Asian Collection at the Langson Library. Before his arrival, the library had only a very small East Asian collection, but he sought out vendors in China and

helped create a substantial collection of books and other research materials now available to faculty and students researching and studying East Asia. Just as UCI has developed over the years, Professor Huang has seen his own scholarly pursuits expand as well. Before arriving at UCI, his research focused more on comparative literature. He’s since become an expert in Chinese narrative fiction and is also studying aspects of Chinese cultural history, particularly in relation to gender and men’s studies Through the years, Professor Huang’s love for literature and the humanities remains. “Literature is about the human being,” he emphasizes to his students. “It provides an opportunity to explore humans in a way that is different than in the social sciences or, say, biology. The study of humanities and of literature offers us a unique and even ‘virtual’ context (long predated and quite different from the virtual world generated by computer), in which we could examine how people interact with each other and behave in a particular cultural and historical setting. You learn to see things in a much more complicated manner because they are seldom as simple as black and white when properly historicized and contextualized. ”

Humanities and Honors: An Interview with Professor of German Gail Hart By C. Millie Lein, fourth-year literary journalism major When you ask UCI students about Professor Gail Hart, they inevitably tell you that she is gracious, kind, and lively. They recall her lectures for the Humanities Core Course, working with her in the Campuswide Honors Program, or taking one of her German classes. When Professor Hart walks on Ring Road, she smiles at any student who might be glancing her way – just in case they are one of the thousands of students who have passed through her classrooms over the years. Professor Hart arrived at UCI in 1990, and twenty years on, her favorite aspect of UCI is still the high quality of the students she interacts with daily. As director of the Campuswide Honors Program and instructor for the honors sections of the Humanities Core Course, Hart

works with the most driven undergraduates on campus. Current students, she says, are “multiply involved, more engaged than ever, they volunteer, they work with NGOs.” As director of the Humanities Core Course, Laura Swendson/Humanities Professor Hart was Gail Hart responsible for Humanities students’, and many non-Humanities students’, first introduction into writing critically and studying literature, history, and philosophy. Usually directed by faculty in three-year stints, when Hart began directing Humanities Core, she was only filling in for a colleague’s third year. However, she loved it, and decided to stay on for her own three-year term. When that ended, the dean of Humanities asked her to stay on for a second term. A single year term stretched to seven years until Hart passed the torch in 2007, making her the longest running director of the program. Besides directing Humanities Core, Professor Hart has served as Associate Dean of Humanities, director of International Education, and unsurprisingly, director of the Education Abroad Program in Germany. During the spring quarter, Professor Hart is teaching “Dark Secrets,” a German Literature in Translation course examining “dark” German literature, as well as fairy tales and zombie films. Hart’s current research focuses on the works of Friedrich Schiller, a German philosopher and poet, but does so in a very contemporary way. Working to resolve the contradictory elements within Schiller’s idea of “freedom,” Hart turns her attention to new forms of media and shows the similarities between Schiller’s “freedom” and the freedom created by video game design.

If you’re an undergraduate in the School of Humanities interested in interviewing a faculty member for publication in the next issue of Between the Lines, please contact Kristie Williams at for more information.

EVENTS Dates, times and locations subject to change. Please visit for up-to-date information about Humanities events. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

JUNE Koehn Lecture in Critical Theory: Slavoj Zizek “On the Public Use of Reason” Friday, June 4, 2010 - 5 p.m. Humanities Gateway 1030, UC Irvine Former candidate for the presidency of Slovenia, Slavoj Zizek is the international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in London. He is the author of over 50 books (translated into 20 languages) on topics ranging from philosophy to theology, film, opera and radical politics. Presented by the Critical Theory Institute. E-mail for more information. Graduate Hooding Ceremony - UCI Commencement Saturday, June 5, 2010 - 3:30 p.m. Bren Events Center, UC Irvine For doctoral and M.F.A. candidates. Featured student speaker is Tim Seiber, Ph.D. candidate in visual studies. Tickets not required for entry. Visit for more information. A Global Journey: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter Ian Johnson in Conversation with Angilee Shah Monday, June 7, 2010 - 1 p.m. Humanities Gateway 1030, UC Irvine Ian Johnson won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his coverage of China for the Wall Street Journal and Angilee Shah is a regular contributor to The China Beat. Presented by the Humanities Collective. Email for more information. School of Humanities Commencement Friday, June 11, 2010 - 11 a.m. Bren Events Center, UC Irvine With featured speaker Hector Tobar, ’95 M.F.A. alum and Los Angeles Times columnist, and student speaker Nancy My Nguyen. Tickets required for entry. Visit for more information.

Why Popular Culture? continued... At UCI, the wide-ranging revaluation of popular culture is pursued nowhere more innovatively and enthusiastically than in my department, film and media studies (FMS). Like my Asian American subjects who, via popular culture, transmute their racially-imposed, second-class status as “nerds” into a transnational Asian “cool,” my colleagues and I research and teach disreputable objects of study in ways that illuminate their cultural, economic, technological, political and, yes, even aesthetic significance. FMS’s responsibility, after all, is not to absolve cultural sinners of their guilty pleasures--whether highbrow, lowbrow, filmic or otherwise--but to teach skills with which to place them in historical context, think critically about them, and enjoy them with a vengeance. Glen Mimura is associate dean of graduate study and research, School of Humanities, and associate professor of film and media studies and Asian American studies. He is the author of Ghostlife of Third Cinema: Asian American Film and Video (University of Minnesota Press, 2009). In fall 2010, he will be teaching a graduate course on “Race, Representation, and Popular Culture.”

A Tradition of Giving “Office of the Dean a gift from LaVonne and Brian Smith,” reads the plaque outside Dean Vicki L. Ruiz’s office on the fourth floor of Humanities Gateway Building. While longtime Corona del Mar residents LaVonne and Brian Smith have only recently seen their name prominently displayed at the school, their involvement and commitment to the Humanities began more than fifteen years ago. LaVonne, who started at UCI while raising her family, graduated with her B.A. in English in 1994. The Smiths immediately became engaged with Humanities Associates, a former support group aimed at raising funds for student scholarships and fellowships, with LaVonne serving multiple terms on the Humanities Associates Advisory Board. The Smiths also began hiring Humanities student interns, through the Humanities Internship Program, to work at their own company, CareerSmith Inc., a premier executive search firm in the

engineering and construction industries. When the Humanities Out There (H.O.T.) program was developed in 1997, the Smiths immediately recognized its value and became champions for it in the local community. HOT brings innovative curriculum to select Orange School District classrooms with the purpose of enhancing critical thinking and writing skills as well as encouraging college-bound goals. To date, HOT has reached almost three thousand students in Santa Ana and Orange and sixty UCI graduate student leaders and LaVonne and Brian Smith over thirteen hundred undergraduate tutors have participated in this nationally recognized program. The Smiths opened up their home countless times to host events promoting HOT’s important educational work and created the school’s first endowment for HOT, which supports graduate student tutors working with the program. Julia Lupton, professor of English and former director of HOT, describes LaVonne as “a truly dedicated supporter of the humanities -- a life-long learner who brings her passion for literature and the arts to everything she does. Her belief in Humanities Out There and her willingness to support a fledgling program meant a great deal to me when I started working with public schools ten years ago.” Giving back to UCI has become a family affair for the Smiths. Their son Justin graduated with a degree in economics in 2005 and is currently working toward his MBA at the Paul Merage School of Business. He can be seen, along with one or more of his four sisters and the occasional Smith grandchild, pitching in to help at many of the events hosted by the Smiths at their home, whether it’s a Humanities Dean’s Advisory Council Salon or one of the Alumni Association’s Dinner for 12 Anteaters. Brian and LaVonne have clearly passed on a tradition of giving to their children and their support of the Humanities inspires all those around them.

Between the Lines is published quarterly by the UC Irvine School of Humanities Office of Development and Alumni Relations Humanities Gateway Building, Irvine, CA 92697-3376 Contact Kristie Williams at 949.824.1342 or to be added to the mailing list or to update your e-mail address.

Between the Lines Spring 2010  

Spring 2010

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