Innovative Pedagogy Interview Series
A Conversation with Postdoctoral Fellow, Paul Evans
Post-Doctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities
- M.A.R., Yale Divinity School, History of Christianity
- B.A., University of California, San Diego, History
Paul Evans is the Humanities Center Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities. He is a PhD candidate (ABD) in Medieval Studies at The Catholic University of America, where his dissertation proposal was the first to be approved in the digital humanities. He was previously a graduate research assistant at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland, where he worked as a programmer on the NEH-funded ActiveOCR project. Paul also holds an M.A.R. in the History of Christianity from Yale Divinity School. His 16-year technical and IT management career in Silicon Valley was dedicated primarily to designing, deploying, and operating large-scale server environments for Internet startups. An important part of his motivation for returning to academia was to apply the skills he had acquired in his technical career to the humanities. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Paul will work with USD administrators and faculty to establish a Digital Humanities program within the new Humanities Center, and he will collaborate with faculty and students on developing and implementing digital research projects. In spring 2016, he will teach a new course, Introduction to Digital Research (English 294).
Paul is currently writing his dissertation on Gratian's Decretum (c. 1140). The Decretum was the foundational textbook for the study of canon law throughout medieval Europe, and was the first text written specifically for the purpose of university teaching. The project incorporates statistical analysis of common function words for authorship attribution, and analysis of unique words to distinguish layers of composition.
Areas of Interest
In spring 2016, Paul will teach a new course, English 294, Introduction to Digital Research. 70 years ago, Vannevar Bush's article "As We May Think" laid out a sweeping vision for a future of technology-enabled research. Taking Bush's vision as its starting point, Introduction to Digital Research will combine hands-on skills-based learning with reading, critical thinking, and writing about digital research.