Welcome! As you can see from the banner, my name is Matthew Davis. Currently, I am the ZKS-Lendrum Assistant Professor (Research) in the Scientific Study of Manuscripts and Inscriptions at Durham University's Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. While here at Durham I'm working on my virtual archive of the works of the fifteenth-century poet John Lydgate with a particular focus on transcription of his "mummings" and "disguisings," works that were likely quasi-dramatic in nature. Additionally, using that as a basis I am working on recovering additional quasi-dramatic works via frequency distributional and cluster analysis. Prior to this I served as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Lewis and Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship at McMaster University, a Lindsey Young Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University of Tennessee's Marco Institute, and served as the Council for Library and Information Resources/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies at North Carolina State University. While at North Carolina State I worked as part of the team on two similar projects—the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive and the Siege of Jerusalem Electronic Archive, as well the Manuscript DNA project and the Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance, an aggregator and discussion space for digital scholarly and cultural heritage work regarding the Middle Ages. Which is all a very long-winded way of saying I think quite a bit about medieval stuff, in particular the relationship between texts, people, and spaces. Beyond the medieval, I also think about digital space and what it means when we purposely cut ourselves off from the physical reality of the things we interact with. I think it's something we don't consider nearly enough in the pursuit of universalizing Truth—the situatedness of our lived experiences and what the connections that situatedness engenders mean for our understanding.
For the most part this website exists to tell people a little about myself and to provide links to the more substantive scholarly work I do both in print and online: my C.V., the articles I've written, the public scholarship I've undertaken, my set of digital humanities axioms, and the various digital projects I work on. Primarily this is the aforementioned archive, but also includes various visualizations I’ve done either to help me think through questions that lead to formal journal articles or as a means to critique what I see as an overemphasis on style over substance in the practice of the digital humanities. Links to all of those can be found through the tabs at the top of the screen. There are also links to places I'm affiliated with either physically, in the case of the institutions I've worked at, or digitally, in the case of Humanities Commons and other locations where I maintain an active or semi-active digital presence.
This site also serves to provide short, informal pieces that grow out of my teaching and research, the tools I use in the practice of that work, and my thoughts about the state of the profession writ large. Links to these pieces appear on the right hand side in color-coded boxes. Outside of these informal writings, my more formal scholarly interests are largely in the materiality of place and space as it relates to fifteenth and early-sixteenth century medieval drama and hagiography, the East Anglian cult of St. Mary Magdalene, and what I call Conceptual Scripture—the set of commonly understood meanings surrounding Biblical exegesis built upon but not directly taken from the Bible as a book. The larger intellectual project that all of this work falls under is an interest in cultural transmission through translation and reception, and one way that I explore that is through the interplay between material and digital curation.