Abstracts

Thursday, March 21, 2019

10:50-12:00 – Lightning Talks

10:50-11:15 – Mapping

Mapping the Librotraficante Movement

Melanie Walsh (Washington University in St. Louis)

This lightning talk will discuss a work-in-progress digital mapping project of the underground library system and protest movement known as the Librotraficante Movement. In 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2281 into law, which banned public school curriculum that “advocates ethnic solidarity instead of being individuals” or “are designed for a certain ethnicity,” effectively preventing over 80 books—many of them by or about Latinx people—from being taught in the Tucson Unified School District. In response, the author and Houston Community College professor Tony Diaz launched a protest movement called Librotraficante, Spanish for book smuggler, which created underground libraries throughout the Southwest U.S. that circulated the 80 effectively banned books. In 2012 and 2017, many activists and authors—some of whose books were banned by House Bill 2281, such as Sandra Cisneros—also participated in caravans that traveled to the underground libraries in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, where they performed readings, raised awareness, and drummed up support. By using the digital mapping tools QGIS and Leaflet, I visualize the alternative, dissent-inspired literary circulation patterns of these 80 Latinx books as well as the readers, writers, and activists who set these texts into motion and traveled alongside them. During this talk, I will share snapshots of the interactive map and reflect upon the potential that digital tools hold for archiving, visualizing, and raising awareness about twenty-first-century literary reception, social justice movements, and their relationship to one another.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

All the World’s Onstage: Representing Culture through the Touring Dances of Denishawn

Harmony Bench (Ohio State University)

This presentation considers what transnational and postcolonial digital humanities perspectives offer to an analysis of dance touring in the first half of the 20th century. I examine the U.S. popular stage as a site of global representation through the domestic and international touring of Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, and their Denishawn Dancers. The bulk of St. Denis and Shawn’s creative work together (1914-1931) took place when popular performance was an important part of how American audiences understood themselves in relation to a broader world. A culturally omnivorous outfit, Denishawn exposed audiences to dance practices representing far-flung parts of the globe, stitched together from anthropological texts and photographs, personal observation, and creative imagination.

Dance scholars have emphasized the politics of representation embedded in Denishawn’s repertory, understanding that the artists’ whiteness functioned to legitimize their onstage transformations of material influenced by or appropriated from people of color. I extend this conversation to consider the broad dissemination of these representations made visible through the digital humanities project Mapping Touring, which enables comparative analysis of dance touring in conjunction with dance repertory. A project in process, Mapping Touring shows the geographic distribution of early- to mid-20th century dance touring in order demonstrate the intertwining of globalization and aesthetic modernism in ballet and modern dance.

Denishawn performed the same kinds of dances in Billings, Montana and Mobile, Alabama as in London, Singapore, and San Francisco. I therefore also speculate on the possible impact of their touring programs. How might Denishawn’s repertory have informed audiences’ imagination of their own global citizenship prior to the rapid expansion of film and broadcast media? As the dancers traveled, what gestural information did they carry with them? What did they gather from their touring locations and what did they leave behind?

Return to Thursday schedule

 

Visualizing St. Petersburg: the Mapping Project about the Hidden Connections between its Famous Citizens

Antonina Puchkovskaia (ITMO University, Russia)

The work-in-progress project is aimed at developing interdisciplinary research involving history, librarian studies, cultural studies and information technologies, by creating an open-source-software-based web application containing historical and cultural heritage data on the key landmarks of St. Petersburg. This work contributes to the systematization of humanities data to provide the access to this data through its retrospective visualization on an interactive city map. One of the most common connections between things in our project is that between sources and records. Sources in our case are textual sources, that can be either manuscript or print, and vary in length from a singly paragraph to a multi-volume book. Records are smaller parts of sources. Based on primary sources analysis we have made a database schema linking people, occasions and dates. Because we use URIs for everything, we also group our data according to location. For the first three categories, we are specifying TEI elements encode groupings based on information about people (birth/death date, birth/death place, occupation), events (people involved, locations, dates, keywords), and relationships (family, professional). Building up the ontology for our project we use the Linked open vocabulary for describing the relationships between the objects. It describes the FOAF language, defined as a dictionary of named properties and classes using W3C’s RDF technology. We also we use the Linked open vocabulary for defining the relationships between the objects on the map. Finally, all objects are being mapped onto an interactive city map of St. Petersburg. A user-friendly interface will facilitate easy navigation and permits filtering by different categories such as restaurants, music salons and apartments.

Return to Thursday schedule

11:30-11:50 – Community Archiving

Diné Peoples in 3D: A Collaborative Portal Project to Decolonize Keystone View Company Stereographs

Laura Smith and Megan Kudzia (Michigan State University)

A small group of Michigan State University Museum stereographs featuring Diné (Navajo) peoples provides a unique opportunity to decolonize settler ways of knowing and seeing Indigenous peoples. The eight images were all published by one of the major American producers of stereographs, the Keystone View Company, between 1900-1930. Three feature Navajo women as weavers working on a loom. Five others are easily connected to the early twentieth-century weaving industry on the Navajo Reservation. Scholar Judith Babbitt’s study on early twentieth-century stereograph companies such as Keystone provides insight into their marketing strategies related to white middle-class anxieties about modernity and racial miscegenation. While the three-dimensional images appeared to enhance human vision, captions and guidebooks that accompanied the stereographs often blinded viewers. Most messages put forth by American Indian stereographs conveyed the evolving story of the vanishing race.


Little extended research on the Keystone Company stereographs exists in part because few records were kept. In line with recent archival photograph projects that have subverted the colonial gaze, this presentation will review a developing collaborative digital project to revivify Indigenous subjects in Keystone View Company stereographs. Lucy Lippard’s book Partial Recall: Photographs of Native North Americans (1992) has served as a model for collaborative approaches to documenting and interpreting archival photographs. Since 1992, digital technologies have enhanced the opportunities for a variety of individuals to work creatively together, and for their productions to be globally engaged. Using Mukurtu as a platform, a team consisting of an art historian, a digital technology librarian, and two Navajo weavers have joined forces to develop a portal. Currently titled Navajo Peoples in 3D, the portal allows each stereograph to be connected to a variety of media and records, as well as traditional knowledge and cultural narratives. The images are thus virtually augmented and return indigenous voices to the historic photographs.

Return to Thursday schedule

Digital Diasporas, Digital Histories: Preserving Ghana’s Past in the Digital Age

Kirstie A. Kwarteng (SOAS, University of London)

Digital technology has become a key factor in the formation, growth, and maintenance of diaspora communities. For many diaspora communities, including African diaspora communities, communication using digital technology has allowed them to maintain their transnational networks by increasing the ease of which information is shared. Simultaneously, the rise of digital technology has also seen an increase in endeavors to digitize African history. These efforts have been lauded as digitization is associated with greater accessibility to information. However, the efforts to digitize African history are conducted mainly by universities, meaning increased access to information may benefit academia more than the general public. Additionally, Africans often do not control or profit from digitization efforts. These issues present an opportunity for African diaspora communities to use the digital technology that has helped them maintain their communities to aid in the preservation of their histories.

As such, this presentation will present the work of The Nana Project, an online archive dedicated to preserving Ghana’s history through the voices of Ghanaian elders in Ghana and in the Ghanaian diaspora (www.thenanaproject.org). The aims of The Nana Project are to 1) decolonize African history through the use of personal narratives, 2) increase accessibility to information on African history, 3) preserve African history in modern formats and 4) reclaim the legacy of oral storytelling from our elders through crowdsourcing personal histories. The presentation will highlight topics and themes that can be found in the archive, barriers to modernizing the collection of oral histories, and how initiatives like The Nana Project can be used to connect diasporas and their homelands through their shared history.

 

Return to Thursday schedule

 

1:00-2:20 – Re-Imagining Networks in Global and Local Contexts: Labor, Infrastructure, Access

Digital Humanities and the Archival Turn in India

Puthiya Purayil Sneha (Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, India)

The archive has been an important context for conversations around digital humanities (DH) in India, as it has been globally. The last few decades have seen several large-scale efforts in digitalization across various sectors, including state institutions (National Museum, National Cultural Audio-Visual Archive (IGNCA)) universities (Jadavpur University, Ambedkar University,) and individual and collaborative efforts (Indian Memory Project, Indiancine.ma ) to name a few. The emergence of new fields like DH, digital cultures and cultural analytics also indicate several shifts in scholarship, pedagogy and practice, on the one hand alluding to the potential offered by democratizing technologies, but also reflecting persistent challenges related to the digital divide, and more specifically politics around the growth and sustenance of the humanities disciplines.

The growth of new areas of study and creative practice like DH has brought about a renewed focus on the creation of digital corpora, and the need for new technologies and methods of research, more specifically through the development of digital pedagogies. The contexts of these questions are however much wider, located in long-spanning efforts in digitization and digital literacy more broadly, which are still fraught with challenges of access, usage and context. Even as the colonial imagination of state archives remains prevalent in India, digital archival initiatives facilitated by infrastructure such as open source content management systems and tools like web annotation have opened up spaces for alternate narratives. Drawing upon excerpts from a report on mapping the field of DH in India, and ongoing conversations on the digital transition in archival practices, this presentation seeks to understand the politics of digital archiving in a postcolonial context, and how it informs larger trajectories of digitalisation, and the growth of fields like DH in India today.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

“Digital Thick Description”: Feasts, Gifts, and Plenitude in Mughal Biographies and Paintings from 16th and 17th century India

Jyotsna Singh and Justin Wigard (Michigan State University)

We seek to build upon a project we presented at the 2017 Global DH Symposium, titled “The Emperor Keepeth Many Feasts in the Yeare,” which visually mapped out textual patterns in 16th and 17th -century feasts represented by Mughal biographies using Voyant.

This nascent project uses a quantitative and visual approach through ImageJ to return to myriad representations of feasts in Mughal biographies, and additionally, in a set of 10 court paintings that illustrate the biographies. Our general focus will be on how feasts are featured in these Mughal texts and images and relational networks between feasts and gift-giving and gift exchanges (and how these exchanges may be gendered). In visualizations of narratives and geographical mapping of paintings, we hope to approximate the ethnographic reading practice of ” thick descriptions,” a term first used by Ryle (1949) and later, more famously by Clifford Geertz (1973) who applied it in ethnography.

Thick description refers to the detailed account of field experiences in which the researcher makes explicit the patterns of cultural and social relationships and puts them in context. Thus it provides a cultural context and meaning that people place on actions/events, words, and particularly useful for the purposes of this project, images and material objects, so that a person outside the culture can make meaning of the account.

Thus, we hope to combine the critical lens of thick description with the digital program ImageJ in order to provide further historical and cultural insights into the connections between these 16th and 17th-century Mughal biographies, the paintings that depict them, and the recurrent image of feasts, gift-giving, and gift exchanges within both.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

From “Natural Agitators” to “Sheepwomen:” Women’s Representation in Sheep & Wool Digital Archives

Helen Trejo

A vibrant U.S. clothing and textiles economy has always been a goal; however, the prominent role of women and their historical connection to agriculture as well as the wool industry is underrepresented. In agricultural publications of New York, a leading sheep and wool state during the mid-19th century, male farmers share their experiences in letters. Their letters appear in The Cultivator (1834-1865), Transactions of the New York Agricultural Society (1842-1889), and The Wool Grower (1849-1856). A female figure associated with a fiber processing mill during the emergence of the New York sheep and wool industry is Susan B. Anthony. Her father moved to Battenkill Valley in 1826 to revive a stagnant wool mill for farmers with sheep and wool farms in the region. Although the wool mill did not survive due to an unstable market for wool, the wool mill brought Susan B. Anthony to New York at a young age where she later became a leader in the women’s suffrage movement.


To understand how women gained greater visibility in the American sheep and wool industry with influence of the women’s suffrage movement, this study evaluates archives of The National Wool Grower and The Ladies Home Journal during 1919 to 1924 through the HathiTrust Digital Library and the Google Open Book Project. Primary research questions include 1) How were women represented as producers and consumers in The National Wool Grower and The Ladies Home Journal, and 2) What social, cultural, and political factors influenced women’s representation? This study includes textual and image analysis. The National Wool Grower publication is of significance because it was developed by the National Wool Growers Association (NWGA), the first official organization that addressed all aspects of the sheep and wool industry including production, distribution, and marketing. The Ladies Home Journal was a primary publication for women who were becoming visible in the American workforce and expected to support the U.S. sheep and wool industry. I present shifting perceptions of women in the sheep and wool industry beginning in 1919. Women were considered “natural agitators” in their effort to obtain the right to vote, while their leadership and business acumen was beginning to be recognized. This research contributes to discourses about female leadership, labor, and the U.S. sheep and wool industry through open access, digital resources.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

The Death of “Publicness”: Japanese digital frameworks and access

David Humphrey (Michigan State University)

This paper examines digital frameworks’ impact on access to and scholarship in media and text archives in Japan, with a focus on shifts in media’s “publicness” (kōkyōsei) there. To these ends, it focuses on two developments in recent years: the transition to digital television broadcast, and revisions to copyright law over the past decade. Digital broadcast introduced to Japanese television the use of a Conditional Access System (CAS) that reconfigured the fundamentals of television in Japan. While legal language had historically defined broadcast television as an open-access medium that serves the public interest, the CAS system further entrenched content-holders’ intellectual property rights over viewers’ use rights. Similarly, attempts to revise copyright law in Japan have tended to favor intellectual property over access rights, hewing to international frameworks such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, and have transformed—or seek to transform—access to and use of new and old media alike.

My analysis contextualizes these developments as responses to the spread of digital frameworks and frames them as outgrowths of discourses, which privilege public security over public access. I suggest that these discourses have had significant consequences, in that they have served to justify attempts to curtail, manage and even criminalize mundane activities. Including the digitization of texts and recording of audiovisual material, these activities are notably crucial to scholarship. Through my analysis, I highlight how international frameworks and local discourses intersect to shape access, while also examining attempts to circumvent or push back against new restrictions. In conclusion, I further consider what a re-examination of the notion of “publicness”—a bedrock principal in the postwar Japanese media landscape that has largely fallen into disuse—might offer to contemporary discussions of open access.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

2:40-4:00 – Memory, Bodies, and the Digital: Data as a Humanizing Force

Mapping the History of the Humanities and Media Labs

Urszula Pawlicka-Deger (Aalto University, Finland)

The last years can be called as a boom of laboratories in the humanities created as a physical space and as a ‘placeless’ project (virtual labs, lab podcasts) for a specific purpose and for a fixed period. The multiplication of labs has led to a state of emergency when it becomes significant to investigate their objectives and operation. Hence, I pose the following questions: What does a laboratory mean in the humanities? How has a laboratory been growing from a physical workspace into an action taken around people and challenges? How has the transition occurred from the first experimental wave to the second wave of the humanities lab? How does the lab affect the research practices and the place of humanities within the university?

My goal is to present the lab history in the humanities, digital humanities, and media studies in a global scope from the 80s of the twentieth century to 2018. The purpose is to explore their forerunners like the art studio and the technoscience lab, investigate the mechanism of their establishment and analyze their functions and operation. The main part of my research is a map of laboratories established in the humanities and media studies all over the world. Based on a survey and laboratories’ statements, I created an interactive map with labs’ descriptions and timeline to analyze the concept of the humanities lab from geographical and historical perspectives.

It is vital to understand the phenomenon of laboratory in the humanities that entails significant changes in the research practices and scholarly communication. The humanities labs do not represent a unified structure but they are a cluster of various models which have their own architectures and practices. Hence, the humanities labs do not purely imitate the science lab but adapt this new structure for its own purposes and needs.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

The Grupo De Apoyo Mutuo Digital Archive: Historical Memory and Guatemala’s Disappeared

Alex Galarza and Mariana Ramirez (Haverford College)

The Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM) Digital Archive is collaborative, post-custodial project that is digitizing, preserving, and providing access to materials held by one of Guatemala’s most respected human rights organizations. The GAM’s archive contains a unique set of textual and audiovisual materials of significance to ongoing human rights trials and Guatemala’s historical memory.

This presentation details how the project team has centered the relationship with its community partner, privacy and ethics issues, and undergraduate research in the project. The project team has worked to develop workflows that reimagine the process of digitizing and describing archival materials as a pedagogical practice. Digitization practices tend to to defer teaching and learning until the project’s final stage, effectively separating digitization practitioners from the intellectual opportunities associated with the collections.

The presenters will also focus on the recently-launched digital archive which features GAM’s collection of testimony and documentation on over 3,700 cases of forced disappearance Guatemala’s armed internal conflict. Built with Django, the archive’s features include transcriptions; metadata; search; and case summaries. A team of Haverford undergraduates in the Digital Scholarship Compañeros Program have been key members in the site’s development and have also been the first researchers to produce scholarship on the collection.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

Digital Seas of Memory: The Confluence of Orality and Digitality in Unsettling the Archive

Maria Karaan (University of Hawaii-Manoa) and Benedict Salazar Olgado (University of California, Irvine and University of the Philippines)

The colonized archive is an archive of exactitude and fixity, shaped and determined by inscription. In contrast, the oral archive of the Sama Dilaut in Southeast Asia, who traditionally lived on boats upon the sea, refuses such static measures of storage and authenticity. As such, to reconceive the archive in the oral and be able to consider the sea as a vault of memory requires a different perspective on the manner through which memory is stored, received, and related. To reconceive the archive in the digital calls for the same.

Upon the Sama Dilaut sea of memory, the wali-djinn (roughly, community shaman) plays the role of the archon—keeper, collector, and curator. Each performance of the kata-kata, a sacred song of healing, not only manifests the wali-djinn’s curative power over the ill body but also that of the entire community, becoming in this way a form of resistance against the violence wrought by a history of subjugation through its contemporaneous play. Upon the digital sea of memory, the archivist performs acts of reassemblage, where there is creativity, fluidity, and continuance. Though these acts are referential, they are not fixed.

However, the Ateneo Epics Archive, which contains recordings, transcriptions, and translations of songs from indigenous communities in the Philippines, including that of the Sama Dilaut, reveals how the digital archive remains static. Although seemingly digital in form, the archive retains analogic and colonial methods of freezing a highly performative space.

In proposing the confluence of the digital and oral by way of Sama Dilaut orature, the very utterance and reutterance of the word, the use and reuse of the digital object, function as an archive in itself. When the digital connects to the inaugural act of the oral, the jussive property of the inscription is questioned together with the continuities and discontinuities it has created.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

Enslaved: Finding People

Dean Rehberger and Walter Hawthorne (Michigan State University)

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a grant of $1,472,000 to Michigan State University — the History Department and Matrix — to support the development of a project titled Enslaved: The People of the Historic Slave Trade. When completed, Enslaved will be a one-of-a-kind online data hub that promises to change fundamentally the way scholars and the general public understand African slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. Through the website, users can identify enslaved individuals and others involved in the Atlantic slave trade and run quantitative analyses of African and African diaspora populations. What will make Enslaved unique is its ability to deploy advanced digital methods and computational techniques to facilitate searches across multiple online databases that have been created by the world’s leading experts. The project will also expand existing and sponsor the creation of new databases housed at Michigan State University. Users of Enslaved will be able to access data about millions of Africans and their descendants and have the ability to draw conclusions never before dreamed possible. They will have access to data visualization tools with which they will be able to create maps, charts, and graphs. In addition, the project will preserve collections of data about enslaved individuals and the institution of slavery for future generations.

The project will be developed by Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University, in partnership with the MSU Department of History and scholars at multiple institutions of higher education in the USA and abroad. This one-and-a-half year project is phase one of a multi-phase plan. In phase one, Matrix and its partners will develop a proof of concept to demonstrate that data can be linked across eight well-established online collections. The partner projects in phase one are African Origins and Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database; The Slave Societies Digital Archive,Vanderbilt University; Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography; Dictionary of African Biography and African American National Biography, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University; Freedom Narratives, York University; Legacies of British Slave-Ownership, University College, London; The Liberated Africans Project, University of Colorado Boulder and University of Maryland.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

4:20-5:40 – Digital and Other Uprisings: Margins, Centers, and Social Change

Pedagogies of the Digitally Oppressed: Anti-Colonial Critiques and Transnational Collaborations within #OurDhIs Organizing

Kush Patel (University of Michigan), Ashley Caranto Morford (University of Toronto), and Arun Jacob (McMaster University)

At a summer 2018 convening, a group project and public performance called #OurDhIs brought to life the continuities and collaborations within race, social justice, and DH scholarship. #OurDhIs served as a call-for-action hashtag to extend the political origins of the previously successful #myDHis organizing into a community-centred praxis around what DH pedagogy is and can be. This presentation will highlight the work of a transnational pedagogy partnership, constituting and as constituted by the #OurDhIs movement. Honouring three situated projects, we will share the experiences of kinship and reciprocity between our individual work and collaborative anti-colonial practice in the form of three mini-episodes.

Episode one will ask: In what ways does the community-driven focus of #OurDhIs connect DH endeavours with our Ancestors and their anti-oppressive labours? How can we protect and honour the rights, knowledges, and sovereignties of our Ancestors in DH pedagogies and engagements? Episode two will ask: how might we place #OurDhIs in conversation with digital pedagogy curricula in Research I universities and learn from collaborations that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Color) scholars have nurtured with off-campus communities as part of their survival praxis against campus racism and neoliberalism? And episode three will ask: How might we champion anti-oppressive and anti-colonial pedagogical practices to introduce DH scholarship to community college students? What are the challenges of advocating for a progressive and inclusive DH pedagogy at a community college with and through movements such as #OurDhIs?

We take care not to position #OurDhIs as a singular moment, but rather as a supportive, critical, and living framework that interconnects our layered histories, sites, and communities of digital humanities scholarship. We will conclude this talk with an invitation to further this movement and deepen its reach lest we lose its epistemological focus and emancipatory orientation in and with “the community.”

Return to Thursday schedule

 

A Living Archive: Centering the Content-Creator in Feminista Community Archiving

Marísa Hicks-Alcaraz (Claremont Graduate University)

In the last decade, new community-centered digital archive initiatives have grown immensely in recognition that traditionally ignored communities should have a role in how their histories get told, collected, and used. Yet, few archival projects have undertaken a community-based approach to moving image archiving due to anxieties over copyright, technology, and public access. Moreover, while the number of archives dedicated to collecting women’s film and video production has grown substantially since the 1990s, the work by Chicanas/Latinas remains sorely underrepresented in film archives and criticism despite its valuable contributions to early video practices, documentary and experimental film techniques, and representations of cultural identity politics and female desire. The purpose of this project is to radically rethink the traditional archive from custodian (or even steward) to community advocate by providing content-creators with a strong system of support so that they can make a living from their work and enhance the impact in their communities. Guided by community archival discourses, queer of color epistemologies, and feminista media frameworks, I aim to articulate key principles that will form the contours of a Chicana/Latina digital media praxis for the collection development and management of Chicana moving images: intersectionality, reciprocity, healing, reflexivity, co-participation, and social justice. I argue that support of the content-creator should be at the center of a feminista, community-based approach to archiving. Centralizing the livelihood of content-creator as part of the processes of documenting their work will not only help shape how the community conceives of the past, but how it engages the present and imagines the future.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

Cyber Activism in India: Representation and Analysis of Big Data

Nanditha Narayanamoorthy (York University)

As we progress deeper and deeper into an age of data abundance and as what Simon Rogers describes a phenomenon of a “time in which we are all surrounded by data” and access to it, we are, in essence, at the heart of a process of self-digitization and online existence divorced from physical realities. Our move into cyberspaces and cybernetworks warrants higher digital footprints and our dependance on digital affordances engenders further stakes in dialogues of effective and appropriate representation of our non-virtual selves. These discussions necessitate and facilitate questions on and the problematics of virtual representation in the understanding of an effective measurement of otherness online.
My research situates itself at the intersection of Hellerstein’s (2008) “industrial revolution of data” or Big Data and digital activism movements in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly in the Indian context, whose focus, at the forefront of cyber activism, posits the struggle of the queer subaltern against the government as an institution that misrepresents democracy and other institutions with postcolonial, patriarchal and heteronormative notions and concepts of citizenship.


My focus for the research is the recently eliminated colonial, anti-homosexuality law, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in India and the public, private and political discourses surrounding the issue. This study examines Big Data, particularly Twitter Data collected and filtered through queries of queer digital activism on the social media platform in the form of hashtags #Section377, #decriminalize+homosexuality, #Article377IPC among others in the understanding of an accurate virtual representation of the queer population that is engaged in the struggle and in the effective gauging of the problematics of intersectionality of representation. Is the data representative of the subaltern; is data racialized, gendered and inclusive or is it merely a depiction or an intent of an ideal of inclusion, queer empathy and support as a part of a larger movement of progressivity and voice of the subaltern within digital movement uprisings in India? Is it too optimistic to posit sufficiency in the argument of the internet and digitized spaces as a form of Nancy Fraser’s (1992) counter public spheres that combat authority, dominant narratives and/or structures and challenge the status quo. These are some questions that this research addresses.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

Digital Graffiti: Website Defacement as Political Messaging and as Art

David Gustavsen (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Website defacement, the intentional vandalization of websites, is one of the most common and public forms of hacking. Zone-H, an internet archive of defacements, records over 20,000 defacements a week. This volume of defacements is significant enough that Zone-H has created a separate section for “special” defacements, highlighting defacements of websites run by governments and major corporations. In website defacement, hackers ‘deface’ a website by altering or replacing content on some or all of a website’s pages. Defacements can be as simple as a line of text informing viewers of the hack, but they are often elaborate collages, combining photographs, text, music, and video. While defacement is relatively harmless compared to other forms of hacking, its public nature makes it an extremely useful medium for personal expression, political messaging, and potentially even the creation of art. The public nature of defacement also makes it particularly easy to research, making it an outlier in the covert world of hacking. In many ways defacement is the digital equivalent of graffiti: omni-present, anonymous, often ignored, and wildly variant in motivation. Also like graffiti, defacement is often a means for the powerless to organize and resist dominant social and political forces.

Despite the prevalence of website defacement, the literature on the subject is almost non-existent. In fact, few people outside of the hacker forums and IT departments are even aware of defacement. By cataloging the defacements archived by Zone-H and exploring the “texts” of defacements from both geopolitical and media studies perspectives I hope to shed some light on this ubiquitous, and yet unexamined phenomenon. I hope to both better understand the motivations behind website defacements, the intended audience for defacements, and defacements as a medium in itself.

Return to Thursday schedule

 

 

Friday, March 22, 2019

10:50-12:00 – Lightning Talks

10:50-11:15 – Textual Analysis

Letters on/from Captivity: An Analysis of the Captive in Portuguese and Spanish Epistolary Writings in the 16th-18th Centuries

Leila Vieira (Ohio State University)

This presentation will discuss a comparison of Portuguese and Spanish captive narratives from private epistolary writings using Voyant text-analysis as part of a digital humanities research. The P.S. Post Scriptum Digital Archives collects and publishes informal letters written in the Early Modern Period by individuals of different social-economic background including “captives,” European natives who were captured, imprisoned, and enslaved in northern Africa. Until now, most studies on this theme have focused on the representation of captivity available in literary and official documents prone to embellishing or filtering of information to align to the formal account/narrative of a prosperous colonial empire. The following presentation will offer new understanding of the Early Modern Period by including the personal correspondence of captives. The corpus of captive letters in Spanish and Portuguese was analyzed using the Cirrus and Termsberry text-analysis tools on Voyant Tools, focusing on the comparison between the experience of captivity described by the prisoners themselves and in letters in which prisons are mentioned in the third person. Comparisons by century, gender and author were also reviewed with limited success. Based on text-analysis and a close reading of the corpus, it is observable that the letters written by captives focus on suffering, confinement, hardships they endure, as well as their prayers to God and the desire to maintain contact with relatives. In comparison, letters in which they are mentioned in the third person minimize, omit or fail to report reference to these difficulties. The presentation will focus on describing comparing digital humanities methodology and traditional humanities close reading, discuss insights made available through text-analysis tools, and demonstrate an example of digital humanities research in the Luso-Spanish Studies for non-English-language materials.

Return to Friday schedule

Authorship Attribution of Yasunari Kawabata’s Novel Snow Country

Hao Sun and Mingzhe Jin (Doshisha University, Japan)

This study applies computational stylistics methods for authorship attribution to give light on authorship problem of Snow Country. Snow Country is a novel published under the name of Yasunari Kawabata but suspected to be ghostwritten by Yukio Mishima. Yasunari Kawabata, the author of Snow Country was one of the most famous novelists in Japanese literature history. His novels became world-famous after he received the Novel Prize in Literature in 1968. Our method for attributing the author of Snow Country consists of three steps: establishing a training text corpus, extracting necessary stylometric features, and applying proper machine learning algorithms. Firstly, we established a corpus which contains 20 novels of both Yasunari Kawabata and Yukio Mishima. The goal of establish the corpus is to providing training data corpus for authorship attribution. Secondly, we employed comma position, part-of-speech(POS) tag bi-grams, and particle bi-grams as stylometric features to convert the writing style into numeric vectors. All the stylometric features mentioned above have been proved effective in Japanese authorship attribution. Finally, correspondence analysis(CA), hierarchical clustering analysis(HCA), adaptive boosting (AdaBoost), high-dimensional discriminant analysis (HDDA), logic model tree (LMT), random forest (RF), and support vector machine (SVM) are performed to attribute the real author of Snow Country. The quantitative analytical results revealed that the writing style of Snow Country is much more close to Yasunari Kawabata rather than Yukio Mishima. The results provided strong evidence to suggest that Snow Country was not written by the ghostwriter Yukio Mishima.

Return to Friday schedule

 

11:30-11:50 – Networks of Knowledge

Silent No More: Using Text Mining and Social Networks to Decolonize the History of Algerian Women

Ashley Sanders Garcia (University of California, Los Angeles)

Due to the marginalization of the Maghreb in African and Middle Eastern studies, the history of Ottoman Algeria remains understudied; the history of women in Ottoman Algeria is practically unknown. Accessible sources are limited. The few extant fragments of information about women during this 300-year period emerge from European and American travel accounts, consular records, nineteenth-century French scholarship, and chronicles of the provincial governors of Constantine, Algeria. This project seeks to decolonize knowledge about Algeria and its archive. By repurposing digital tools, we can bring to the surface the most marginalized voices and highlight the experiences of Algerian women. Through the use of close reading, text mining, and network analysis we can begin to uncover some of the untold stories of women who lived under Ottoman rule in Constantine, Algeria between 1567 and 1837. Text mining of the aforementioned sources using Named Entity Recognition unearths the names of prominent men and women, and network analysis begins to shine a light upon the relationships among the Ottoman elite and autochthonous Algerian notable families. I argue that these relations reveal the ways in which women were central to the creation and maintenance of the socio-political fabric that held together the tenuous bonds of Ottoman Algerian society and government. Algerian women were essential intercultural mediators and conduits to power. Contemporary Ottoman officials and Algerian men clearly understood this fact in ways that have been lost in the historical record. This study, then, seeks to mirror the historical reality by properly positioning women in the narrative, correcting the inaccurate representations of women in colonial literature, and rectifying their glaring absence in both scholarship and the public record.

Return to Friday schedule

 

The Role of Digital Space in the 21st Century

Frolence Rutechura (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

Social media has become a technology that can be accessed from computers and a range of mobile devices. Online social media networks have proved to be effective tools in advocacy and emergency communications (Pillay et al. 2010). Advocacy and communication in these online social media networks come in the forms of main posts and readers’ comments. Interestingly, communications done through online social media not only measure public opinion, but they also reflect the situation of the society overall. Language is a means of communication and a structured system of representation. It serves as a tool through which society can be accessed. As stated by Fairclough (1989: 23), “the language activity which goes on in social contexts is merely a reflection or expression of social processes and practices; it is part of those processes and practices.” This submission implies that there is a relationship between text, discourse and society. This paper therefore takes a critical look at some samples of online readers‟ reactions to the statement by the European Union condemning the rise of political-related violence in Tanzania posted on JamiiForums,2 in order to see how language is used by individuals to express their view points and opinions on the content of the post.

Return to Friday schedule

 

Humanities Scholars and Ethical Compliance in the Digital World: Role of Academic Librarians in Nigeria

Airen Adetimirin (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)

Humanities scholars in universities use the digital world for teaching, learning, research and social interactions. The digital world includes the Internet which provides access to online databases, digital libraries and social media networks. However, there are ethical guidelines in the use of the digital world and humanities scholars in universities must be aware, knowledgeable and comply with such guidelines. Ethical guidelines include appropriate use of information resources to avoid plagiarism, piracy and other misconduct. Academic librarians are expected to provide the necessary ethical information on appropriate use of the digital world to the humanities scholars through various means such as orientation, awareness and training programmes. The acquisition of good ethical knowledge by these scholars will improve the image of their universities and the society at large. However, there is concern about the ethical use of the digital world by different individuals such as librarians, undergraduates and postgraduates, but not much is known about humanities scholars in universities. This article reviews the knowledge of the humanities scholars about ethical use of the digital world, the role of the academic librarians towards ensuring good ethical behaviour and the collaboration between humanities scholars and the academic librarians towards ethical compliance. The article recommends ways of promoting ethical compliance to the humanities scholars by the academic librarians.

Return to Friday schedule

 

1:40-3:10 En-Compassing Latitudes: Methodologies, Pedagogies, and Trajectories of Global DH

Anne Cong-Huyen (University of Michigan), Viola Lasmana (University of Southern California), and Kush Patel (University of Michigan)

This panel brings together Asian American scholars, both librarians and academic researchers, to share and reflect on the breadth of scholarship and pedagogy informed by the interrelated frames of transnational Asian American and global digital humanities. We will discuss ongoing pedagogy, research, and collaborations that both adhere to and defy understandings of digital humanities scholarship. Despite their varied forms and subject matter, at the heart of these presentations and the projects that inspired them, are a core commitment to transformative, anti-colonial, social justice work informed by women of color feminisms, queer feminisms, and third world feminisms.

Our first panelist will discuss the ongoing work of FemTechNet and the feminist “hang-based pedagogy” methodology practiced by its Situated Critical Race + Media committee (SCRAM), a feminist anti-colonial distributed network of women and non-binary scholars of color whose work pushes expectations of collaborative digital scholarship. Over the past several years this network has met virtually, collaboratively authored scholarship, organized in-person Network Gatherings at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, and piloted Media Map, an interactive platform about race, feminism, and technology created through transnational collaboration and collective grant sharing.

Our second panelist will explore alternative articulations of global digital humanities by focusing on transpacific digital media that engage both the analog and the digital. They will examine how transmedia storytelling transforms understandings of the place and space of narrative, temporality, history, and social justice in transpacific contexts. A global and transpacific understanding of digital humanities allows for new imaginaries and praxis, and offers a definition of a Global Digital Humanities focused on transpacific connections, as well as the Global South.

Our third panelist will talk about the processes of supporting digital community engagements in a public university with queer, feminist, and anti-colonial methodologies. Critiquing disparities in power and privilege not just at the intersection of technologies and gender, but also between non-academic and academic groups, they will discuss how this work stems from and addresses the labor of survival within neoliberal infrastructures of higher education. Equally, this talk will highlight related DH pedagogy collaborations between the Global North and Global South as bridging features of our contiguous worlds lest we look past how we learn and who we learn with.

Return to Friday schedule

 

3:30-5:00 – Surveillance and Social Justice

Latoya Lee (State University of New York (SUNY), Oswego), Arun Jacob (Mohawk College), Megan Wilson (University of Guelph), Andy Boyles Petersen (Michigan State University), and Christina Boyles (Michigan State University)

We are a community of scholars dedicated to exploring the relationship between surveillance and the humanities, using an anti-colonial framework to analyze the ethics surrounding physical and digital surveillance methods. We examine the ways in which communities and institutions experience surveillance differently, based on factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and positionality. To do so, we develop work that interrogates unethical surveillance practices and proposes strategies for sousveillance, security, and social justice.

Archiving Contemporary Liberation Movements in the US (Latoya Lee)

The Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN) and Movement 4 Black Lives (M4BL) have successfully sparked national and global conversations about police brutality, racial inequality, and what it means to value Black life. This paper is interested in thinking about how to track the lasting impact of BLMGN and M4BL through the creation of a digital “archive” of the movement. The chronicling of BLMGN and M4BL will investigate key questions about what to include, such as interviews with activists in the movement, online records and organizing strategies. Thus, providing rich-resources for activists and community members while becoming another avenue for BLMGN and M4BL activists to present their own narrative of the movement. BLMGN, a horizontally organized movement by three queer women of color, provides a leadership structure as well as movement strategies and tactics that have helped shift the ways of knowing, while providing a template for the construction of a decolonial future. It is with this in mind, that this presentation will explore the ways these movements have laid the foundation towards thinking, reasoning and philosophizing about our complex history as well as what is to come in the future. I will explore questions as to what purpose this digital archive will serve as well as address the ethical and political implications and dangers of constructing such an archive, such as digital surveillance.

Good fences make good neighbours: Interrogating how geo-fencing operates as surveillance technology (Arun Jacob)

A geofence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. Geofences established around a target location, such as stores, malls, factories, neighbourhoods, and cities transform location information from data gathering software on smartphones by collecting GPS coordinates, cellular network data, RFID, and Wi-Fi data into saleable data. Data vendors such as the Thasos Group sell this geo-fenced information to clients as alternative data used to obtain insight into the investment process. Personal injury law firms use geofencing to target ads onto the smartphones of patients waiting in hospital emergency rooms and chiropractic clinics. In 2017 Copley Advertising was banned by the Massachusets Attorney General from using geofenced data to target women who were accessing reproductive health facilities with anti-abortion advertisements on their smartphones. This micro-targeting of ads suggests that advertising is now a system of surveillance. I will be focusing my presentation on showing how geofenced digital advertising is currently being used in political campaigns. As people’s habits and values are used to micro-target votes via data-driven discriminatory techniques, it will be discussing how surveillance technologies are being sutured into the political campaign cycle.

Scoot over smart devices: The invisible costs of rental scooters (Andy Boyles Petersen)

In the past year, transportation rental companies including Bird, Lime, and Spin have dropped hundreds of thousands of rental scooters across North America. Relying on mobile apps and scooter-mounted GPS units, these devices have access to a wide-variety of consumer data including location, phone number, phone metadata, and more. Data collected by these companies can be utilized by internal researchers or sold to advertisers and data brokers. Access to so much consumer data, however, poses serious security risks. According to JiWire president David Staas, “Where you are says more about you than any other point of data” (Angwin 143). Although Bird, Lime, and Spin posit electric scooters as environmentally-friendly and accessible transportation, they also allow for unethical uses of user data through vaguely-worded terms of service. To promote more equitable transportation practices, this presentation will explore the implications of dockless scooter geotracking, as well as related infrastructure, privacy, and data security ramifications.

Surveillance, Social Justice, and Simulacra on Our Screens (Megan Wilson)

I intend, in this panel, to figure and interrogate surveillance as a discursive technique which produces knowledge and identities. Methods of identity development are becoming increasingly digital, and as such, Foucauldian theories of social conditioning and identity formation in relation to power are surprisingly illustrative of the way that identity is negotiated online.

My paper expands the range of this theory, specifically to the virtual identity of celebrity Instagram influencer Miquela Sousa (@lilmiquela). Though Miquela appears to embody a real twenty-something millennial influencer—her 1.5 million Instagram followers help to reinforce this identity archetype—what is less obvious at first glance is that Miquela is a computer generated image. The standout of a new breed of online influencers, Miquela’s uncanny appearance is edited to the most minute of stylistic choices as she poses in real places, with real people, most often wearing real couture—herself being little more than a simulation. Through an ongoing and intricate transmedia narrative, Miquela frequently aligns herself with left-leaning political events such as Black Lives Matter, refugee advocacy organizations, trans rights, DACA, gun control, and protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The emergent process of digital storytelling allows Miquela to co-opt processes of online identity development: not only was she generated to fit perfectly in the embodiment of a fashion influencer, but her political affiliation was intricately curated to resonate within trending politics too. It is clear that Miquela’s identity is merely a temporal construction in the time and space of ‘right now’, meaning that there is no need for her politics to have a history, a lived experience, or even a human intellect.

This case focuses on the dangerous political construction of @lilmiquela, the self-surveillance practices of online narrative development, and the subsequent appropriations through mechanisms of marketing, control, and design within the audiovisual marketplace of information-identity exchange.

Tainted by Numbers: The Role of Quantification in U.S. Disaster Response (Christina Boyles)

Recent work by Simone Browne, Virginia Eubanks, Shoshana Amielle Magnet, and Safiya Noble brings the relationship between surveillance and colonialism to the forefront, demonstrating the ways in which marginalized peoples often experience the greatest consequences of surveillance culture. Browne notes that “When particular surveillance technologies, in their development and design, leave out some subjects and communities for optimum usage, this leaves open the possibility of reproducing existing inequalities” (Browne 163). Following this model of inquiry, I examine the role of surveillance in the United States’ federal disaster response techniques, particularly in Puerto Rico. In particular, I draw comparisons between the San Felipe hurricane of 1928 and Hurricane Maria to show the United States’ long-standing use of surveillance methods to maintain control and to extract profit from the vulnerabilities of marginalized communities.

One of the ways the United States enacted surveillance culture after both storms was through quantification. By controlling the ways in which damage was counted, communicated, and assessed, the United States was able to control public perceptions surrounding the storm and its severity. For this reason, it is crucial to analyze our response to Maria through the lens of San Felipe; doing so demonstrates the long history of surveillance and exploitation inherent to natural disaster response in Puerto Rico, particularly by making evident the ways in which colonialism is embedded into the recovery process. Such responses have significant long-term effects on the economies, health, and overall well-being of the island and have directly contributed to its instability and vulnerability.

Analysis, however, is not enough. We must imagine possibilities for disaster response that operate outside of surveillance culture. This presentation will outline the problems with the United States’ current disaster response methodologies and offer recommendations for disaster response protocol that is grounded in ethical engagement and social justice.

Return to Friday schedule