What does one do for the first post on a new blog? Well, rather than the whole, this is who I am post or this is what this blog is post, how about a word cloud visualization of the cross all current and recent grad students have to bear– the dissertation!
Word clouds provide an interesting digitized picture of the claims of a work, a kind of weighted index. I think it would make interesting cover art- maybe playing with the fonts and colors a bit.
OK, so I’ll also at least explain the title. Paresco y Digo (sic) comes from the boilerplate language utilized to present petitions before magistrates in the late medieval and early modern Spanish Monarchy- including in the Americas. In the course of my dissertation research, I began to notice the boilerplate and its minute mutations while reading thousands of petitions from late-18th century Quito. What caught my eye about the phrase was the regularity with which women ignored, along with magistrates and attorneys, the gender-specific boilerplate proffered by judicial and notarial manuals of the day. Turned out that approximately seventy percent of female litigants ignored the boilerplate related to license to make legal acts. It was revelatory to find so many vesinas claiming and so many judges respecting their ability to “appear and say” something to the court.