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CHI Fellowship Program

Cody M

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October 3, 2017

Introducing CHI Fellow Cody Mejeur

October 3, 2017 | By | No Comments

Hi Everyone! I’m Cody Mejeur, and I’m extremely excited to be joining the CHI Fellows program for 2017-18. I’m a PhD student in the Department of English at MSU working at the intersection of many related areas: new media, narrative theory, game studies, cognitive humanities, queer studies, and digital humanities. That sounds like a lot (because it is!), but I focus my work on video game narrative. Specifically, I am interested in how games are changing our understanding of narrative, and my dissertation, titled Playing/Queering Narrative: Narrative Experiences and Interfaces in Video Games, develops a narrative theory built from the ground up on the interrelationship of narrative and play in games.

Game studies and gaming culture have grown exponentially in the past 20 years, but they have also developed a number of blindspots that have left some peoples marginalized or excluded. In gaming culture this is most evident in the debates surrounding representation and social justice that came to a head in the #GamerGate movement, which saw large groups of gamers working to harass and silence women, people of color, and LGBTQ folk. Game studies has seen similar issues, such as the infamous narratology/ludology debates, wherein some theorists argued that narrative theory and literary studies were threatening to colonize or take over game studies. My dissertation argues that these attempts to secure the borders of games and game studies are related: they both stem from a desire to defend the culture and study of games from perceived threats, whether they be literary theorists or marginalized peoples seeking to politicize games.

Rather than attempt to undo these tensions—that toothpaste is decidedly out of the tube—my dissertation seeks to move forward by constructing a narrative theory specific to games. Beyond looking at characters, cutscenes, and plots, I argue that the experience of play (running, fighting, scoring, etc.) is an essential part of game narrative. Play experiences are variable and extremely dependent on the player’s situation and context, and I turn to queer/feminist and cognitive narratologies to explain how they become narratives that construct our sense of (virtual) reality. This narrative process is inherently playful, and can potentially lead to emergent, transformative, and queer possibilities for individual and collective world-building.

As a CHI fellow, I’ll be working on the LGBTQ Video Game Archive (https://lgbtqgamearchive.com), founded by Adrienne Shaw. The archive seeks to catalogue and preserve all instances of LGBTQ representation throughout video game history. This project is especially necessary given the ephemeral nature of its source materials. Many of the sources detailing LGBTQrepresentations are blogs, wikis, and smaller websites devoted to queer gaming communities, and there is a constant danger of them going offline with little or no notice if their owners or authors can no longer maintain them. My project will involve saving copies of all websites and media objects that the archive references, and organizing them into an Omeka repository that will be stored at the Strong National Museum of Play. By preserving these resources, we can ensure that the cultural heritage of LGBTQ representation in games is publicly available to future gaymers and scholars.

I look forward to working alongside the other CHI Fellows on innovative approaches to Cultural Heritage Informatics, and to acquiring new skills with coding and digital tools and methodologies. Can’t wait to see what lies ahead!

fandinod

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September 29, 2017

Introducing CHI Fellow Daniel Fandino

September 29, 2017 | By | No Comments

Greetings traveler on the great ocean of knowledge that is the internet! My name is Daniel Fandino and I am a first year PhD student in the Department of History at Michigan State University and a 2017 Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellow. My research is centered on the study of modern Japan with a focus on U.S. – Japanese relations and the intersection of popular culture, technology, and nationalism. Before arriving at Michigan State I earned my Master’s degree in History from the University of Central Florida and then spent the next few years living in Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo. Although my academic pursuits primarily revolve around Japanese history I have been able to explore other areas of personal interest such as fandom and video games by assisting in editing a collected volume of essays on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, contributing to an encyclopedia of Japanese horror films, and writing about dark tourism in the massively multiplayer game EVE Online.

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Jack Biggs

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September 27, 2017

(Re)Introducing CHI Fellow Jack Biggs

September 27, 2017 | By | No Comments

Greetings everyone!  My name is Jack Biggs and if my name sounds familiar, that is because I was a CHI Fellow during the last academic year and was fortunate enough the be a returning Fellow for this year.  I am now a 4th year graduate student in the Department of Anthropology here at Michigan State University focusing on bioarchaeology of the ancient Maya.  Although my research interests haven’t changed all that much since my first intro post last fall, I’ll go ahead and re-hash what Ispecifically study and some additions and changes since that last initial post.

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Nicole Raslich

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September 14, 2017

Introducing CHI Fellow Nicole A. Raslich

September 14, 2017 | By | No Comments

Hello everyone, my name is Nicole A. Raslich and I am excited to be a CHI fellow this year. The department of Anthropology here at MSU is my home, where I am a PhD. candidate. My training is in archaeology, and my research focuses on the expression of identity and landscape through ritual in descendant fisher/hunter/gatherer communities throughout the boreal forest.

During my time as an archaeologist, I have worked with Anishnabek communities throughout the Great Lakes region and the Inari Sámi of Finland on projects revolving around the protection of sacred sites. The ways in which these communities, and others, utilize archaeology to reinvigorate and raise awareness of their own cultural heritage is what piqued my curiosity about digital heritage management avenues. Being able to share methods and case studies among communities globally is one of the ways I have witnessed various communities utilizing digital cultural heritage. Much of my fieldwork has been in cultural heritage policy and law, acting as a NAGPRA representative for tribes and as an archaeological consultant for local governments regarding national heritage protection and protocol.

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Erin Pevan

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August 20, 2017

Nationalism and Constructing the Nation in Norwegian Museums

August 20, 2017 | By | No Comments

As a continuation of my examination of Norwegian national identity and the various medium in which this can occur, during this summer I expanded my project site to go beyond looking at literature for representations or depictions of Norwegian identity and decided to focus upon the conveyance of material culture in space, particularly through the space of the museum.

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nesbit17

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May 17, 2017

Launching Listen to Lansing!

May 17, 2017 | By | No Comments

This project is a website showcasing the results of a study I am in the process of conducting with colleagues in the Michigan State Sociolinguistics Lab.  For this project, we are investigating language change in the Greater Lansing Area (Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties). Analyzing the vowels produced by Lansing natives born between 1908 and 1997, my colleagues and I have been able to chart the decline of the local dialect spoken here in Lansing over a century of time.

Intended to be a resource for non-linguist audiences, this website provides (1) a general introduction to the dialect spoken in Michigan and the surrounding states, (2) a description of the research my colleagues and I have conducted and the results thereof including a graph showing the incremental decline in local dialect features, along with 5 second clips of speakers from each generation in our sample, and finally (3) resources, contact information and links to supplemental materials on language change in the United States are provided.

As for logistics, I created my website on GitHub, using a bootstrap theme as a base. The chart showing dialect decline was created using AMCharts’ online chart editor. The code for this chart was embedded into the HTML code of the main website. The data used for this chart was generated via acoustical analysis of the vowels produced by the speakers in my sample.  Vowel measurements were made and speakers were categorized according to sociolinguistic thresholds already established in the field of dialectology. The small sound files were spliced out of individual interviews using the phonetic software PRAAT and inserted into the website’s HTML code using the ‘source’ element.  Lastly, all supplementary material (published articles and websites) was embedded as hyperlinks into the HTML.

As stated earlier, this website is intended for those less familiar with linguistics who are interested in language change in Lansing and/or Michigan. It is also intended to act as a resource for those wishing to gain more knowledge about American dialects and/or language change in the United States.  Currently, I am working on adding two things to this site: (1) a map to the site that showcasing the representative Greater Lansing communities in our sample, and (2) a recording widget whereby visitors to the site can contribute to ongoing research by recording themselves speaking.  The site can be accessed through http://listentolansing.matrix.msu.edu/

 

 

swayampr

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May 12, 2017

Launching NorrisTown!

May 12, 2017 | By | No Comments

Welcome to NorrisTown! This work of love (literally) has taken a long time. This will be updated through the summer as I find and digitize more material, so I would really appreciate your feedback, especially if you know more than I do about the town of Norris!

The website is largely clean and accessible (I hope!) with pdfs housed together along with reflective essays. There images from the Farm Security Administration (from the Library of Congers website). In addition, there is a list of sources online and books that the website shall point you to.

While I was initially very, very afraid of having to code from ground up, in hindsight, it was easy as long as I was patient while I continuously tested the mock-up page. It took a while to finalize the mock-up page but it was well worth it. In the long run, it saved time and effort. It also made it easier to isolate issues that cropped up as I was inputting information. For instance, as I replace dummy text in the reflective essay boxes, there were alignment issues on the page as the pdfs were suddenly sent to the bottom of the page. In addition, the drop down navigational menu was going into the background. Given that I had written the code ground up, I was able to (relatively) easily isolate the problematic code and rewrite/edit it. It was small and big things like this that made the process annoying in the short run but extremely fulfilling because I learned so much.

The website was mostly created ground up, without any themes. I used iframes to house pdfs for easy access and readability. While I am happy about the project overall, there is one niggling aspect that needs some fixing. The home page does not have the originally envisioned geo-rectified site plan of Norris. Although creating the geo-rectified image was easy, there were some issues with Mapbox and I am still working towards fixing it. I would really appreciate any ideas about how to fix it. For now, the home page consists of a map I created on Googlemaps that has markers. Each of the markers is an important place on the site plan and the markers themselves have little information blurbs as well as images (when available).

For now, though, I hope the website is interesting!

Jessica Yann

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May 12, 2017

Launching the Timeline of Michigan Archaeology

May 12, 2017 | By | One Comment

The Timeline of Michigan Archaeology has officially launched! You can find it at timemarch.matrix.msu.edu.  Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and I hope you are too. You can scroll through time, click on individual events (archaeological sites), or even search for a specific date to see what was going on at that point in time.  I created this timeline in part by request; I have often worked with school groups and the public at archaeology events and have had several requests for some sort of timeline. I don’t think this is quite what they had in mind, but I hope it suits the purpose.

The sites presented are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning that they are the some of the most significant archaeological sites in the state. There are two exceptions to this: the Tuscola Mastodon find and the Leavitt site. However, these present crucial information about this very early time in the state, and I thought it was important to include this information. The sites also span the complete history of the state, up to about 1930.

This site was created using the Timeglider JS widget, a Javascript element that can be embedded in HTML. It was surprisingly easy to work with once I became familiar with the code, and should I need to add new events in the future, should be able to. Anyone with questions on the technical process can contact me.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my site and find it useful. There is a lot of information contained within it. I did my best to provide what I thought people would be interested in, but if there is something that you think would be useful to include, please let me know!

Jack Biggs

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May 12, 2017

Launching J-Skel

May 12, 2017 | By | No Comments

I am very proud to announce the launch of J-Skel: The Digital Ages Estimator of Subadult Skeletons at j-skel.matrix.msu.edu!  I designed this website with the goal of]-o0 acquainting upper-level undergraduate students and early graduate students of physical anthropology and human osteology (or for anyone else just interested in bones) to aging methods of juvenile skeletons.  Though this may seem like a morose topic, skeletal remains from juveniles are actually quite enlightening and can even give information as to the quality of life, area of origin, and migration patterns across time and space.

All-in-all, juvenile remains are essential in reconstructing past populations.  This can only be done by understanding how the body grows and develops during this time period, hence J-Skel.  Data gathered for this project were from multiple resources that specialized on individual bones or elements and they aged over time during the life course.  However, the majority of these projects were conducted by white European or European-American scholars on populations of similar demographics. Although there have been recent pushes to get more geographic and cultural populational studies rolling, the majority of data out there are on individuals of European descent.

The J-Skel homepage allows you to click on an interactive SVG of a child skeleton which takes you to aging methods in different parts of the body.  After months of tearing through RaphaelJS, the original javascript library I attempted to use to create the interactive elements, I could never get the SVG I created or RaphaelJS to link to my html.  However, I was eventually able to use Inkscape to create the SVG of the child’s skeleton and directly embed this lengthy code directly into the body, giving me a large interactive component to the website.

For this site, the skeletal regions I chose to group were the skull, thorax, pelvic girdle, upper limbs, and lower limbs.  Each region/subpage is broken down by bone with general descriptions of age methods and age-related changes.  Beside those are classes of buttons which correspond to different levels of fusion between bones.  For example, the frontal bone (the forehead) is originally made up of two halves that fuse and become one single bone.  The buttons beside the description would say: ‘unfused’ – for two separate halves, ‘fusing’ – one bone that is in the process of fusing the two bones, or ’completely fused’ – the two haves have become one with no remnants of the fusion line.

Depending on which button you clicked per bony element, an appropriate age range would be generated and appear in a text box on the right side of the screen.  Using the example above, if you have a specimen in front of you from a skeletal collection where the two frontal bones are in the process of fusing, by clicking on the button labeled “Fusing”, the text box to the right would reveal: “Between 2 and 4 years old”.  This process is the same for all of the bones that I used for this project.  However, not every bone or bone type in the body is used for aging one the website.  Some bones are much better than others to use for aging, so those are the ones that were selected.

One aspect of the site that I plan to work on over the summer is to include a section over aging using dentition.  The teeth form and erupt (protrude from the bone) in a very particular order and on a strict schedule such that teeth can greatly increase accuracy in age estimations.  The reason they have not been included in the site right now is due to a function of time for research.  Teeth are incredibly complicated structures and the time it would have taken to get all of the information gathered and synthesized would have prevented me from launching the website on time, so be on the lookout for that section to pop up later this summer!

I hope you find this tool as useful, interesting, and informative as it was for me to create (both content-wise and from a web designer point-of-view).  This subject is one that may on the surface seem eerie or creepy, but recognizing the value of how infants, children, and teenagers make sense of- and are affected by the world around them helps us understand cultural processes and mechanisms of society.  This tool is just one way of starting to address these interests, so I hope you enjoy the website and learn something new!

Erin Pevan

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May 12, 2017

Launch Post – Camping, Landlig, Mjølner, Saklig: A Project Exploring Norway’s National Identity

May 12, 2017 | By | No Comments

Greetings to all digital cultural heritage enthusiasts! Today I formally announce the launch of my 2017 Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellowship project: Camping, Landlig, Mjølner, Saklig: A Project Exploring Norway’s National Identity.

Project title:
Camping, Landlig, Mjølner, Saklig: A Project Exploring Norway’s National Identity

Project URL:
http://clmsproject.matrix.msu.edu/

Project overview:
This project is my narrative of my explorations of expressions of Norwegian national identity. It is the culmination of my graduate coursework for my master’s thesis in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology, my experiences studying abroad in Oslo at the International Summer School, and my participation as a graduate fellow in the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative at Michigan State University. It is my endeavor to explore answers to the question of “What does it mean to be Norwegian?” through the use of digital cultural heritage tools to explore new methodologies to answer this question. Read More