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February 29, 2012

Digital History – A Selective State of the Field

February 29, 2012 | By | No Comments

This post is a selective survey of the state of digital history. My overview is neither exhaustive nor definitive, instead focusing on my own experiences and reflections as an observer and student. So, here are a few recent themes that partially illuminate the contours of digital history:

Digital Sessions at the Annual American Historical Association meeting
I was lucky in that my first annual meeting for my professional association also featured a record amount of sessions devoted to digital history. In fact, Chicago’s program had its own section devoted to digital sessions: The Future is Here: Digital Methods in Research and Teaching in History. The proliferation of digital sessions can be credited to increasing practice and interest in digital work, but having a prominent DH practitioner like Dan Cohen on the program committee also played a big part. Another important benchmark was the first THATCamp at AHA, a fruitful event that included mostly Read More

Rachael Hodder


February 23, 2012

Chewing on Digital Rhetoric

February 23, 2012 | By | No Comments

“What does a digital rhetorician do?”
“What is digital rhetoric?”
“What is rhetoric?”

To most people outside my field, it’s not immediately obvious what my field of study means or what I do. As a degree candidate in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing, I hear these questions often from my friends, family, even some of my own colleagues! As rhetoricians, my colleagues and I are often concerned with these types of epistemological questions and end up deeply entrenched in these what does it all mean rabbit holes.

Certainly, we can be sure of some things: many of us are humanists and writers; we live in writing programs such as English or literary-type disciplines or communication programs; more often than not, we’re trained in those types of programs. Because we’re located in different places from university to university, there is some ambiguity over the location of rhetoric. Rhetoric is defined by one of those long-dead Greek Read More

Emily Niespodziewanski


February 16, 2012

(Digital) State of the Field: Physical Anthropology

February 16, 2012 | By | 2 Comments

Image credit Flickr user karen_roe

Social media is largely overlooked by physical anthropologists. This is due in part to the nature of the data that goes into research. Someone studying vitamin A deficiency in infants in relation to the mother in Kenya does not need to use social media to interview or retrieve the blood nutrient levels of her research participants. Likewise, as I mentioned in an earlier post, forensic anthropologists in particular are constrained by ethics and the sensitive nature of the cases they work on.

Leading academic institutions in this field have yet to embrace the public outreach power of tools like Twitter, but this is changing slowly. At the same time, many graduate students (and some more senior academics) use Twitter personally and professionally to network. A good faculty role model would be @JohnHawks: this paleoanthropologist blogs, he’s engaged with the online community via Read More



February 3, 2012

Project Introduction: Fayana Richards

February 3, 2012 | By | One Comment

My project will be split up into two components: building a data repository using Kora and writing a corresponding white paper that will discuss my experiences in constructing a model for qualitative data. The first component, the data repository, will house qualitative data, such as one-on-one/focus groups interview transcripts and participant observation field notes. From my experience, it is this type of data that produces much anxiety for qualitatively driven anthropologists. The repository will also host multimedia content such as photos, audio and video. Another important aspect of the repository will be the inclusion of supplementary material, such as project bios, interview guides, consent forms and code books. Despite the wide range of content proposed for the digital repository, a primary concern that cuts across all platforms for anthropologists, who conduct research with human subjects, is confidentiality and human subject protection. This project seeks to address these issues through the Read More

Rachael Hodder


February 2, 2012

Introducing Corridor

February 2, 2012 | By | No Comments

Twitter has been an invaluable tool for me as a new grad student and growing scholar. Communicating and building connections over Twitter has helped form relationships with my colleagues and professors in my program and across the university. Using Twitter has also afforded me access to the growing domain of digital humanities through the tweets of scholarly publications, organizations, thought leaders, and my own colleagues – in fact, it was through a tweet that I learned of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative at MSU.

Though I have been a Twitter user for years, I first experienced its utility in a scholarly context while attending my first major academic conference. I had never been to a major academic conference before and I thought that the conference backchannel might be a good way to get acclimated to the new practices and setting. I was right: using the Twitter hashtag for the conference, I scouted Read More

Emily Niespodziewanski


January 27, 2012

Translating trusted tools to 21st century technology

January 27, 2012 | By | No Comments

You won’t find much if you search Twitter for forensic anthropologists. This is partly due to the sensitive nature of the work they do. For ethical and legal reasons, casework involving active investigations (e.g., homicide or positive identification of a John/Jane Doe) cannot be shared. As a field, we have remained very pad-and-pencil. However, the integration of methods and traditions of human osteology with the user-friendly, readily-accessible technological platforms will be critical to our continued relevance and growth as a field.

Recent methodologies have been developed in forensic anthropology using complex 3-dimensional imagery and statistical methods like Elliptical Fourier Analysis. These methods are sound (and new and exciting!), but there are equally valid methods that have been developed through the 20th century using simpler math.

The problem with our tried-and-true methods is that they are mired in their original journal articles, spread out through many volumes of various journals over many decades. Read More



January 25, 2012

Project Introduction: Alex Galarza

January 25, 2012 | By | No Comments

In my introductory post as a CHI fellow I briefly described my interests in the football clubs of 1950s and 60s Buenos Aires as ways to study politics, civic association, and mass consumption. After a few months of discussion and planning, I have decided to split my project into two components:
The first segment of my project will entail growing into an interdisciplinary web platform for football scholarship. I co-founded the site with Peter Alegi four semesters ago to bring together authors of football scholarship with fellow researchers and academics. Since then we have enjoyed great success in these meetings and have also developed a number of resources on the website. The project now includes a Zotero group library, film database, audio archive, academic directory, and syllabus repository. As the community grows, it is important that the web platform develop alongside our expanded interests. Over the next semester, I will be Read More

Emily Niespodziewanski


January 13, 2012

Institutional Tweeting 2.0

January 13, 2012 | By | No Comments

Say you’ve set up a Twitter account for your [insert institution here: lab, office, international space station]. With personal accounts, you follow whoever you want, find your friends through your connected accounts, and proceed on your merry way. However, I found myself directionless and hesitant to make mistakes as I created and began administrating my lab’s Twitter account.

In my last post, I talked about justifying an institutional account to The Boss and covered the information for which Twitter is a platform. Once the barrier of creation has been crossed, though, and The Boss recognizes Twitter’s value, you suddenly represent the office.

The Boss almost always has a strong idea of how they want to handle public relations. I recommend a short conversation on the topics below to get an idea of their preferences. Be prepared to explain the alternative answers for each topic – like the benefits of following 25 vs 400 Read More

Rachael Hodder


January 5, 2012

Reflecting on HASTAC V: Forking Scholarship

January 5, 2012 | By | 2 Comments

Like Alex, HASTAC V was the first digital humanities-centric conference I have attended. However, I have not had the pleasure of attending any THATcamps yet, so it was the first time I’d shared the same physical space with so many other scholars who are as excited as me about DH. It was invigorating and I left the conference feeling inspired and motivated.

The conference’s theme was digital scholarly publishing and many scholars’ talks focused on how they have been doing digital scholarly publishing already or their vision for why or how the current model of scholarly publishing is flawed and in need of change. Highlights for me include a keynote panel featuring Richard Nash, Dan Cohen, and Tara McPherson as well as Doug Eyman and Cheryl Ball’s discussion of managing Kairos, an online scholarly journal founded in 1996. These talks, both reflective and rallying, felt like exciting calls to action by scholars Read More



January 4, 2012

Defining Accessibility in Funding Applications

January 4, 2012 | By | No Comments

We’ve all done it. At the end of those funding proposals, we proclaim making our research more accessible through publications and conferences, which is fine and necessary for most academic disciplines. I myself have been guilty of this practice. A practice that has been drummed into my head after attending several grant writing workshops over the years. In retrospect, I realize that I wasn’t saying much at all. How is this anything different from what funding organizations are already assuming we would/should do if awarded? With that being said, is it really enough? Accessible is a nice word and an exceptional one for funding applications, but what does it really mean?

For medical anthropologists, especially those conducting research in the United States, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) represent two significant largest funding sources. According to NSF’s Award and Administration Guide, it is expected that grantees Read More