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Media is more than an image, message, or content to be relayed from one point to another. And computational infrastructure is more than a neutral carrier and collector of information. Rather, these are embodied techno-spatial practices that produce space/time and are constitutive of social orders. The pervasiveness of location-aware connected technology has made it possible to locate oneself and be socially networked while on the move. This affects not only the way we connect to other people and to information while moving through connected physical places, but also the ways that spatial infrastructures connect to us and keep our traces. Urban mobility inequalities thus become virtual as much as physical.

We no longer enter so-called “cyberspace” as a virtual realm—instead we carry it with us and are potentially immersed in it, especially with the emergence of augmented reality and ‘hybrid space,’ which combines physical and virtual realities. Indeed, we are distributed in and through hybrid space, just as it is distributed in and through everyday life.

For example, as user-generated maps and location-aware mobile devices become commonplace for smartphone users today, one’s position, defined by latitude and longitude coordinates, also becomes the entrance to the internet. According to this logic, location works as a filter that determines the types of information we access and the way we interact with the spaces around us. Some (but not all) can access its diverse affordances even while moving. Others (without smartphones or credit cards or billing addresses) are excluded, falling through the cracks of technology, though perhaps picked up by the occasional CCTV camera.

Mimi Sheller, Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes.

[emphases mine]

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Some Favorite Quotes from DH readings this week

Louis Milic “What’s Next” 1966

“As long as the scholar is dependent on the programmer, he will be held to projects which do not begin to take account of the real complexity and the potential beauty of the instrument”

Ben Schmidt “Two Volumes: the lessons of Time on the Cross” December 2019

“In literary history and art history, there are huge arrays of digitized data and an array of fairly amateurish physicists and computer scientists who desparately need advice.”

“So what I really think is that the division of books problem–the division of methodology and narrative–is one that is precisely adressable through these same kinds of challenges, because historians as much as anyone outside of digital journalists have been thinking about audience, narrative, and publics.”

on the crisis of reproducibility in science “The literary and library scholars in DH (overmuch, to my mind) see one of their challenges as fully fixing those problems in digital humanities before they emerge through a tangle of IPython notebooks, online linked open data, and Docker configuration files.”

“This kind of attention to audience, to re-ordering, and to narrative engagement evolved in part because of the weight of Time on the Cross. This–not warmed over introductory econometrics–is the real contribution to intellectual life that digital humanities stands to make. And its one that historians, with their multiple sources and strong subfield of public history, are better positioned to execute than any other field in Digital Humanities.”

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So just finished my first meeting of my new course at Princeton on Introduction to Digital Humanities.

Overall, I think it went well. I’m never very good at doing ice breakers, but tried to have them first think through what sorts of questions we wanted to answer for introductions.

  • What sorts of questions do you have about the course? About digital humanities? About each other? About me?
    • What is your name?
    • What are your academic interests?
    • Where are you from?
    • What is your experience in digital humanities?
    • What is your previous experience in humanities or digital (whatever that means)?
    • What year? Major?
    • What’s your favorite app on your phone?

These questions were the final results. The experience in DH was a good one, whereas favorite app was maybe too personal. Should have added goals for the class as well in hindsight.

Next time I’m definitely going to do some more research on good ice breakers.

I also tried to do an annotate the syllabus exercise that I pinched from Anelise Shrout. I think the exercise is a great idea but I definitely flubbed the execution by falling back on narrating the syllabus when the students were silent. Again more scaffolding of in-class exercises is required.

Overall, the students seemed very excited for the direction of the course which is essentially an introduction to humanities data-driven research. Also they unanimously agreed on Python as our coding language of choice which was a huge relief (I swear I will eventually dig into R and tidyverse… just maybe a later day).

The final exercise went far better than expected. I had them read and refresh definitions of DH from that Jason Heppler built. By the end students were starting to question how we define DH versus other fields, which is exactly where I hoped we would end.

Next meeting I’m hoping to give them a broader intro to the history of computing and then discuss what we mean by digital. Hopefully it goes well since students are still in the shopping period for classes (a weird Princeton quick where students get two weeks to try out courses).

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September 3, 2019- Last week, I wrapped up research travels in Alaska! I visited Anchorage and Fairbanks and I had 4 elder interviews total. 2 were with WWII veteran elders, and 2 were with Native women who were children during the war. I’ll post more about these interviews soon! Everyone consented to be a part of my digital humanities project that I’m launching this autumn semester- stay tuned! Quyaana!

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conference scholarship committee: what will you bring to this conference

me: I want to explore how the teams and individuals breaking ground in digital humanities work empower themselves by making technology choices, and join a community of scholars and scientists striving to ensure that museums, libraries, and cultural institutions are digitally empowered to achieve their missions. I bring fresh eyes, a background in archives and historical theory, and a deep enthusiasm for the incredible field my peers are expanding.

also me: boOK???? meDIEval bOOk??? i toUch???? i Lick????? mediEvaL book?????

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A Commentary on and a Summary of a panel on the complexity of Digital Humanities for East Asia Scholars

Today I went to the AHA conference and attended a panel titled “Issues of Access: The Promise and Structural Challenges of Digital Humanities for Scholars of East Asia”. For context, everyone but me was a professor/professional scholar and had some interesting takes one why its so difficult to obtain but is also very important to utilize to teach technical skills to students.

The big theme of the complexity was

1. Money (big companies not giving public access to primary sources they collect and digitize and instead require large sums of money for people and insitutions to access it)

And 2. The public school system (pre-K through college) who are dirt poor while private institutions get funded big monies and therefore don’t have the tools or resources to teach students the technical skills before they work with digital humanities to such a degree that they understand and can use the media they do get access to.

An audience member from Germany brought up how all the institutions there have banded together to reform this problem and are pressuring companies, who only collect documents and not write them themselves, to make them public access and free. He stressed that USA institutions should be doing the same and not give in and pay.

In ways, we have done this or are starting to. As the panel people were saying, many institutions have regionally come together to form joint databases to lessen the cost for themselves, which is a nice start, but ultimately should not be the end game.

As historians and scholars of digital humanities, we should push for open access to information and primary sources. Big wig companies should not be making millions on work they only digitized and didn’t write.

I understand the cost, considering the work people put in, however these companies should work towards a non-profit stance, free for the public and relying on grants amd donations from the government and outside parties.

In conclusion, as we work towards an inevitable digital humanities, i reminded our panel the worth of holding an artifact in your hands. I spoke of my experience on the otherside as a student. My professor works with a fusion of artifacts and digital resources and teaches his class in a way that’s as interactive as possible. He’s a collector of sorts and im lucky to be his student due to his luck of artifacts falling into his possession. Anyways, having this opportunity to have it both ways is enchanting and inspiring, bringing knowledge to our fingertips and authenticity to our literal fingertips.

It’s important to remind professors and scholars that authenticity is what makes it for students, not just the information. It’s been a while for most of them since they’ve experienced this feeling as a student.

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Would you like to be on a podcast? Particularly, a female/queer-powered podcast that analyzes science fiction television?

I’m currently booking interviewees for my Warehouse 13 Podcast, Podcast 13!

I have a co-host already, but each episode will have a brief segment called “Cataloging the artifacts,” where we discuss the show’s representation of a given historical object. You do not need to be an expert on the TV show itself (you don’t even have to have seen it before!) if you have relevant historical knowledge for this particular segment.

This segment requires me to find academic experts in EACH of these disparate things: Rheticus; The Crusades; Alessandro Volta and/or Tycho Brahe; Sylvia Plath; Timothy Leary; Harriet Tubman. 

The commitment is fairly small: watch a 40 minute episode of TV, and participate in a Skype interview of 20-30 minutes about the object/historical person.

Interested, but unsure if you’re “technically” qualified? You probably are! We’re not gatekeepers, and it’s MORE than possible to be a historical expert without a PhD. DM me for more info!

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