Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Bocking, B
UCC Study of Religions Dept Staff/Postgraduate Research Seminar series
Collaborative research and digital resources; opportunities and problems for early-career researchers in the study of religions
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
Since 2009, when 'digital humanities' was still very new, Brian Bocking has been engaged in collaborative research with scholars in Ireland, Canada and Japan which focuses on 'transnational' religious actors; in particular the 19th/20th century Irish Buddhists Charles Pfoundes and U Dhammaloka who were significant in their time but forgotten by subsequent history. The research has meant delving into many newly-available digital humanities resources in order to piece together from scattered and multilingual fragments the lives of otherwise forgotten religious figures and events. There is now an ever-multiplying quantity of such searchable data from thousands of national and local newspapers, magazines, missionary journals, document archives, out-of-print books and similar 'grey' publications which may always have existed somewhere but, until digitised, were in practice inaccessible as a whole to scholars. Investigating such materials normally requires the range of specialisations only ever found in a team rathr than a single individual, and meanwhile collaboration rather than 'lone scholar' research has become almost a prerequisite for securing research funding. While the advent of searchable digital materials has opened up entirely new and valuable frontiers in research for the coming generation of scholars, overturning many conventional narratives, collaborative research as a process has its own potential pitfalls, not least that research teams are seldom composed of equals, while individual scholars at every career stage are still asked 'what of this is your own'? This talk looks at the remarkable new vistas opened up by the digitisation of resources and identifies some of the issues arising in collaborative research particularly for postgraduate and early-career scholars.