Last night was the final McFarlin Fellows Dinner of the school year. As my last one I will attend, it was both fun and a little bittersweet. My fellow Graduate Assistants and I invited the two new students who will take over our positions next year. It was really great to get to introduce them to some of the donors and to get to know them a bit. The evening was a nice send off for us and a wonderful welcome for the new Graduate Assistants.
The delightful dinner prepared by Chef Tim Anderson and served by the lovely catering staff was followed by a lecture given by Dr. Jeff Drouin. Dr. Drouin is an associate professor in the English department at The University of Tulsa. He studies British and Irish modernist literature and the impact that the First World War had on them. In his lecture, Dr. Drouin addressed the impressive WWI holdings that McFarlin Special Collections has and the many projects that he and his students have done with them. Dr. Drouin is interested in the digital humanities and how these can help us learn more about archival holdings and to help research be spread more widely. One of the projects he discussed was a study that he and his students did of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Wasteland. They utilized two different publications of the poems that Special Collections holds, the original British and the original American publications. They used digital mapping systems to analyze how the poem incorporated aspects of different religious traditions and how those belief systems are related to one another. They then turned their focus to how the poem fit in with the other writings in the periodicals in which they were published. The students displayed the different places that contributors were from by mapping their locations out on Google maps in order to explore any relations between the authors, their locations, and their inspirations for their works.
The McFarlin Fellows are an important part of the library that help sustain our collections through their tireless efforts.