Ramping up to Project Proposals: Week Three

Please prepare at least one, and hopefully two or three, brief one-line ideas for extra-textual projects you would like to work on. They should be short – we’ll just be writing them down on paper, boards and things to get a sense of possible directions next week. Don’t worry about whether the project is scaled well, or feasible, or contextually-framed. Just hunches is all we’re looking for – wishes and interests that you may have no idea whether are possible. They also don’t have to be original in form. For example, you could say “I’d like to make a project just like [x] but with content from my area of work.”

For reference and imagination, here are some of the categories I suggested last week:

Digital Interactive Objects – Visualizations – Alternative Publishing Platforms – Tools/Instruments – Performances/Artworks – Datasets – Courses – Rubrics/Standards

The only requirement is that you be able to complete this sentence about each idea you bring : “This would be useful to me as a scholar because ….”


I’ve also selected a few readings that extend our brief discussions of materiality, audience, and knowledge in some different directions. Please pick one and offer a blog post that explores at least one project we’ve looked at so far (or a new one from the compendia I posted last week) in light of your chosen article.

If you’re imagining a possible project that includes or facilitates participation by others, or that involves ethnographic work, try this one:


If you’ld like to think more about academic labor in light of all these digital projects, try this one:


Here’s one that takes on the relationship of “permanence” claims, digital work, and activism in the academy (including more about the Immigrant Tool):


And here’s one gets to the questions about materiality and performance in light of visualization:


Course information and syllabus

This course explores “extratextual” forms of scholarship. Such forms include : interactive digital software or hardware; datasets; visualizations; artworks; performances; publishing & distribution platforms; review structures; rubrics; standards; course syllabi; workshops; methodologies; (and more!). Our emphasis will be on medial forms that might form a part of your future portfolio of reviewed products and accomplishments for purposes of dissertation, job application, or tenure.

You will realize, alone or in groups, at least one such object, as a working model, prototype, or pilot with a clear path to expansion or realization with future support. Along the way, you’ll research peer projects and contextual literature for presentation to the class, in the service of educating our group on emerging possibilities and prospects.

We’ll also bring our own critical tools to bear on forming evaluative criteria for the objects we propose or produce.

For a full syllabus, see here.

Learning to Create Systems : Extratextual Reviews

First, read Sharon Mattern’s brief blog post here:


(You may need to do a little outside reading to understand some of the references.)

I would also suggest Deb Chachra’s blog post here:


Choose a specific extratextual scholarly project and review it for us on through a short, 1-2 page blog post or essay (with screenshots or other illustrations). Alternatively, you can record yourself reflecting on it via video or sound (Unpolished “vlog” style analysis is fine.) You may work in groups on this if you wish. Post by next class somewhere we can all access it.

Possible sources for projects:


Please address, explicitly or implicitly, in your review the following questions (in any old order):

What is it?
Who is the audience, and how was it distributed?
How did it get made? Whose labor?
Was there any sort of editorial or peer review?
How do you think the creator would demonstrate its success?
Does it propose or offer any sort of repeatable “cultural technique?”
Can you imagine something like this making a substantive contribution to your academic field?

Critical Paths into DH : Red DH

[submitted by Miriam Peña Pimental]

RedHD: What does it mean to work on Digital Humanities in Mexico? How does Academia react to digital humanities? Conflicts, advantages, and ways to become a network in these conditions?

DóIorio Paolo, “Scholarsource: A Digital Infrastructure for the Humanities”, Switching codes, (ed.) Bartscherer, UChP, 2013, pp. 61-87.

Como parte de mi estancia posdoctoral, en una de las universidades más importantes de América Latina, me he enfrentado a la complicación que tiene ser Humanista Digital, principalmente para integrar este nuevo modelo de estudioso a al plano académico. Al mismo tiempo sigue siendo difícil explicar á por qué Humanidades Digitales?

Critical Paths into DH: Conexión Social

[submitted by Patricia Peña]

Tecnologías para la libre comunicación, cultura, participación y acceso al conocimiento

“Internet nos permite acceder a un entorno vivo, casi orgánico de millones de inteligencias humanas que están constantemente trabajando en cosas que siempre tienen una relevancia potencial para todos los demás. Se trata de una nueva condición cognitiva a la que llamo Webness o inteligencias en conexión…”

( Derrick de Kerckhove, Webness: Inteligencias en Conexión.1999)


Critical Paths into DH : Asen on Citizenship

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[submitted by Nikki Weickum]

Asen, Robert. “A Discourse Theory of Citizenship.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 90.2 (2004): 189-211.

I am interested in national identities and civic practice in online spaces (and outside of them). More recently, I’ve been working on online petition sites that are often dismissed as “clicktivism.” In short, one of the arguments that Asen makes in the essay is that the anxiety over declining citizenship comes from a too narrow view of what civic practice is and should be, and subsequently of who counts as a citizen. There is not a significant amount of digital humanities work in my field, but this essay provides a useful entrance for me into work in the digital humanities and broader questions of access, race, gender, sexuality that come with hegemonic understandings of citizenship and its sanctioned practices.

Critical Paths into DH : Recovery.gov

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[submitted by Paul McKean]

My entry point into the Digital Humanities was through a digital archive of data and data visualizations that was created by the Obama administration in order to support the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Recovery.gov invites citizens, journalists, and transparency activists to participate in interactive data visualizations that chart the progress of the legislation and support the administration’s claims of “transparency and accountability.” By participating in the archiving and presentation of government data on the site, the users are asked to “see” the policy at work across the country.

The Digital Humanities can help us critically engage the rhetoric of this digital archive as well as similar projects ( http://www.data.gov/) that attempt to make government statistical systems “transparent” to citizens. Furthermore, DH invites us to engage the legibility of data visualization, the politics of seeing they invoke, and the ways in which government statistics function as institutional systems of representation and surveillance.


Critical Paths into DH : The Charles J. Belden Photography Archive

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[submitted by Jessica Landau]

The Charles J. Belden Photography Archive at the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming

The digital archive of the 1920’s and 30’s photography of Wyoming based photographer Charles Belden has been a path into the digital humanities for me, and not just for the obvious reason that I now interact with these images through a digital space. His photography is also interesting because of the ways in which it visualizes the American West through the modern lens of photography, creating geometric forms out the landscape and livestock. In some senses, Belden’s images seem to anticipate the digital, both in their quality and quantity. I am intrigued by the ways in which technology shapes the way we see and even the way that vision can be re-shaped by digital platforms almost 100 years later.