Interweaving: Memory through machines
Zinni, Christine Frances
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Broadly conceived, the first part of the dissertation focuses on the use of ancient technologies of memory---stonecutting, weaving, and music as non-alphabetic forms of writing culture and history. The second part of the dissertation takes up these issues in light of western New York history---interweaving the writer's fieldwork experiences documenting the oral histories of local peoples and memories through machines. The dissertation is organized into four chapters. The preface establishes weaving as the working metaphor of the dissertation. Chapter one effectively "warps the loom" of the text by highlighting the value ancient peoples attached to memory and tracing out some of the intertextualites among the arts of stonecutting, weaving, and music. The chapter argues against artificial dichotomies between orality and literacy and for a broadening understanding of "text" and "textualization." Chapter two furthers these arguments by taking a closer look at weaving as a technology of memory and women's longstanding use of technologies like the loom. Chapter three maps out a palimpsest of place through the lens of a documentary production, The Road From Alfedena , which features the migration stories of Italian stonecutters and their families. Chapter four further traces out a palimpsest of place through oral histories featured in community videos about music. It also posits the writer's work with digital technologies to preserve memory has her following in the tradition of cantastorie or storysinger of old. The conclusion or selvedge of the text explores the use of new media for oral history use in classroom settings. It ends with a meditation on "open access" to knowledge on the "net"---memory on the so-called "hard drive."