Galileo, Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems (1632)
Humanistic & Digital Portfolio
Welcome to my professional portfolio in the humanities and digital humanities! I am Caterina Agostini, and I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Notre Dame. My work is based at the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship, John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values, and Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society, where I conduct research and design the digital and print edition of Thomas Harriot's unpublished manuscripts and the proof of concept for an interoperable text framework (ITF). The Harriot Papers is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to document the mathematical and scientific work of early modern polymath Thomas Harriot, and my research team partners are based at Notre Dame, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and the Cambridge University Library.
Previously, I was the The Thomas A. Edison Papers Postdoctoral Associate at Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences and Department of History, and the Digital Humanities Project Manager at The Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton (2021-2022). I co-chair the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) and the Transcription Challenge Framework (TCF). In the past years, I consulted on cultural heritage projects at Europeana Pro and PHAROS-The International Consortium of Photo Archives, exploring textual, geospatial, and visual analysis through computational technologies and tools.
My current book manuscript is a project discussing Galileo Galilei's scientific work. I earned my Ph.D. from Rutgers University, where I was awarded the 2021 Rutgers School of Graduate Studies Award for Excellence in Outreach and Service. My Ph.D. dissertation, Scientific Thinking and Narrative Discourse in Early Modern Italy, explores scientific narratives and cultural productions in the context of the Scientific Revolution. The history of science, medical humanities, and scientific illustrations have been among my main research interests. Those topics have inspired me since childhood. Born in Padua, I became fascinated with the locales and culture where Galileo spent his “eighteen happiest years” – from 1592 to 1610 (from Galileo's letter to Fortunio Liceti, 3 June 1640; Opere di Galileo XVIII, 207-209). “Fair Padua, nursery of the arts” is how Shakespeare described the setting for his play The Taming of the Shrew, written between 1590 and 1592 (Act I, Scene I). Galileo, to me, is a brilliant mind, a great scientist, and an author whose works I’d search and read, admiring his prose and poems in my hometown libraries and worldwide.
I have become interested in the humanities and cultural heritage, as well as in computers and communication. I wanted to learn more about digital humanities tools: visualization techniques, mapping, and text analysis. As a digital humanist, I have developed projects on my own, discussed findings with people who share my views, and I learned to interact with those who do not. I often learn something new when I challenge my beliefs and go further, for example collaborating on team projects. By doing digital work and consulting on projects, user interfaces, and image collections, I see myself as an active member of an international Republic of Letters, or res publica litterarum, in the Latin phrase that scholars used in the Renaissance. Therefore, it is my call to contribute to an intangible community of scholarship and practice where I advance research, while developing outreach programs and encouraging diverse audiences to join cultural, digital debates. To bring my contribution in the scholarly community, and my experience as a digital specialist and a polyglot, I am Co-Chair of the IIIF Outreach Community Group, where I collaborate with colleagues to expand the outreach of the International Image Interoperability Framework to underrepresented communities and languages.
I have published scholarly research on Galileo and early modern science, Italian cultural studies, and computational methods. I received the Eugene Garfield Fellowship at the American Philosophical Society (forthcoming; postponed due to the pandemic). I am a Phi Sigma Iota member supporting the humanities across classical and modern languages and literatures. When I am not on campus or at the library (physical and digital), I love cooking Italian and international food. I enjoy watching movies and would go to the movie theater weekly, in normal times. These, however, are extraordinary times, and we benefit from digital communication allowing us to be closer, while apart. If you want to chat about material book history, Italian texts, the history of science, the 1500s and 1600s, or computational methods, I would be happy to get in touch with you.
Selected Current Work
Take a look at my project, Padua Painted City. As a sponsored speaker at the 2022 International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo Online), I talked about 14th-century fresco cycles included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
From the Desk of Caterina Agostini
Caterina Agostini is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working with ancient books and teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Notre Dame. She earned her Ph.D. degree from Rutgers University in the Spring 2021. She taught at Princeton University, Rutgers University, Rutgers Honors College, the Rutgers Digital Humanities Initiative and Lab, the New Jersey Digital Humanities Consortium, the New York City Digital Humanities Week, North Carolina State University and NC State Data Experience Lab, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Wake Forest University. As a digital expert in cultural heritage, Dr. Agostini serves as co-chair in the IIIF Outreach group, and is a member of the Scholar Advisory Group at Pharos, The International Consortium of Photo Archives, and the Europeana Pro digital community. Dr. Agostini has a forthcoming fellowship to complete her book manuscript as the Eugene Garfield Fellow at the American Philosophical Society. She is a Phi Sigma Iota member, promoting the humanities on all fronts. Caterina lives in South Bend, Indiana.