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2012 December

Donnie Sackey


December 13, 2012

Mapping Spaces, Enabling Travel

December 13, 2012 | By | No Comments

In my last blog I hinted that I have a deep interest in exploring the ways in which creative applications of information and computing technologies can help map environments and subsequently allow for alternative levels of engagement that are geared toward helping community stakeholders envision and create more livable, sustainable communities. I thought that I would use this blog as both a reflection and review of an assignment in which I asked my students not only to experiment with space but also to envision how a digital intervention might augment a user’s spatial experience.

This semester I taught WRA/FW 341: Nature, Environmental, and Travel Writing. The course is housed in the Professional Writing program but it is also cross-listed as an intensive reading/writing experience for Fisheries and Wildlife students. I was given free reign to completely revamp the syllabus. Since, my dissertation is very conscious of writing space and how we write Read More

Madhu Narayan


December 11, 2012

Some reflections on The Lesbian Herstory Archives digital collections

December 11, 2012 | By | No Comments

Over the past couple of years, as part of my dissertation, I have been writing about the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA), located in New York. The LHA lives in a beautiful brownstone building in Parkslope, Brooklyn. Its first home was in the Upper Westside of Manhattan, in the apartment of Joan Nestle, who was one of the founders of the archives. The LHA is a community-based archival space: according to its founding principles, the archives is committed to collecting living histories; as such, the LHA houses historical materials from the past and the present. All lesbians are encouraged to donate materials about their lives. As per this model of archives, decisions about what counts as archival depends on community members. The community decides what is important to its history rather than institutions that may be removed from the community entirely. This is a model of radical archiving that depends on Read More



December 11, 2012

Digital History in the MSU History Department

December 11, 2012 | By | 4 Comments

This semester (Fall 2012), I had a very exciting opportunity to take a History 830 graduate level seminar in the MSU History Department, “Race, Biography, and Nation Building in South African History” with Prof. Peter Alegi. We went through recent and cutting-edge readings on South African history, focusing on the 19th and 20th centuries. These readings fostered stimulating discussions and debates every Tuesday evening.

Final Assignment
Our final assignment for the course deviated from the usual end of semester historiographical papers; instead, it was a digital assignment involving analyzing digital resources on the history of South Africa. Each student was asked to select one website from the list below and examine its content, purpose, ownership, and potential as a teaching, learning, research-scholarship and/or popular knowledge resource. We were also asked to explore issues of preservation, accessibility and provide comments on what could be done to enhance the site. The digital assignment ended with Read More

Taz Karim


December 7, 2012

Getting Digital at the #AAA2012 Meetings

December 7, 2012 | By | No Comments

It is three weeks later and I am still reveling in the undeniable insanity that was the American Anthropological Association (AAA) meetings in San Francisco, CA. As chair of the Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco Study Group (ADTSG) and organizer of three panels, my conference schedule was packed. But in the midst of all the chaos, I kept my CHI mission in mind: to assess the state of “digital anthropology” within our professional organization. The following highlights just a few of the things I found surprising, encouraging, and definitely worth blogging about.

The benefits of academic tweeting!

If you were following the #AAA2012 hashtag on twitter during the month of November, you probably already know that I took full advantage of this platform to connect with fellow anthropologists and shamelessly promote my special interest group (#ADTSG). Before the AAAs, I probably tweeted once or twice a day, sharing links to articles that were relevant Read More

Sylvia Deskaj


December 5, 2012

What role does “digital” have within Anthropology? – Part I

December 5, 2012 | By | One Comment

This is a question that I asked fellow graduate students here in the Department of Anthropology at MSU. The impetus for asking my peers this question occurred as a result of last week’s meeting of CHI Fellows, whereby Donnie Sackey suggested that it would be useful to us to get a sense of how people define “digital.” What follows are some snippets of conversations that I found to be particularly informative about how people define “digital” and, in particular, the role and/or value that “digital” has within the discipline of anthropology:


“…digital resources have the ability to bring the “other” closer to us…”

“…people we study and work with are able to have access to the resources and information that we use as researchers…”

“…ability to access articles from basically anywhere and across all disciplines…”


What are the pros and cons of incorporating “digital” into your respective sub-discipline?

“…visual databases really help us understand a wider Read More



December 4, 2012

MSU, a Global and Diverse Community

December 4, 2012 | By | No Comments

For the Fall 2012 semester, there were 6,599 international students (including undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree students) from 130 countries enrolled at Michigan State University (MSU). In response to this surge of foreign students, I made a map (using MapBox) to reflect the demographic composition of the MSU’s international student population.


Of the 6,599 international students, 3712 students are from China. This created a problem when I tried to use the “Conditional Style” feature of TileMill to change the marker width of the points because there is only 1 student from many countries and it is impossible to accurately record the proportion of the total number of Chinese students and that of some other countries.











I was able to use ToolTips to make the map interactive. When users move the mouse over the points, the total number of MSU students from each country will be revealed. For instance, you can Read More