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?