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While USC’s Scalar server was down due to university-wide network issues this past weekend, I installed my own instance of Scalar on my Reclaim Hosting domain and tested it out by creating this Digital Projects book. It’s an incredibly simple book that curates my collaborative projects and teaching and visualizes them neatly. If you’re interested in learning more about Scalar, check out the workshop I held at Whittier College on Teaching with Scalar.
For this exercise, in small groups, I want you to pick two of the following professional websites and examine them for the production and curation of professional academic identity.
Questions to consider:
Then, scan all of the sites (and others you may be familiar with) and consider the following:
This week, I am at Arizona State University attending the annual HASTAC Conference. Today, I’ll be on a panel discussing a recent collaboration I had with Sofia Dueñas, an undergraduate and our inaugural Digital Liberal Arts Cauffman Fellow, at Whittier College. Below is the abstract of our panel, and some information and media from our panel.
Digital Humanities have expanded methods and forms for scholarship, increasing opportunities for participation and funding for those in the academy. While alt-ac (alternative academic) staff, faculty, and graduate student collaborations have been an oft-discussed topic in higher education journalism and at academic conferences, collaborations with undergraduate students have received less attention. This panel brings together faculty, academic staff, and undergraduate students from a range of disciplines (English, Education, Mathematics, Public Health) and institutions — private, public, religious, and Hispanic Serving institutions — to present short papers and facilitate a working session on faculty-student partnerships in research, pedagogy, and community-based activism. Panelists will explore the value of and obstacles to collaborative partnerships between faculty and undergraduates.
Anne Choi (CSU Dominguez Hills) will share a case study of a digital humanities project, “Recreating the Aloha Spirit”, undertaken at a medium-sized state university, and the process by which students become experts through learning digital tools. Anne Cong-Huyen (Digital Scholar, Whittier College) and Sofia Duenas (Junior, Whittier College, HASTAC Scholar) will speak about their work in designing a new course that interrogates gender and race in digital labor, and incorporates digital assignments and activities to reinforce the content. Annemarie Perez (Loyola Marymount University) will discuss of the creation of a digital archive on The Chican@ Gothic. This public humanities project allows students to hone their digital writing skills while prompting conversations between the students authors and critics, both in person and via digital means. Lastly, Andrea Rehn (Whittier College) and Bill Kronholm (Whittier College) will speak about an experimental team-taught undergraduate project-based learning course titled “Just Hacking.” In this course, undergraduates with a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds worked together on a project they titled “Operation F.I.S.H.” (food insecurity and stigmatized homelessness) that advanced from initial conception through prototype during a single semester.
This past year, Whittier College’s Digital Liberal Arts program was the recipient of a generous alumni endowment that created an ongoing student fellowship. The specific parameters of the donation required that the student would work in collaboration with a faculty member to develop or redesign a course. Sofia Duenas, the inaugural recipient of the Cauffman Fellowship, will speak with her faculty mentor, Anne Cong-Huyen, about their work in designing a short, intensive course on race, gender, and digital labor, “Digital Labor: Race, Gender, & Technology in Literature & Film”. This new course, cross-listed in English and Gender Studies, models digital student-centered pedagogy, integrating various technologic tools and methods to interrogate the history of work in the technology industries, and to examine everyday digital labor. Anne and Sofia will speak briefly about the challenges and benefits of designing and co-teaching a course of this nature.
Annemarie Perez, has put together a précis of her talk on the Chicana/o Gothic project she built with her student. You can find that over at her blog, Cited at the Crossroads.
Discussion of the creation of a digital archive on The Chican@ Gothic by students at Loyola Marymount University as part of a course examining Chican@ literature through a gothic lens. The very limited critical publications on the topic became a virtue as individuals and groups of students created digital objects by collecting family folktales, variations on the La Llorona legends, reviews of Chican@ texts as gothic, and visual representations. The public nature of this digital writing prompted conversations between the students authors and critics via email, in person and on social media.
Recent pedagogical trends in higher education have underscored the importance of high-impact practices such as undergraduate research. However, the emphasis on undergraduate research has largely been focused on STEM disciplines. Employing undergraduate research and assessing its impact in the humanities has received less attention. In an effort to address this lacuna, this paper provides a case-study of “Recreating the Aloha Spirit”— a digital humanities project which is currently under development at California State University, Dominguez Hills. This case-study provides insight into the process of building a digital humanities project from the ground up that simultaneously serves the different interests of faculty and students. In particular, this paper explores the processes in which students become the expert on a particular “Recreating the Aloha Spirit” field of knowledge by utilizing digital humanities tools.
This presentation will describe an experimental team-taught undergraduate project-based learning course titled “Just Hacking.” The goal of the course was to decide on a social justice issue students’ collectively wanted to address, and devise a (digital) method to contribute to efforts to resolve that issue. The course was purposely offered without prerequisites in order to attract students who might otherwise avoid either computer science-sounding classes OR social justice-oriented classes. Undergraduates with a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds worked together and on a project they titled “Operation F.I.S.H.” (food insecurity and stigmatized homelessness) that advanced from initial conception through prototype during a single semester. The course was a radical experiment in student-initiated learning: students organized themselves into project teams, chose project managers, set their own deadlines and goals, and struggled to work together constructively toward an overall goal they envisioned for themselves.
This presentation, which will include faculty and student members of the class, will describe the failures and successes of this experiment. At the beginning of the course, we urged students to realize that the project could fail, and there were some aspects of it that did. But what was created was a radically democratic learning experience in which students developed skills (technical, personal, and social) in response to the needs of the project or the team. In the process, students and faculty engaged with issues as diverse as defining food insecurity, addressing a digital divide among class members as well as among the projected users of the class’s interactive mapping project, ethical interviewing strategies, and questions about student-led projects in an educational system structured by grades.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting Fresno State University to give a talk at Manning Library to a digital humanities focused Faculty Learning Community about digital pedagogy and digital humanities. Many thanks to David Drexler for the invitation, and to John Beynon and Kathee Godfrey for their hospitality!
I’m sharing the talk and slides below. I spoke mostly from notes, so I’ve tried to recreate it as closely as I can from memory (with some added references). A note of preface: this talk was written for a community is just getting started with dh, and the talk is aimed at people who have never heard of dh, but also was meant to be practical and helpful for those who are already in the field and looking to bring digital methods into their classes.
In any case, enjoy!
This is somewhat of a loaded question, but the definition that I’ve heard Miriam Posner and others use, that I like, goes something like this: Digital Humanities is the scholarly endeavor of using digital tools and methods to answer humanities questions.
Digital humanities has been described as a “big tent,” an inclusive umbrella under which many activities and people can be labelled “dh.” (Melissa Terras gives a nice definition and critique of big tent dh here, and Patrik Svensson has written broadly on the topic.) Despite this big tent, dh is known for its large projects. Often big, multi-year grant-funded public humanities projects, featuring collaborations with different institutions and campus units.
Here, shared several examples of long-standing (and some newer) dh projects:
The English Broadside Ballad Archive under the direction of Patricia Fumerton at UCSB. This project has won numerous grants, and is a long-running project involving the work of multiple faculty members, archives (across nations), and has funded many an English grad at UCSB.
The Women Writers Project at Northeastern, and formerly of Brown, which is under the direction of Julia Flanders. This is a massive, multi-pronged project that recuperates, contextualizes, and encodes the work of pre-Victorian women. Though the project shares many materials, their archive and resources are primarily accessible through a subscription.
Six Degrees of Sir Francis Bacon, directed by Christopher Warren at Georgetown, visualizes social networks of Early Modern Europe, with the support of the institution and Carnegie Mellon Foundation.
The Negro Travelers’ Green Book, headed by Connie Geer and Matthew W. Shepard, and hosted by the University of South Carolina Libraries, Digital Collections, and African American Studies Department. This project maps locations present in the Green Book, which documented safe locations for black travelers in the mid 20th century. This project is possible through institutional support and staffing.
In addition to these higher profile projects, there are many projects on shoestring projects. These are often labors of love for those involved, and are created to address social issues or concerns. These are almost always created as public humanities projects as platforms for public education.
Projects aside, there has been a lot of controversy about the digital humanities.
Some have been saying it’s the savior of the humanities:
While, others have been vocal in their critique, often to help shape and mold the practices and methods of the community:
Before I go into the main part of this talk, I should preface this talk with a bit of background about me:
I have a PhD in English from UC Santa Barbara, where I studied digital humanities, Asian American, transnational, and global literature & media. Aside from my training in writing composition instruction done in a separate MA program, I don’t have much formal training in pedagogy. Very few graduate students in the humanities receive any pedagogical training. Much of what I will speak about comes from my post graduate school experience working in a library as an academic staff member supporting digital pedagogy and research at a small liberal arts college. Here, I also teach my own courses in Asian American and digital literature. I also serve as the co-facilitator of FemTechNet, a distributed network of scholars, artists, activists teaching and producing resources for teaching feminism and technology. My experience then, comes from a few different perspectives that inform my take on digital pedagogy.
Digital projects can be fancy, get you attention and funding, but ultimately, most faculty in higher ed are not going to be receiving thousands or millions in grant funding to take on digital projects of this scale, we won’t have a wealth of time to travel to or attend workshops to learn new digital skills, to hire technical labor. Our bread and butter is in the daily work of teaching. Teaching is also the one place where we can purposefully weave digital methods and tools into our daily practice to help students engage with course content, reinforce content, etc.
Brian Croxall and Adeline Koh, organizers of the Modern Language Association Digital Pedagogy Unconference in 2013, explain it as “the use of electronic elements to enhance or to change to experience of education.” (citation)
If we focus on the “pedagogy” of that phrase…
Jesse Stommel of Hybrid Pedagogy states: “Pedagogy is not synonymous with teaching or talking about teaching, nor is it entirely abstracted from the acts of teaching and learning. Pedagogy is praxis, the place where philosophy and practice meet.” (citation)
Digital pedagogy then, should not be additive.
It’s not just about using technology or digital tools.
We’re not looking for new hammers to hit the same old nails. Instead, digital pedagogy must be self-reflexive.
IF we bring tools into our classrooms, as part of activities, for group projects, as elements of assignments, etc. and we don’t always need to bring tools into our classes, we must always ask a few questions before we do so:
In my own teaching, and in working with faculty, I would say there are many potential benefits to taking on digital pedagogy in your own classes (or in working with faculty). But, as with all things, it depends on many factors. I would say, however, that there are many potential pros to digital pedagogy if it is undertaken thoughtfully/
When we get to the end there, and examine the potential for digital pedagogy, it starts to look an awful lot like critical or radical feminist pedagogy:
As a graduate student, I co-founded the #transformDH collective with a handful of other graduate students working at the intersections of critical race studies, gender & sexuality studies, and digital studies. I’m now the Digital Scholar at Whittier College, where I’m the co-coordinator of the Digital Liberal Arts program, where I support digital pedagogy and research, and where the early work of #transformDH still informs the work I do with faculty and staff across the campus.
In a forthcoming “manifesto”/reflection co-written with Moya Bailey, Alexis Lothian, Amanda Phillips, and to be published in Debates in DH 2016, eds. Matt K. Gold and Lauren Klein, we identify the following key claims as constitutive of #transformDH:
These tenets that guide my work, and the work of many who see themselves as somewhat marginal to digital humanities, are essential to how and why we may bring digital elements into our classes.
At my own home institution, we have a very different institutional identity than previous universities I’ve worked at (UCLA, UCSB): We’re first and foremost a teaching college. Though officially secular, we are still Quaker in practice, with a commitment (at least among faculty and staff) to social responsibility and community. We pride ourself on the diversity of our student body, which is 60% students of color, 20% are 1st generation students, and 1/3 of our students are Pell grant eligible. Most of our students hold jobs, if not multiple jobs. Increasingly, our faculty and our administration are reflecting this shift in our student body; they are increasingly less white, less male. Our faculty are aware and sensitive to the notion that we should endeavor to be a Hispanic Serving Institution, and not just a Hispanic enrolling Institution. Across the board, faculty and staff care a lot about issues of race, of gender, of equity.
With this in mind, I firmly believe that in our teaching, we can mobilize digital pedagogy for these transformative purposes.
So, I’ll repeat. It’s not just about tools, it’s about how you use them. Why you use them. Where they come from. How they change or improve learning. How to empower students to go out there and be fearless. To know that they can learn, can teach themselves any digital skill and then use it for good.
Now that you have an idea of what digital pedagogy is. How can you do it or work to support it? Some things I would encourage all faculty and staff to make sure they do:
And always come back to my own institutional context. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your institution? Always keep your students in mind. They are not digital natives. That is a myth. They’re also not just media consumers. How can we best prepare them for the future? What skills do they already bring to your class? They’re already using social media, producing content, circulating and sharing media – but we can help steer them to do this same activity critically, responsibly, and with purpose.
From Environmental Science to Child Development to English, I’ve worked with Faculty to develop scaffolded assignments using Piktochart (other options include Powerpoint) to translate dense information into visual arguments. This activity is actually deceivingly difficult, and I help faculty to break this project up, starting with a research paper (with citations) and then work to condense that information. I suggest including in-class close-reading activities of effective (and less effective) infographics, and building in peer-review workshops so students can get feedback on their work. As with writing, students need to understand that communicating through visual rhetoric is also a process.
If your institution has an institutional subscription (ask your librarians!) to PolicyMap or SocialExplorer (SocialExplorer also has a limited free edition), students and researchers can very easily map narratives and arguments onto geospatial visualizations using social science data, census information, etc. Alternatives include MapStory, which doesn’t require an institutional license, and doesn’t have its own data sets built it, but which may be more helpful for students working on regions outside the US.
I love pairing with librarians and archivists to bring archival materials into a classroom. It helps students to understand the materiality of history, and gives them experience in working with primary materials. The National Archives have resources on doing this with collections (both visual and textual) of digitized materials curated around historical period. The University of Iowa also made their DIY History project open, which allows students and community members to contribute to transcription efforts that will make the institution’s digitized (but not machine readable) materials accessible to larger publics.
Lastly, the Domain of One’s Own project, which started at UMW, is expanding to a range of different campuses, and allows instructors to teach students digital literacies, and to give them the space and the opportunity to take ownership of their online identities, curate their digital content, and interrogate the tools and platforms that they use.
Facebook Group: DigLibArts, Digital Learning Professionals in Higher Education
I’m just back from the annual Cultural Studies Association conference in Riverside, CA, and I’m excited to share the announcement I made at the panel, “FemTechNet: Transforming what and who counts in digital education”, where I spoke alongside Alexandra Juhasz (Pitzer College), Elizabeth Losh (UCSD), and Ivette Bayo Urban (U Washington). My presentation (for the most part) was about the current project that the FTN Ethnic Studies Committee is currently undertaking to create a pedagogy workbook. The entire presentation/announcement is below the image. To navigate directly to the digital book, click on the cover image below.
I am one of the new co-chairs of The Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Committee of FemTechNet, which is composed of a handful of graduate students, post-docs, librarians, and alt-ac professionals. As a committee of primarily junior women of color scholars we keenly feel the pressures of women of color in academia. We understand that for junior scholars the labor of developing one’s pedagogy is extensive. And for these teacher-scholars, experimentation in the classroom can be a risk, even though our institutions encourage and exhort us to practice digital pedagogy, to teach online, to be innovative teachers. The experience of participating in FemTechNet is incredibly valuable and something we believe in deeply, but we know from experience that participating in FemTechNet can be rather time consuming. To make it worse, our home institutions often don’t understand what FemTechNet is or what it requires of us, while offering little support to develop pedagogical skills (especially at small resource poor colleges and state schools). These skills are important as we need to prove that we are exemplary when applying for jobs, or when being evaluated for tenure and promotion. To help scholar-teachers develop these valuable abilities we are leveraging the collective intelligence and experience of the FemTechNet network to produce a practical resource for those who endeavor to share and support others, and those who seek to learn and improve their own skills.
Acknowledging the challenges of teaching these sensitive and contentious topics of race and gender in a time of political contention, economic retrenchment, and increasing institutional precarity for departments of ethnic, gender, and humanisitic studies, this workbook is an ongoing project to build resources for faculty members who are often overburdened at their home institutions, but are willing to take on the difficult task of teaching about gender and racial inequity in our information culture. The book is live, but it is also very much a work in progress.
We would like to highlight (and continue to build) the diversity of FemTechNet through curating and highlighting the existing transnational and multi-ethnic projects already on the site and point towards gaps and possibilities. Considering technology through a race-based and ethnic studies lens highlights the importance of community-based learning and service in feminist digital pedagogies. This is a collaborative, living document that is curated by the Ethnic Studies Committee. It will grow as more instructors teach at the intersections of gender, race, and technology and share their materials.
Submissions are ongoing and we encourage you to share your own Femtechnet content, syllabi, videos, references, and pedagogical resources. Of course, submissions need not be limited to DOCC courses, and we welcome all contributions. Please submit materials to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re asking that submissions include contact information, biographies, term taught, and institution or context, as everything will link back to the original author to promote responsible citational practices. All submissions will be cited with links back to the original author.
I just made it to Vancouver, BC for the Modern Language Association, and for those of you who will be there on Thursday, I’ll be presenting on the media of Phú Mỹ Hưng, a.k.a. Saigon South (an edge city of Ho Chi Minh City) on a fabulous panel about Global South cities. This panel is a precursor to an upcoming special issue of The Global South that will be co-edited by Leigh Ann Duck (U Mississippi) and Sabine Haenni (Cornell).*
Here’s the narrative description of the panel:
In focusing on urban sites of the Global South that have been and remain the location of rapid industrialization, technological development and concomitant social (often transnational) fractures, this panel asks how generic narrative structures both portray and intervene in dominant ideas of development. Comparative and collaborative analysis across spaces that have experienced colonization and acute economic exploitation has been a priority for postcolonial discourse since before the Bandung Conference, and Global South studies offers the additional opportunity to examine contemporary forms of deterritorialized capital, which is particularly visible in urban areas. Because such scholarship requires engaging realms of knowledge that extend beyond not only research conducted in a particular language but also interdisciplinary area studies (such as African, Latin American, or Southeast Asian), our goal is, in part, to expand dialogue on the Global South at MLA. Momentum for this shift increased at the 2014 convention, as panels explored the methodologies associated with specific global regions (“Futures of South-South Comparison”), questioned the term “Global South” from the perspective of diverse nations and global regions (“What Is the Global South?”), and considered the institutional contexts and material media through which such conversations have occurred in the past (“World Literature and the Global South”). We pursue this goal through addressing spatial and formal concerns shared across geographies: the genres used to interrogate urban experience.
Ten years after a special issue of Social Text on “Global Cities of the South”—a decade that has been shaped, in narrative studies, by the emergence of world literature as a powerful paradigm in dialogue with comparative and postcolonial literatures—our study of urban genres in the Global South combines close and distant reading practices to consider how local circumstances and broad narrative patterns mutually intervene. Without presuming that genre works in a singular way, and without presuming that genres work in the Global South in the same way they do in the Global North, it examines the multiple ways in which generic structures are appropriated and mobilized for a critique of often ruthless urban development. To that purpose, we explore genres across print and film media. Papers will be held to 16 minutes in order to allow time for a brief (5-minute) response, which will emphasize how these analyses of distinct narrative forms and spaces contribute to scholarship concerning narratives of the Global South.
It’s a bit of a shift from my recent DH-oriented work, but I’m excited to present some my newer media/urban studies work on Vietnam. For full paper descriptions, refer to my earlier panel proposal post. I’ll post the paper following the panel.
Spoiler alert: I was way too ambitious in the abstract so hopefully it all makes sense in the end! At the very least, I’ll get some much-needed feedback and have a chance to share some cool images and information of a place I can hardly comprehend myself.
*If you’re interested it submitting an article to the special issue of The Global South on this topic, the deadline for initial proposals has passed but you can send inquiries to Sabine Haenni (email@example.com) and/or Leigh Anne Duck (firstname.lastname@example.org). Essays of 6,000-8,000 words will be due by March 2015.
“View from Canh Vien – Phu My Hung” by Thomas Wanhoff is licensed CC by SA
“طنچة/Tangier” by José Sáez is licensed CC BY-SA 2.0.
“Street in Lagos” by Zouzou Wizman is licensed CC BY 2.0
Dr. Horrible gif from giphy.com
Here’s a hint of what’s to come for our panel tomorrow morning. For more info check out my previous NWSA post with our original proposal. For those at #NWSA2014, we’re session 478 at 9:15 at PRCC 202-C. More to come in a post-conference follow-up.