Supporting the Digital Humanities, CNDLS Welcomes Senior Fellow Emily Francomano

We are pleased to introduce CNDLS’ newest Senior Fellow, Emily Francomano. Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and core faculty member of the Comparative Literature and Medieval Studies Programs, Francomano is focusing on work that supports the Digital Humanities. Below, read our short interview with her.

Welcome Emily! Please share your background and your research interests.

I am a scholar of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. My research revolves around three interrelated key subjects in medieval and sixteenth-century cultural production: translation, book cultures, and gender studies. While I focus mainly on the intersections of these three themes in the literature and history of the Iberian Peninsula, I continually draw upon my background as a comparatist in my analyses of how certain narratives, particularly those about gender identities, are told and re-told in many different literary and material forms, from medieval manuscripts to film. Current projects include The Libro de Buen Amor/Book of Good Love Online, a digital, interactive, and bilingual edition. As Principal Investigator of this project, I am working in collaboration with my colleague Heather Bamford (George Washington University) and training graduate students in Digital Humanities methodologies. One of the advantages of digital editions is that they can be many different kinds of editions at the same time by containing multiple views and versions of a single work. The Libro de Buen Amor/Book of Good Love Online will provide the editorial and scholarly apparatus needed by experts while also addressing students in a user friendly fashion that makes medieval texts and manuscripts readable for them.

I am also currently writing Timely Negotiations, a book on Neomedievalism in Spanish film and television. The adaptation of a pre-modern work, be it in film, television, or theater, always reflects the desire to make the past relevant and politically present for contemporary audiences. Relevance is, of course, in the eyes of the adapter and the beholder, who may or may not agree. Mass media adaptations of canonical literature and historiography abound with historical inaccuracies and simplifications. However, as I see it, it is precisely in the anachronisms of neomedieval adaptations where we can see how why the Middle Ages matter so much to the present. Neomedievalism, as both an aesthetic and political category, expresses how moderns desire the past to have been in order to explain the present.

What work is CNDLS doing that you’re particularly excited about?

What am I not excited about? I’ve been involved with CNDLS programs for years now, including Thresholds of Writing, Thresholds and Bottlenecks, the Doyle Program, Design Lab, the Faculty Domains Cohort, and ITEL. During my time at Georgetown, CNDLS has continually offered programs that have helped me to continually innovate my teaching methods, especially in terms of using technology.

Can you describe the type of work you’ll be doing as the CNDLS Senior Fellow for digital humanities?

As CNDLS Senior Fellow for digital humanities, I will be learning about and advocating for the Digital Humanities on campus and also working to bring faculty and students with interests in the digital humanities together. There are many great projects in the digital humanities underway on campus, which have by and large evolved in isolation.  I am now programing a Faculty Learning Community on the Digital Humanities, where faculty can share interests, projects and methods.  I am also working to develop a certificate program in the Digital and Public Humanities for graduate students, who increasingly find that experience in DH is not only a way to enhance their teaching and research but also a real advantage on the job market.