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Joseph Bradshaw

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July 9, 2015

New units coming to SWAG

July 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

This summer I plan to create new content for my educational site The Saharan World at a Glance. I am currently conducting preliminary dissertation research in Bamako. When I am not I’m the archive I plan to travel as much as possible to observe and photograph trade, Islam and leisure in Mali. Originally I had hoped to focus on Islam in the region, but I will be unable to travel to important Islamic centers in the North at this time. However, I (rather accidentally) rented an apartment in the Hippodrome quarter of Bamako, a district with several leisure attractions. It is named for the hippodrome where folks race horses. Soccer matches are held in the patchy grass at the edges of the race track. Betting on horses seems to be quite popular. I noticed one of my many new friends Abu Bokar obsessing over a program that contained the ponies’ stats and schedules. I was able to attend the last race of the season and will collect data to write a brief lesson.

 

My experience at the race has inspired me to write up a small unit on leisure in Mali based on my experiences. In order to show people something a bit out of the ordinary, like horse racing, that people don’t often associate with West Africa, but include some distinctly West African pastimes. Tomorrow I have made plans to watch a wrestling match. The Senegalese style of traditional wrestling has become popular in Mali. I also plan to attend local theater, and the end of Ramadan will no doubt present numerous opportunities to observe how Malians spend their leisure time. I have been writing informal travel pieces on my personal blog Abu Battuta’s travels in Africa, and I hope some of the material can also be worked into lessons about Mali’s beautiful culture.

So as one door shuts a new opportunity presents itself. Research trips are unpredictable so one might as well adjust. I still plan to travel to Jenne and work up a history of the city for my site, but travel north will be determined by other factors. الله هو يعرف

Look for the new units next fall and more to follow as I continue to develop SWAG.

Lisa Bright

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June 8, 2015

Mortuary Mapping Summer Expansion

June 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

Mortuary Mapping, my online site documenting the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Historic Cemetery launched in early May. This first phase of the project focused on the creation and implementation of the interactive maps of the burials using Cartodb. However, I see Mortuary Mapping as a space that will grow alongside the project research. Next month I will be traveling to California to conduct archival research. I’m hoping to ideally locate the burial records (although all attempts to locate them thus far have failed), early maps of the area, and any newspaper information related to the cemetery.

This summer I plan to expand Mortuary Mapping by adding an archival section. I will not only be sharing digitized images from the archives (pending of course individual archive regulation regarding the redistribution of their material), and creating a database of the information I locate. Anthropologists are all about context, and I hope that adding some about the site will allow others to connect with the cemetery, as well as save other researchers a bit of legwork. I look forward to sharing my finds from the archives!

becca hayes

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June 1, 2015

Visualizing Street Harassment Continues

June 1, 2015 | By | No Comments

Visualizing Street Harassment is an online map-based visualization of a born-digital cultural event, the “10 Hours of Walking…” video meme. I launched the first version in early May. In that first phase of the project, I focused on establishing the general framework of the site, collecting a small, diverse sample of “10 Hours of Walking…” videos, and gaining the technical skills necessary to accomplish those tasks. Though I accomplished much of what I’d hoped for in the initial phase, I discovered some limitations as I worked. First, the one-page webpage theme I selected limits the contextual information I could include without overwhelming the introductory framework, and, thus, the audience. Additionally, in working through the technical aspects of the project and the basic framework, I did not include as much analysis as the project has potential for.

Based on those limitations, after the project launched, I aimed to continue the project by 1) increasing both the quantity of pins and 2) the depth of analysis and context of each pin/video. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been collecting and analyzing additional videos. So far, I’ve identified 27 more “10 Hours of Walking…” videos to include across the map, in addition to the 12 currently you currently see there.

One interesting new challenge I’ve encountered is parody videos that feature fictional characters in fictional locations. For example, “10 Hours of Walking in Archeage as a Woman” portrays a female video game character walking in ArcheAge, a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game). Because Visualizing Street Harassment employs a global map-based visualization, there’s no obvious place to pin these kinds of videos; however, I do think they’re important to include, so I’ll be working on a solution to this issue as the project moves forward.

By the beginning of July, I plan to have the rest of those videos and their descriptions added to the map. Then for remainder of the summer, I’ll be building and writing the content for individual analysis pages for each video. Watch for the full launch in late August!

naraya36

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May 22, 2015

Summer Project

May 22, 2015 | By | No Comments

For the past year I have been working as a CHI Fellow learning about different online tools to build various kinds of digital cultural interfaces. Through my work over the past nine months I developed my project Fieldwork Narratives, a pictorial journal of my fieldwork experiences with the Chenchu community of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, India. Using Story Maps, an online tool that facilitates storytelling, I have designed a simple narrative of several aspects of my fieldwork experiences keeping in mind young groups of people (13-20 years of age) as my target audience.

While this is an on-going project that I will continue building on as my work with the Chenchu progresses, I want to redo the look and structure of the current project to make it more scholarly. While my attempt to reach out to younger groups of people stays, I also want to give it a more academic touch to serve a number of purposes. One, being an academic, I think I will not be doing justice without incorporating this dimension into the project. Two, even though this is not the same as a publication, this is a sort of academic dissemination that warrants a more formal structuring that allows me to share my project with a more scholarly audience. Three, linked to the first two goals, this then adds more weight on my resume in terms of a scholarly endeavor.

My objective this summer is to make the current project look more like a journal publication, albeit with more pictures and less text.

royston7

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May 10, 2015

Shakespeare’s Shadows is Live!

May 10, 2015 | By | No Comments

I am delighted to announce the launch of my CHI project, Shakespeare’s Shadows! Over the past academic year, I have been reading, researching, testing different technologies, and learning how to code in order to make this happen.

My research interest lies in understanding the way in which English Renaissance dramatists engaged with the visual arts, specifically through the lens of professionalization. I argue that Renaissance dramatists reference and make use of English artistic theory in order to reflect upon their own multi-media, visual/verbal form. With this interest in mind, I scaled my project to focus on the dramas in Shakespeare’s First Folio. For more information about the background, rationale, and objective of this study, please visit the ‘About the project’ page on my site.

Using Voyant, I explored Shakespeare’s texts through the use of their web-based data visualization tools. Each graph on my website analyzes a different part of Shakespeare’s corpus or related texts, and uncovers unique connections and trends that were not apparent previously. Most graphs are interactive. I encourage users to manipulate these graphs to suit their own curiosities.

I plan to keep adding to the webpage and I also look forward using Shakespeare’s Shadows in my classroom. Next academic year, I am fortunate enough to be teaching two Shakespeare courses and I plan to work with students to facilitate a research-based learning environment. Shakespeare’s Shadows is just one example of the many ways digital work can lead to new understandings of old texts and I cannot wait to share this with my students!

You can find much more information about the project on the actual webpage, which I hope you will take a moment to visit. Because there is more work to be done, I would really appreciate your feedback. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have.

Lastly, I would like to thank MATRIX, the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative, and especially Ethan Watrall for generously supporting me as I worked on this project.

becca hayes

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May 8, 2015

The Launch of Visualizing Street Harassment

May 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

shmapWhen I started the CHI Fellowship last fall, I had several ideas about projects I might undertake over the course of the year. Serendipitously, on October 28th, 2014, about two months into my fellowship, a video,“10 Hours of Walking as a Woman in NYC,” went viral. The documentary-style video aims to capture the street harassment experiences of a woman walking through NYC. As someone who has not only experienced street harassment in my daily life, but has also studied the feminist and queer rhetorics surrounding anti-street harassment activism, especially storytelling as an organizing strategy, I watched with interest as digital and public discussions about street harassment increased. That interest has resulted in my project,Visualizing Street Harassment, which maps responses to the “10 Hours of Walking as a Woman in NYC.

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Lisa Bright

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May 8, 2015

Mortuary Mapping Launched!

May 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

Mortuary Mapping has officially launched! To say that this project is near and dear to my heart would be an understatement. I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) Historic Cemetery project since early in the excavation phase. I worked as an osteologist, excavating and analyzing remains for a total of five months in 2012 and 2013. This site will also be the focus of my dissertation, where I will examine the health and nutrition of the individuals buried there.

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Joseph Bradshaw

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May 8, 2015

The Saharan World at a Glance is Launched!

May 8, 2015 | By | One Comment

I am happy to announce that my site the Saharan World at a Glance (SWAG) is now live. This site is an education resource designed to introduce an undergraduate audience to the history, culture and politics of North Africa and the Sahel. This site is specifically conceived of as a tool that students will access on their phones or tablets. The site is built like an online text book made up of short units. These units are meant to be used as introductory or supplementary reading for broader lessons. The first unit published on the site introduces orientalism in the North African context, focusing primarily on Algeria.

SWAG was inspired by my experiences as a teaching assistant at Michigan State. My first teaching experience was working alongside Dr. Peter Alegi, who builds a week of his coverage of Apartheid in South Africa around the site Overcoming Apartheid. I noticed that many students engaged with the site over their phones, often within the first few minutes before class. I remembered my own desperate circling of key arguments on freshly printed articles before classes. I figured that even though procrastination is not new, the way students digest information is. My project tries to recognize shifts in information consumption without sacrificing the quality of its content.

The CHI fellowship generously funded and supported the development of my site. As I set to work I was also teaching my first class composed almost entirely of freshmen, and I owe them some thanks. Teaching this class with Dr. Bailey helped me fine tune my approach to the site. End to end this site is meant for incoming underclassmen: even the goofy, yet easy to remember, title! I used the bootstrap, a mobile first framework, and chose a layout that looks best on tablets, large smart phones and small laptop screens. The units are composed of micro-essays. The writing is conversational and short paragraphs are broken up by captivating images.

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The first unit relies heavily on nineteenth century art demonstrate orientalist trends in western thought. The essays are broken up into four sections I introduce Said’s critique and give a brief history of east-west divides. I then move on to a unit on masculinity followed by a unit on sexuality. I close with an attempt to weave the diverse threads together in a section on white slave narratives. Nestled within the broader lesson are introductory facts about the French conquest of Algeria, the civilizing mission, and slavery in Africa.

I see this site as an ongoing project. I plan to add a page that directs students to further readings and perhaps a more detailed gallery for this unit. I will also continue to add units as I develop courses and conduct my own research on Islam in Africa. The next unit will give an overview of Sufi Islam in Africa.

naraya36

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May 8, 2015

FieldworkNarratives

May 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

The Chenchu are one among several tribal communities who live in India. They are traditionally defined as a hunter-gatherer community, living primarily in the Nallamalai forests of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, India. However, such a definition provides a very limited understanding of who the Chenchu really are. There are various ways in which communities and groups of people are understood. Tribal and indigenous communities suffer from a very limited and narrow way of being represented and understood. While there are obvious historical and political factors that have contributed to such an understanding, it is my objective as an anthropologist, and someone who has an on-going relationship with the Chenchu to do my bit in dispelling these essentialized representations of the community. FieldworkNarratives is a project that is based primarily on this philosophy.

FieldworkNarratives is a pictorial journal of my fieldwork experiences with minimal text to provide basic information about the pictures. I have used StoryMaps, which is an online tool that facilitates storytelling to design my project. The project design is intentionally kept simple and straight-forward keeping in mind that my target audience is young groups of people between the age-groups 13-20 years. Moreover, I did not want to put too much emphasis on my own narrative, allowing instead for people to form their own ideas.

FieldworkNarratives in an on-going project that I will continue working on as my work with the Chenchu progresses. While this is a small step toward a larger goal which can only be fulfilled in collaboration with more people, I am excited about the launch of this project. The goal is to continue building on this through incorporating people’s suggestions as well broadening the scope of the project itself. For now, I am taking a moment to celebrate (i) my increased knowledge on cultural informatics and online applications, (ii) the first project of a digital format that I have ever created, and (iii) small victories toward long-term goals in my commitment of working with the Chenchu.

 

 

Tos_Ram

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May 8, 2015

Launch of The Xicano Cookbook

May 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

17014307382_af78ac4277_oI am pleased to announce the launch of The Xicano Cookbook, a multi-modal essay documenting Xicano culture in the Great Lakes region. The website uses Xicano art, oral histories, and decolonial theory to describe some of the ways in which Xicanos make space and place for our culture, especially in regard to our food practices and visual media making.

It has been great having the chance to develop this project through the Cultural Heritage Informatics Graduate Fellowship this year. It changed forms many times during the past 8 months, but thanks to continuous critical feedback from my colleagues in CHI and in WRAC, I was able to develop a project that was both fun to work on and (hopefully) useful to Chicana/o Studies and CHI in general.

Originally, at the beginning of the academic year, I had envisioned making an interactive map that tracked my family’s migrant history from Mexico to Texas to Michigan. While these types of genealogies can often be worthwhile, the decolonial theory that was guiding my project pushed it in a different direction. Rather than providing a linear visualization of this migration history, I utilized the dynamic tools available through Story Maps to craft a digital essay that articulates invisibilized aspects of Xicano culture with an array of multimedia content. Using Story Maps allowed me showcase different kinds of media simultaneously—audio clips from interviews I conducted with local Xicano artists and cooks, photography and other visual images, and written text—and it has made my project much more interactive.

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