GIS, how fun!

“…to turn implies retrospection, a process of stopping in the road and glancing backwards at the way by which one had come” –Jo Guldi

As Richard White points out, spacial history projects are collaborative and interdisciplinary.  His definition of “digital history” is minimal: “By digital history all I mean is the use of computers.”   I think this is interesting given all of the debates and discussions we had about digital history and digital humanities at the beginning of the semester.  From his article, I can really see the potential of spacial history in allowing historians to expand beyond chronology (which he defines as the “heart” of the discipline) (and not that this is the only way in which historians think, but I’m in American Studies so…anyway, I think it’s interesting how different disciplines prioritize even within intersectionality).  Thinking about space as historical can help us trace movement and trends, as White articulates.  Movement and motion set the stage for change in social, political, and material conditions.  I also like the concept of representational space for the discipline of American Studies, Museum Studies, etc.  How we think about symbolism in the context of space allows us to see where people attribute meaning to particular cultural sites.  This also rings a bell with the whitehouseweb project that we worked on last week.

From looking at the ArcGIS Explorer online, I checked out “Las Vegas Urban Sprawl,” which looks at the expansion of urban areas over the last 30 years.  I can’t help but think about what it could look like for Hunter S. Thompson’s journeys and travels to have been mapped in GIS, tracing frequencies of locations as well as spaces.  Thinking about space and frequencies, it would be interesting to look at facebook or yelp “check-ins” in order to understand locations and popularity of certain venues, sites, and other places.  With social networking tools now being so connected to space and place, there are a great number of possibilities in understanding how often and why people visit a particular site, and what this could mean.  The use of GIS has interesting implications for how we understand cultural places.  For example, how often do people “check-in” at Tantalus?  At what frequency?  Time of day?  Locals?  Tourists?  There are so many things to explore!

There are a number of intriguing digital humanities projects out there that deal with spacial history.  One that stood out to me was titled “Sex and the Sacred: Negotiating Boundaries in Renaissance Florence.”  This project explores holy site like convents, and looks at proximity to zones of prostitution.  The various spacial history projects that Stanford is working on also have quite interesting, from flight patterns to Holocaust Geographies.  There seems to be a lot of potential for mapping out cartographies of westward expansion in the United States as well as movement from cities to rural areas.

For my own scholarship, I think that spacial geography could play a role in understanding jazz sites in different geographic spaces.  A few years ago, I wrote a seminar paper about the validity of a “New England Jazz Tradition” for a seminar.  Some of the ideas I explored included questions about a “genuine” jazz tradition in New England, the complexities of sites of musical production in New England, and the preservation of the jazz tradition by looking at newspapers from the early 20th century to the present and by conducting interviews.  Thinking about how GIS could enrich this idea, I believe that exploring various sites of cultural and musical production and performance could contribute to a new understanding of jazz in certain locations throughout the country.  In terms of how I might find this information, this would take a lot of archival digging before even thinking about digitalization.  What kinds of different meaning could one get by thinking about hubs/spaces of cultural production?  What might that help us understand in terms of the location of culture and the arts?  How might this help me better understand the sites of cultural production for the blues women?  This could be something interesting to look into if this project evolves into a dissertation 🙂

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anonymous and wikipedia

This semester, I’m teaching a 200-level class called “Institutions and Movements,” so I was drawn to some of the articles posted for this week.  I found Gabriella Coleman’s article on Anonymous to be quite compelling, as she traces the ways in which the elusive groups uses various techniques to make social and political statements.  Coleman explains, “By unpredictably fusing conventional activism with transgression and tricksterism, Anonymous has captured the attention of a diverse cornucopia of admirers and skeptics. Many are watching, recognizing the power of the mask as a potential force to unmask corruption, hypocrisy, and state and corporate secrecy” (20).  Reflecting on the complexities and tactics of Anonymous, it is interesting to think about its potential and its operation.  Some of the workings of Anonymous connect to this film, called The East, which portrays an environmental activist group who goes to extremes to get their points across.  Also, I found this blog that discusses some of the Anonymous imagery used in pop culture.  I’m interested in learning more about Anonymous and how its functions and expressions.  (On a side note, I think the Triple Canopy website is set up in an interesting way that really matches its reflections and research.  I guess I’m still thinking about online scholarly presence from Week One.)

In David Auerbach’s “Treatise,” he discusses the importance of anonymity in internet spaces, particularly in a world that has growing surveillance, by tracing A-culture and its multiple meanings and complexities.  He discusses its connection to activism:  “Activism, however various, is fundamentally in line with the self-willed autonomy of A-culture. The participants want to be—and, increasingly, are expressing an interest in nonparticipants’ being—left alone and allowed to thrive, and they want the principles of the culture they’ve created to be defended; anger at censorious forces, from Sony to the Syrian government, has led to increasing political mobilization, albeit often haphazardly.”  Auerbach paints a picture of what it looks like for people to be unrestricted in their comments and communications, and looks at some of these outcomes.  In his “Case Studies,” I was struck by the language and abbreviations used in this kind of space.  I’m sure I have some questions about this, but none have totally formulated as of now.

As for Wikipedia…we all know how powerful it can be.  We use it, our students use it, and it can simultaneously be a democratic space but also an unfair power/knowledge production, as mentioned in Adeline Koh’s website on “Re-writing Wikipedia”.  Studying how Wikipedia functions over time allows limitations and potentials to surface.  Wolff’s piece explores some of the aspects of Wikipedia.  He says, “Wikipedia also maintains discussion pages for each entry that permit even the casual visitor – as well as the scholar bent on digital history – to follow the give and take between different contributors.”  I think this allows for new kinds of understandings when we line these things up together.  What kind of obligation do we have as scholars to Wikipedia and Open Access projects?  Adeline Koh says, “Thus, Postcolonial Digital Humanists have an obligation to engage with Wikipedia editing.”  While I haven’t edited anything yet, I certainly plan to in the fields of my research.  I explored some pages on blues women and found they were very minimal in terms of their research posted.  This project is interesting and important,  and I plan to engage with it further in the next few weeks.


visual mapping

My exploration of this week’s materials led me to some interesting projects in digital humanities.  Stanford’s “Republic of Letters” Project takes on an ambitious task in mapping networks of letters in different locations in the 18th century.  Additionally, the project’s emphasis on metadata for early-modern scholarship displays some of the potential of visual mapping tools.  The project narrates a story and adds pictures to help the reader visualize what these networks looked like (actual sketches of letter-writers included!)  How interesting!  These new visualization techniques seem like they could open many avenues for how we understand the past. It was quite interesting to see the juxtaposition of modern visual maps, nodes, and edges, on top of maps from the 18th century:“Republic of Letters” Here is an interesting example of someone using visual maps to track digital humanities scholars through the “Publish or Perish” program: “Publish or Perish”.  I also stumbled upon a site through digital humanities at Claremont College called “Hidden Patterns of the Civil War.”  Similar to Stanford’s project “Republic of Letters,” the project seeks to map out and visualize sites of emancipation, patterns of formalized interracial marriages after the Civil War, slave market locations, and election sites.  The project also includes a database of newspaper archives. Check it out for yourself:“Hidden Patterns of the Civil War”

I was pleasantly surprised with the introductory Graph Theory video and how some of these concepts can be used in digital humanities.  The author of “thescottbotirregular” also does a very good job of synthesizing some of this information on his blog: The Scottbot Irregular  I’m interested in the connection of graph theory to my project.  My preliminary idea for my project is to trace genealogies of women blues, jazz, and soul singers from the early 20th century to the present.  My aim would be to allow the reader to construct his or her own understanding of this music in relationship to race, class, gender, and sexuality.  Some questions I’d like to explore in my project would center around the concept of cultural appropriation.  Where is the line between honoring a tradition and appropriating music, lyrics, feeling, etc. for personal gain and recognition?  When did these women possess agency through their music, and when were they exploited by larger institutions and systems? (For example, how did the U.S.’s racial discrimination impact the circulation, distribution, and production of black blues women?)  This project is a feminist exploration of this music.  There has been much attention paid to male blues and jazz singers, and very little to their powerful female counterparts.  I’d like this discussion to lead to more contemporary artists, particularly moving into the arenas of “blue-eyed soul.”  The boundaries between these genres are fluid, and the traditions are complicated.  However, I hope to be able to trace some genealogies here in order to understand the complicated factors that go into how we understand and listen to blues, jazz, and soul music, and how we understand its development and place in history.  Here is my preliminary map: Jeanette’s Project Ideas

My other mapping experiment was done through Gephi.  Being new to Gephi, I went through the process of using Netvizz on Facebook, I and checked out the tutorial set up by a fellow BC grad.  After importing the .gdf file, I did my best to follow Sarj’s step-by-step directions on how to create a map.  Unfortunately, I had to go through the process several times before completing anything that looked like the examples I saw.  Gephi would crash when applying new fonts and sizes of nodes.  On my third try, I went through the process blindly for the last few steps and for the exports, which is why my map looks like this: Jeanette’s Graph Attempt.  Does anyone have any insights on how to apply filters through Netvizz?

That’s all for now 🙂


textual implications

This week, I began thinking about the order in which we read and understand material.  If I had began with project archives and then moved to articles, would my understanding of the information be different?  This question connects to one of the central themes of our readings for this week: the process through which we process and understand information.  I think it is interesting how Aarseth makes his point about the possibilities of different mediums.  I have to say, I might be one of those people who doesn’t understand the different ways in which hypertexts and adventure games can be similar to other literary texts.  For example, I have a number of friends that have fascinations with realistic video games. I understand that the experience is necessary to understanding the medium, but I guess I need to still take the plunge and experience these games in order to think about them as text.  The differences and overlaps between games and more traditional literary texts strike me here, and I’m curious to know more about these connections.  One thing I’m interested in is different ways of reading materials.  Has it been agreed upon as to who defines the terms for reading and analyzing new types of media?  Who gets to say what is correct?  (Or is that just the point of academia anyway, arguing over ideas?)  Aarseth’s engagement with the question “What is text?” also resonates, and I’m curious to see more recent arguments about the definitions of text..  How have definitions of “text” changed over time, and how do they remain the same?

In Academic History Writing and Its Disconnects, Hitchcock argues, “Modern humanities scholarship is a direct engagement with a deracinated, Google-ised, Wikipedia-ised, electronic text.”  I wonder how much modern history writing is impacted by digitalization.  I found parts this article is a little depressing.  Books are dead?  Maybe it’s just me, but I have difficulty reading online.  There is something about a tangible book, something about containment of ideas in this medium that makes it…I’m not sure what word I’m looking for here, but important, and perhaps less scary that the infinite quality of the internet.  I’m also someone who is interested in the possibilities of form within a book.  For example, nontraditional, nonlinear techniques of narrative that can give the reader a different experience of historical events.  While I agree that digital humanities can also do this in certain ways, I also think that the book, the good old hard copy of it, can also provide us with infinite possibilities.  I wonder what authors like Toni Morrison think about different mediums of historical representation.

How do we balance traditional forms of scholarship with new ones?  Wouldn’t the solution be to be both able to permeate the boundaries between old and new scholarship?  How often is Hitchock correct when he cites the mistakes and downfalls of OCR (“This is roulette dressed up as scholarship.”)?  I guess one of his other questions seems to be that since this force of information cannot necessarily be fought by old-school academia, how can digital scholarship adhere to principles of reliability and rigor?  (On another note, I think Hitchcock’s choice to explain his tone and content during the “A Post-ednum” section was an interesting one. )

I’ve often experienced the same process through which David Bell has gone through in terms of his research and reading.  While it is much easier to locate information online, for me, it is incredibly hard to focus on reading electronically, and I often forget what I’ve read if I don’t take notes.  Perhaps that’s why I have yet to purchase an e-reader, and why my bookshelves continue to fill up with cheaper and cheaper copies of books from amazon.

One question I have is about translation of texts via internet.  What might it mean to be able to search and use records with translated text?  Is the result that more and more quotes are read out of context?  What might the implications be for this kind of research?  Perhaps some of you who work with texts in translation could shed some light on these questions.  Because there is another layer of interpretation through the process of translation, how might that have an impact on how we understand material we find and try to make meaning of?

In terms of the projects posted, the archives that I checked out were AWESOME, and really showed me some of the possibilities of digitalizing archives.  Many of these archives were very comprehensive.   UCLA’s “Archive of Popular American Music” had many different elements.  The site digitalized sheet music from American popular music including, covers, title, alternate titles, creators, publishers, date, tempo, etc.  These kinds of sources would be incredibly difficult to locate if it were not for an archive such as this one.  The archive does not contextualize the sheet music a great deal, but allows for the music to stand alone for the most part, providing the researcher with opportunities to connect the music with his or her own research.  “The Red Hot Jazz Archive,” ( while not so easy on the eyes in terms of its layout, has a large amount of resources related to my research, including compiled essays, films, bands, and other information related to the development of jazz music up until 1930.  After beginning a project last semester that came from the inspiration of Angela Davis’ Blues Legacies and Black Feminism, I was happy to see an archive so relevant to my research.  There is information on artists, recordings, and music that can be difficult to find from this time period.  Although the site’s home page is very male-centered in terms of the musicians it focuses on, it also acknowledges that it is a work in progress.

[The stakes of digitalization: A note on obstacles in pedagogy]

In my own teaching I’ve found recent obstacles in tools and texts that have had a complicated impact on teaching, and I think negative result.  When I taught middle school, my school had received a great deal of funding for purposes of technology.  With that money, the school purchased ipads. This school had no money to order hard copies of books.  I had to get a project independently funded in order to get one class set of 30 books for 120+ students.  When I asked the administration if I could use the ipads to get ebooks, they said no: they did not have money to purchase ebooks.  They only had money for technology.  So basically, it was no books allowed in English class.  It was a dream come true for most of my 8th graders.  I couldn’t assign them reading homework.  All reading needed to be completed in class.  When students get stuck in this kind of digital divide, it can have a negative impact on them.  In classes now with college students, I wonder how much information they retain from e-books.  Their quizzes haven’t been looking so good lately…

I’m still working on streamlining my blog posts, and yet, at the same time I find myself resisting to do so.  Isn’t this what happens when there are so many possibilities everywhere on the internet?


take me off this listserv!

Professor Rath said we could write about anything this week, right?  So, in keeping with some of last week’s and this week’s class themes, I’d like to tell you a story from my undergraduate years that resonated with me as I was reading texts for class.  I think mostly that this experience displayed to me the extreme power of the internet and technological developments within it, but it also made me think about the real impacts seemingly inconsequential things can have on an individual’s life and future.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

When I was a sophomore at Boston College, I had an extremely nice and good-natured roommate.  We’ll call her Geraldine.  Her story at Boston College is no secret, and one click of the mouse almost resulted in her transferring schools and moving out of state.  Yes, it was that bad.

In 2007, Geraldine was dating an older guy who would semi-frequently drive up to Boston from New York City to visit her.  Being that we lived in a suite with 6 other girls, Geraldine’s boyfriend was looking to find an apartment so he could spend less time crashing on our couch in the common room (or, actually, so I could spend less time crashing on the couch in the common room).  Geraldine decided that she wanted to help her boyfriend find a place to stay in the Chestnut Hill/Boston suburbs area.  She drafted an email asking if anyone knew of a place that her boyfriend could stay (for free–he was a little tight on money) every other weekend of every other month, a place that included internet and his own room, among a few other things.  A little bit of a strange request, yes, but there have been crazier things posted on craigslist.  (Although I’ve scoured my past emails, I’ve been unable to locate her original email.  Alas, the search continues!)   Later, she told me that she had initially planned to send the email to just a few friends to see if anyone could help out, but then she got a different idea.

She decided to really get the word out to the BC community to see if anyone was willing to let her boyfriend stay at their place.  Geraldine got a hold of 13 different listservs and sent her email to almost the entire Boston College community.  Her request was a bit odd, yes, but I never would have thought that students would latch on to this event and make it something bigger than its initial intention.

How wrong I was.  You’d think that in an age where we are constantly barraged by mass media in so many forms, one piece of spam-ish mail would instantly be deleted.  Not in this case. A girl named Caitlin made the choice to exacerbate the situation using a function that we probably all have a love-hate relationship with: the reply-all.  This first reply-all triggered a massive campus-wide debacle.  Thousands of BC students all over campus stopped what they were doing and hovered over computer screens, waiting for the next exciting/humorous/mundane/completely inappropriate email to hit their screen by those brave enough (or technologically challenged enough) to click the “reply-all” button.  Popular forwards included attempts at humorous responses to Geraldine’s original email, links to pornographic websites, and of course, the old “take me off this listserv.”  The BC server was flooded with thousands of emails, until it eventually crashed.  The campus was buzzing with anger and laughter.

This event happened during a time when many people (some people) with Blackberrys (Blackberries?) still paid for data per email received.  You can imagine the ecstatic responses of those who woke up to thousands of emails, whose devices wouldn’t stop the new notifications all night.  Apparently, some people had Blackberrys that crashed from this event.  You don’t want to mess with a BC student’s Blackberry! Heh…

The fun didn’t stop there.  Beyond the emails, there was an intense student response targeted at Geraldine specifically.  Students chanted in the quad demanding that Geraldine be “brought to justice.”  Geraldine received a number of threats from fellow students, and the police came by our suite twice the evening she sent the email.  Facebook groups surfaced including one’s such as “Geraldine K’s Boyfriend Should Live in a Homeless Shelter” and “The Geradline Fan Club.”  People even made t-shirts that said “I was listserved by Geraldine.”  I kid you not. People were making profits off of this.  Some students even created Youtube videos pretending to be the infamous “Peter” (the boyfriend), taking Geraldine’s last name and added it to her boyfriend’s first name in attempts to emasculate him.  (You can check out the youtube “Peter Teacher Speaks” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBI8NX7391E&list=FLQZn-HOLxc8Q2VtY6m5V6Nw&index=1)  (Sorry, for some reason the blog won’t let me insert a hyperlink!)

Geraldine went to sleep every night at around 8pm.  (Weird, for a college student, right?)  Anyway, she clicked send on that email, and promptly went to bed.  All of this crazy activity around campus occurred while she was asleep.  I didn’t want to wake her or worry her, so I just left her a note that said, “Don’t worry!  Everything will be fine!”  When Geraldine woke up, she had over 200 Facebook friend requests and about a billion pieces of hate-mail.  When she went to class that day, she saw projected on the screen in lecture hall that her professor’s email had crashed too.

Boston College didn’t know what to do in this situation.  Was there some kind of disciplinary measure that needed to be taken?  How did she even get a hold of these listservs in the first place?  Who gets punished?  Someone must be held responsible!  While Geraldine didn’t really suffer from any kind of disciplinary action (they found no “malice” in her email), the administration did give consequences to those who send out pornographic or offensive material in their reply-alls.

The BC Heights covered the event a few times, and interviewed Geraldine.

Geraldine later described her thinking as such: “When I started typing this e-mail, I thought I could use the listserv to choose individual people I wanted to send the e-mail to within the list. When I realized I couldn’t do that, I redrafted the e-mail, but only to my direct contacts. But I was really tired, and sent the wrong e-mail. I had no idea what kind of backlash that would have.”  You can check out the original Heights article here: http://www.bcheights.com/2.6176/listserv-debacle-floods-inboxes-1.907507 (Worth a read if you’re interested!)

I have to say that she really did handle this situation well.  Not surprisingly, she chose to study abroad for the next semester…

Months down the road, we still saw consequences to her actions.  Later, the Boston College Heights magazine endorsed my Geraldine as “Person of the Year.” http://newspapers.bc.edu/cgi-bin/bostonsh?a=d&d=bcheights20080401.2.3&e=——-en-20–1–txt-IN—– College Humor even picked up on this one: http://www.collegehumor.com/link/3245166/beware-the-dangers-of-listserve

What might incidents like this one show us about how communities respond to new and unexpected potentials of technology? What are the concrete effects that these incidents have in real time and space on people? I doubt–no–I know that Geraldine had no idea about the scale of the consequences that she would face from her email request. (She’s a nice girl, really.)  I think the response(s) of a community to an event like this can say a lot about that community.  For example, what does this event say about the student body (the make-up/attitudes/values) at Boston College? I have to wonder if there would have been as much of an event if the original email had been sent by a male, or if she had less of a catchy name.  I don’t know.  This gets me thinking about the role of race, class, gender, sexuality and all that American Studies-ish stuff, and the impact that is can have on the producers and receivers of knowledge, as well as those implicated in this technological space.  And really, this whole thing makes me wonder about something else.  Given all the tech-savvyness, all the brainpower, all of the time, effort, and money that was put into making things “funny” about Geraldine’s mistake and her situation, I have to wonder if all of those things could have gone into a cause that contributed to making something better in the world instead.  I mean, I know I must sound fluffy and idealistic, but the Boston College community has got to mobilize their energy around something better than trying to ruin a girl’s life for an inconsequential email she sent.  Or maybe it was a great victory in seeing the creative capacity of BC students on a Wednesday evening?  What do you think?

To be added: More direct connections to the reading.  (Sorry, I got a bit carried away in my narrating of this event.  It was truly a very exciting time.)


rookie mistakes?

I’d like to start out by letting you know that I’m a beginner.  This blogging endeavor is a first for me.  Normally, I hate when people apologize for things before they even start, so I’m going to have to go ahead and apologize for doing that as well.  Your comments and suggestions on how to “blog well” are much appreciated.

In the past, I think blogging has the stigma of being associated with people who need a medium through which they can “overshare” minute details about their lives.  Too many times I’ve seen blogs as places to rant, places to release, places to be critical without really being critical.  Thinking about blogging in a scholarly, academic capacity could seem like a leap to some people.  However, the more I read about its capabilities, the more I realize the potential of this space.  What draws me to Digital Humanities is the promise of new possibilities, new ways of expressing ideas and researching materials.  I guess creating an online presence is a good way to begin this exploration.

I wasn’t sure where to start with some of this, and beyond my many drafts on Microsoft Word and rants about “overshares” on the internet, I decided to begin this research with an exercise mentioned in Ryan Cordell’s “Creating and Maintaining a Professional Presence Online: A Roundup and Reflection.”  He suggests that we google ourselves in order to get a sense of the stakes of an online identity.  The name “Jeanette Hall” isn’t totally common, but there are definitely a number of people named “Jeanette Hall who have, shall we say, interesting, stories.  The most internet-prevalent Jeanette Hall is a woman who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and initially had wanted assisted suicide.  Because her doctor didn’t believe in assisted suicide, he encouraged her to fight her illness.  She eventually was cured from chemotherapy and radiation.  Now, this Jeanette Hall works against people who are trying to legalize assisted suicide at the state level.  Interesting story.  The other prominent search result I found was for Jeanette Hall’s Taxidermy.  Also quite interesting.  I wonder, can my online identity even compete with these two Jeanettes?  When I googled my name with some additional key words, I found out that not only are there search results for my facebook and linkedin, but that my address and much personal information is just a few clicks away.  And now, here I am, reposting that I’ve found this information.  Maybe I should do something about that.  I guess it’s time to get into the nitty gritty with some of this privacy stuff, especially now that I’m seeing a little more clearly all that it can have an impact on.  Cordell’s suggested exercise helped me think more carefully about how one’s identity is presented online.  While I knew that this was important, I didn’t know the degree to which information about me can be located online.  Further, this exercise made me think about the potential that my online identity can have for research and scholarship.  Step one: Get more tech savvy.  Step two: Privacy lockdown.

Proactivity is essential in creating one’s online identity in a positive and professional way.  I agree with an idea on Stanford’s page “Tooling Up for Digital Humanities”: it is necessary to create my own web presence, as opposed to having others create it for me.  In looking at some of the examples of different pages, I think I learned a lot about what works well and what might not work as well.  In terms of structure, a clear and organized layout seems to work best.  I also think pictures are effective if they are carefully selected and in small quantities.  Normally, I wouldn’t think about something like scrolling settings, but I found that scrolling forever on these blogs drives me mad.  I’m wondering the best way to set up comments on your page.  I like separate blog posts with archives so the topics seem manageable and clear.  It seems like it would be good to have a place for people to leave feedback on your research.  In many ways, the simpler, the better, is the way to go when it comes to a home page.  Having separate tabs (Teaching, Research, etc.) seems to be a good way to have a “complete” page.  Being personal seems to work well also.  For example, I liked how Scott Weingart presented himself, but I found other blogs to be less “friendly,” I guess.  I also LOVE the idea of a “what I’m reading tab.” I’m curious about Adeline Koh’s choice to write her “about” section in the third person.  What impact might these small choices about authorship and presentation have?  Seeing these examples helped me to think about how I’d like my blog to work.  Currently, I’m totally re-thinking the flowers in the corner of this screen…

In terms of taking one’s scholarship online, I think I’d like to learn a little more before committing to the best way to present my research and myself.  What might online scholarship mean for a graduate student? Should I post seedling ideas, and begin “following” others? I will begin by polishing up that CV and posting it online.  (As a side note, a friend send this awesome link along for helping with CVs:  Awesome CV page Coming from American Studies, exploring new ways of presenting scholarship seems like an important and even necessary move.  There were some great tips on Jentery Sayer’s article “Do You Need Your Own Website While On the Job Market?,” and I will continue to reference this checklist as I continue to “beef up” my website.  Exactly how “risky” is it to publish your developing work online?  Do the benefits outweigh potential costs?  How can we upkeep a scholarly online presence? I like Brian Croxall’s idea of setting modest goals for ourselves (i.e. blogging once a month) in order to maintain a professional scholarly presence online.  I will set these goals for myself as part of HIST605.

I suppose my last question is this: Is it ok to write in a more casual, conversational tone?  Isn’t that what makes blogs readable?  What I’m really asking is, is my blog style too casual to be scholarly?  Like Yuka, I would like the work that I do at this institution to be accessible to people, not just those in academia.  For me, that might mean writing in a way that is more casual.  How can I remove the ramble vibe?  Is this what my students must experience every day in AMST201?  Maybe I am just trying to be a consistent presence in all aspects of my life.  And as Miriam Posner says, “Consistency: It’s important to carry the same voice, image, and persona across multiple social networking platforms.”  I might as well do this all the time.  What do you think?

This may belong on a separate post, but here are some thoughts based on Stanford’s “Tooling Up for Digital Humanities”:

As the semester continues, I know I will spend a lot of time referencing the different sections of “Tooling Up for Digital Humanities.”  I’m curious about the concept of “distant reading,” or of macro-level analysis of literature.  I wonder what some of the stakes are when it comes to analyzing larger amounts of literature from farther away.  How accurate are the patterns that are identified?  What must happen for us to make meaning of these patterns?  Does doing research in this way somehow make the humanities less “human”?  I’m thinking about the concept of “Macro Patterns” trying to generalize stylistic elements across many texts here.  It seems a little scary to have a machine make large assumptions about vast bodies of literature.  While I’m not entirely sure of my opinion on the issue, this article definitely gave me something to mull over.

That’s all for now 🙂

j