Michelle S James, Humanities and Dr. Cindy Patey Brewer, German and Russian
Without funding there would be no Sophie project, which is why the first item in this report on the Sophie activities during 2013 must again be an expression of our gratitude to both the ORCA office and to the College of Humanities, on behalf of the faculty members involved, and particularly, on behalf of the many students whose lives have been enriched in numerous ways by their Sophie work. We are aware of the many projects vying for your attention and funding, and are particularly grateful for the support you have given this project over the years. Your grants have enriched the education and scholarship of over 140 students who have been directly employed by the project, as well as numerous others who have been involved in Sophie scholarship through classes and internships. In addition, your generosity has enhanced the research and learning of thousands of individuals across the world who regularly make use of the Sophie online library.
Our Sophie Star success for 2013 was Alec Smith, who began working on the Sophie Project when he first came to BYU. Alec’s motivation, organizational skills, technical expertise, and enthusiasm for the project have lifted him from his beginnings as a proofreader, to the position of webmaster for the Sophie Library, and student director of the Recke collected works project. During the summer of 2013, while he was searching for some needed Recke texts, Alec discovered the travel journals of Ida Pfeiffer. Since he has studied Chinese, Alec’s interest was caught by Pfeiffer’s account of her encounters with China; with mentoring from Dr. James, he developed and finished a capstone project based on these journals. But he went even further than this. Since he is applying to graduate programs in Europe and needed a research area, Alec continued to collect all of Pfeiffer’s writings, including reviews of her travel journals written by her contemporaries, and newspaper reports of her journeys through various countries; with this beginning, he was able to create research proposals which can carry him through his Masters and even Doctoral work. If his academic trajectory allows, he will continue to collaborate with the Sophie Project as he moves into his post-graduate career. Alec’s experience illustrates clearly the power of mentored research to change a student’s life.
The Critically Annotated Collected Works of Elisa von der Recke
With the exception of money used for supplies such as photocopying, postage, permissions, the purchase of out-of-print books, and a small contract for an off-campus editor, all funding in 2013 was applied to student wages. As outlined in our Mentoring Environments Grant proposal, the predominant focus of our work during 2013 has been the Critically Annotated Collected Works of Elisa von der Recke.
Volume I of the critical edition is the most significant, and therefore has taken the most time, because it includes the introduction to the entire collected works, a chronology and biographical sketch of Recke’s life, a bibliography of primary and secondary works connected with Recke, a photo gallery, and an essay detailing portraits and busts of Recke, in addition to the critical annotations to the texts. With a project this large (Volume I contains over 2,000 pages), it has taken endless hours to bring the work to the point of completion. However, except for the last details of finalizing the annotations, and bibliography, which will be done by Katharina Burton through a proposed ORCA project, and the finalization of the texts in E-book form by Alec Smith, at this point the part of Volume I which could be successfully undertaken by student researchers is essentially finished. Our plan for 2013 was to have Volume I “out the door” to a publisher, and we have come very close to achieving this goal; most of the work which remains to be done belongs specifically to Dr. James, while the students will move on to the preparation of Volume II. The main results of our efforts during 2013 can be seen in the following:
- Almost all of the texts for all five volumes have been transcribed. Jessica Anderson, Nathan Averill and Alec Smith have performed a masterful service in formatting all the texts for Volume I and most of the texts for Volume II in the InDesign desktop publishing program we have chosen for formatting the book.
- During 2013, we completed the third proofreading cycle for Volume I. As native German speakers, Falk Kleinert, Rebekka Schenk and Gwyn Kutschke read all of the formatted Volume I documents for flow, consistency and linguistic accuracy, and discussed each document with Dr. James; their corrections were entered into the formatted texts by Nathan Averill, Alec Smith and Matt Kearney.
- In 2013 issues of format, layout, and editorial detail were settled, and numerous formatting and editing challenges were solved.
- Alec Smith, the student director of the project, converted all of the texts formatted in InDesign into E-book format. Together with Nathan Averill and Matt Kearney, he standardized punctuation, footnotes, headings, and other formatting issues throughout Volume I.
- Dr. James and Master’s student Carrie Cox have essentially finished co-authoring the General Introduction to Recke, her life, her works, and the collected works as a whole. (2012-2013)
- Additionally, Dr. James has finished (except for final polishing) an extensive essay, co-authored with Robert Sowby, which details the portraits, busts, and other images of Recke, including high quality copies of all the images, and permissions to use them in the volume. (2012-2013)
- In conjunction with the portrait essay, Alec Smith and Rebekka Schenk prepared the Recke photo gallery which is to accompany Volume I.
- Haylee Ham and Carrie Cox invested an immense amount of time into preparing and organizing an exhaustive bibliography of primary and secondary texts relating to Recke, which had been started earlier by Jennie Eborn and Heather Capps.
- Chuck Richards, Devon Wood, Katie Adams, Jenna Gwilliam, Nathan Conder, Daniel Taylor, Gwyn Kutschke, Matt Kearney and Katharina Burton focused intensely on creating a searchable document of over 1200 annotations which will complete Volume I.
- Dr. James has been and continues to be in the process of completing the scholarly footnotes and glossing which only she can provide. Because she judged that the volume was not quite ready to be sent out for review, she temporarily halted the process of seeking a publisher, though she extensively researched E-book publishers and their requirements during 2013, and completely rewrote the E-book proposal. She will begin the process of submitting proposals to publishers actively again in 2014.
- As a side note, Robert Sowby, Mallorie Guerra, Margaret Ebeling, David Mann and Luke Swenson have all completed their ORCA projects by writing introductions to several different sections of the Recke Collection: Recke’s portraits, Memoirs, Travel writings, Cagliostro writings, and her religious poetry. These are now ready to be edited and included in their appropriate volumes. In addition, Nathan Conder is currently writing the introduction to Volume V as an ORCA project.
German-Language Missionary Writings
In this book project, Dr. Brewer is exploring several examples of missionary literature including novels, dramas, and short stories. She will compare these with the popular trends evident in narratives of national or settler colonialism from the same time period. In doing so, she will attempt to answer the following questions: In what ways does missionary literature overlap or conflict with colonial literature as a whole? How does missionary literature conceive of its own “civilizing” agenda? How does missionary literature depict the native other? Do missionary texts conceive of race differently than colonizers as such? And to what extent does nationalism play a role in shaping missionary colonial desire?
Beginning in 2008, Dr. Brewer has directed ORCA grant recipients and Sophie student researchers, who have been actively involved in helping her collect German-language missionary texts from archives across Germany, Switzerland and Austria. She now has hundreds of mission texts that have been catalogued and organized by author, genre, confession, location of mission, and purpose. This part of the project is essentially complete. The main results of Dr. Brewer’s efforts in 2013 are as follows:
- During 2013, Dr. Brewer drafted an outline of her book, now entitled The Missionary Imagination, and identified those primary texts that she will focus on in her analysis of mission literature.
- Kristen Jacobson and Eric Smith worked under Dr. Brewer’s direction to read and summarize the collected missionary texts, identifying those texts that exemplify trends in mission literature and illustrate the primary goals of mission literature.
- In addition, Eric Smith focused on gathering secondary sources which look at missionary texts from a literary perspective. In this effort, he researched in archives in Germany, spoke with mission historians, and in the process, discovered several valuable resources which were previously unknown to the project.
Because of the progress which they made during 2013, Dr. Brewer, with the help of MEG funding, Kristen Jacobson and Eric Smith will be able to work on co-authoring the first chapters of the book during 2014.
Other Sophie Mentored Learning Projects in 2013
- Haylee Ham, who was already well-trained in the production of bibliographies through her work on the Recke collected works, assisted Dr. McFarland by creating and formatting the bibliography for the book Sophie Discovers Amerika, co-edited by Dr. McFarland and Dr. James, which has now been accepted and is in process of publication by Camden House.
- Carl Hayden and Eric Smith worked with Dr. McFarland to collect and prepare the articles by Ann Tizia Leitich which will appear in his book Red Vienna, White Socialism and the Blues: Ann Tizia Leitich’s America. This book is now under consideration by several publishing houses.
- Alec Smith and Katie Adams scanned all possible texts by early German-language women writers which have been collected by Dr. James and Sophie student researchers over the years, formatted them, and posted them to the Sophie library, bringing the total number of works available on the site to over 1000.
- Katharina Burton and Alec Smith processed, edited and posted to the Sophie Library a number of transcribed and/or translated colonial women’s texts which have been prepared by students in Dr. Brewer’s classes. Besides being available for use by interested readers across the world, these texts will be used as examples in a paper by Dr. McFarland and Dr. Brewer, “Teaching Early Texts by German-Speaking Women: Text Recovery as the Solution, not the Problem,” which will be presented at the Women in German conference in October 2013, and will then be polished as an article and submitted for publication.
The Ann Tizia Leitich book, the Sophie Discovers Amerika anthology, the missionary writings book, and in particular the Recke collected works are all projects of such an extensive scope that it would be practically impossible to complete them without the dedication and effort of the talented, bright Sophie student researchers. During 2013, our students have spent endless hours in libraries and archives across Europe and in the BYU library, searching online collections, reading, writing, collecting and compiling information, formatting and annotating. They have also spent many hours in meeting and discussing the projects with their faculty mentors, Dr. James, Dr. Brewer, and Dr. McFarland. The students are not mere appendages to the work the faculty are directing—they are the heart of it. Without them, the vitality of the projects would largely be lost. With them, the messy, sometimes frustrating, sometimes apparently endless effort to bring massive works of scholarship to completion is slowly but successfully approaching its goal.