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naraya36

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August 17, 2015

FieldworkNarratives – Summer Updates

August 17, 2015 | By | No Comments

During the Fall (2014) and Spring (2015) semesters as a CHI Fellow, I worked on developing my on-going project FieldworkNarratives –  a pictorial journal of my fieldwork experiences with the Chenchu community of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India. Using Story Maps, an online tool that facilitates storytelling, I 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.

During the summer I reworked some bits of the project look to make it a little more academic. I have included a brief write-up on issues with essentializing indigenous communities, with a focus on the Indian context. I also added a more academic-looking “About Me” section. With making little changes through the project, I have tried to give this project a journal-publication look, albeit with more images than text.

This is the link to check out the final project: http://fieldworknarratives.matrix.msu.edu/

 

neejerch

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August 11, 2015

Wheelwomen at Work 2.0 is live!

August 11, 2015 | By | No Comments

It has been a busy summer plugging away on Wheelwomen at Work, my digital humanities project mapping women’s involvement in the nineteenth-century bicycle industry. This summer I completed twogandflamps major tasks. First, I nearly doubled the amount of pins on the map. Much of my new material highlights women’s work in factories, and I also added some new women inventors as well. Tracking down more women mechanics and saleswomen has not been easy. Records on women’s wage work from this period come with tons of challenges and limitations. But, I did find some, such as the 60 women who worked at Amos Shirley’s large bike shop in New York City.  I was also hoping to find more geographically diverse data. But I am happy that I added new types of factory work, like small clothing operations such as  he Vinestine and Goldberg Sweatshop and the Fayetteville Glove Company, and leading bicycling corporations of the time, like Hartford Rubber Works and Gormully & Jeffery Manufacturing Company. For my second task, I added to the site with an essay titled “Women in the Nineteenth-Century Bicycle Industry” found under the brand new “learn more” tab. With this essay, I provide a big picture view on women’s work in the bicycle industry and discuss how each category of wheelwomen’s work was key to the industry as a whole. I’m hoping this helps the user add context to the individual pins and see the big picture of the project.

While I have completed the big tasks for my project, Wheelwomen at Work will be far from static. I plan to keep adding pins to the map and images to the gallery as I work on my dissertation. I hope it leads me to find even more ways to unearth and document women’s contribution to the bicycle industry and bicycling culture more broadly.

Image source: Advertisement. “Bicycle Lamps.” The Wheel and Cycling Trade Review, Vol. X, no. 21, January 13, 1893, 57. Google Books.

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.

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.

becca hayes

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March 20, 2015

Mapping Street Harassment Activism

March 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

The Washington Post called 2014 the year that street harassment became a public conversation. As someone who studies activist rhetorics about street harassment and the impact of digital technologies on rhetorical historiography, I was keeping a close eye on the events that contributed to the rise in discourse around street harassment in public spaces, particularly digital ones, like Twitter and Youtube.

One of those events, was a video called, “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman,” produced by Rob Bliss Creative, and released on YouTube on October 28, 2014 by Hollaback, an anti-street harassment organization, self-described as “a movement to end street harassment powered by a network of local activists around the world.” The video is an edited 2-minute clip of a “conventionally beautiful woman” who walked through NYC for 10 hours and experienced over a 100 incidents of street harassment.

In its first day online, the video had over 10 million views  and, in its first month, over 37 million views and nearly 140,000 comments on YouTube. There are also hundreds of videos, video responses, blogs, and born-digital media articles that mimic, support, mock, and lambast the video, makers, funders, research methods, subjects, politics, agenda.  In short, the video played a key part in the exploding public conversations about street harassment in public and digital spaces.

Watching that public conversation unfold, I became interested in how people took up the video’s format of filming someone walking in public spaces for extended amounts of time to problematize mainstream, non-profit , white, feminist anti-street harassment activism.

For the initial phase of my CHI project this spring,  I use Mapbox Studio as a tool to begin curating, mapping, and rhetorically analyzing a small sample of the videos that employ the “10 Hours of Walking…” format.  Some of those videos include “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman in Hijab,” “10 Hours of Walking in Paris as a Jew,” “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a White Man,” and “10 Hours of Walking in Seattle as an Asian.” I’m particularly interested in ways in which the video creators’ adapt the  “10 Hours of Walking…” meme as a productive way to draw attention to the the complexity of interactions between movement in public spaces and seemingly visible identity markers such as race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexuality. nationality, and ability.

neejerch

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March 16, 2015

Thinking Research & Preservation at the Library of Congress

March 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

photoThis spring break I was lucky enough to visit the Library of Congress in Washington, DC to conduct research on my dissertation, and to specifically look at materials for my CHI project.
At the LOC, I worked my way through thousands of pages of documents from the bicycling industry and nineteenth-century bicycle culture. The LOC has a collection of rare cycling magazines and periodicals from the 1890s which have yet to be digitized. Most of the sources for my project have already been digitized, such as major newspapers, government reports, popular magazines, and women’s rights documents. My major tasks involve reading them, organizing them, and building bridges to connect brief mentions of my topic into a larger narrative. My work at the LOC was quite different. With nothing but stacks of periodicals which filled up many shelves, I spent my week flipping through each volume page by page, looking for any discussion of women cyclists. I read article after article from what then were popular magazines such as The Wheelman’s Gazette, American Cyclist, and Cycling Life. These periodicals were designed and published primarily for male bicyclists, but members of the bicycling industry also read them regularly. While men’s cycling dominated these magazines, reporters did discuss women’s cycling at times, and some magazines even published regular columns specifically by and for women riders. In these columns, women shared bicycling tips, discussed new gear, and extolled the pleasures of riding to those new to the sport. The columnists often highlighted women’s role in the bicycling industry, especially as inventors and work in retail.
Digging through all of these periodicals page by page made me even more appreciative and passionate about digital preservation. Many of these periodicals are damaged and showing great signs of wear. Some are falling apart at the binding, and others are so fragile that LOC staff was unable to let me view them. One periodical was even lost in the stacks, and despite the help of a few librarians, was unable to be found. These materials are increasingly at risk for decay and damage as time passes, and they seem like a perfect candidate for digital preservation so they can be available to future scholars and scholars who cannot access the LOC.
neejerch

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February 17, 2015

Women’s Bicycling Patents

February 17, 2015 | By | No Comments

Nineteenth-century patents may not seem like the most thrilling subject for scholarly inquiry, but they  tell us much more than just meets the eye. Most of us would probably assume that white men filed the majority of patents in the nineteenth-century United States. This is true. Filing a patent required a number of privileges including advanced literacy skills and technical training, but also money to finance the related court costs, especially hiring a lawyer. This does not even include the time and funds required to design and test one’s actual product. As such, Americans who filed patents in the nineteenth century were in many ways not representative of most Americans who lacked such resources.

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royston7

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January 27, 2015

Shakespeare’s well-painted passion…digitally visualized

January 27, 2015 | By | No Comments

In this post I’m going to discuss my project in a bit more detail. As I’ve stated previously, I am interested in the way Renaissance playwrights write about, perform, and otherwise engage with visual art, artists, and artistic theory. So one of the first things I look for when studying this topic is when and how dramatists include visual art as stage properties, painters as characters, or deploy artistic language within dialogue.

For my CHI project, I’ve chosen to focus on Shakespeare’s work since it is accessible and better known to a wider range of people. I’ve also narrowed my scope by focusing on portraiture exclusively. Using Open Source Shakespeare I searched for the following words, each related to Renaissance portraiture: paint, counterfeit, varnish, shadow, table, and perspective. These key words (and their variants) relate to historical usage of artistic terminology. Still, sometimes a table is just a thing with four legs, and not necessarily “a board or other flat surface on which a picture is painted; the picture itself” (OED). So in those cases, I examined the passage to make the determination that term could, in fact, be at least a partial reference to painting.

We all know how complex Shakespeare’s words are so of course these terms pertain to more than just the visual arts. But my reading will focus on these terms because my larger argument (see my larger argument in my dissertation, circa 2016) focuses on the prevalent relationship between Renaissance visual and verbal artists.

Through the lens of the visual specifically, my project explores the ways in which the visual artist, his profession, and his works were used as metadramatic devices to reflect upon the visual nature of drama and its effect. Examining the integration of visual art within drama allows for a new method of understanding the dramatic arts as a counter-paragone medium. That is, while Renaissance artistic and literary theory generally divides forms from each other, (with the intention of privileging one form over others), my reading of these plays suggests that Renaissance visual and textual media are not actually limited by this artificial binary and instead coexist reciprocally through this metadramatic function.

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I presented Palladio to the other CHI fellows. Below is a quick graph I created using their web-based visualization tool. While at the moment it contains too much information to be useful (or even very readable), I just wanted to tinker with the platform in order to learn how it works.You can see that my main data points are the keys terms that I listed previously. Each point is sized to correlate to frequency. Aside from that, this graph is pretty difficult to read, but it at least illustrates the degree to which Shakespeare deploys artistic terminology (a lot). Click the image below for a larger view.

Graph1 Blog

This second graph contains less data and is therefore perhaps a bit more easily read and understood. Here, I just (selfishly) included some of my favorite plays and visualized the frequency to which they include my key terms. Click the image below for a larger view.

Graph2 Blog

In the next month or so, I’ll be playing around with the tool, Voyant, which I made reference to last month. I’m curious to see how using their text-based analytical tools might enable me to view this data in a new way.

neejerch

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December 15, 2014

Paper-based Productivity and Digital Research

December 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

As I dive into the world of Digital Humanities, I am exposed to an increasing variety of programs, apps, coding languages, and platforms to digitize my research and see my work in new ways. I’ve always been interested in productivity, and paper and pen or pencil have long been some of the most valuable tools in my academic life. For the last few years I have become interested in thinking about digital tools not just as the end result of research, but also how they shape my workflow and daily routines. I’ve found Zotero to be quite helpful in organizing the thousands of newspaper articles on my hard drive, I use Evernote for organizing just about everything related to my teaching and research, and Scrivener is without a doubt my favorite program for writing articles and dissertation chapters.

 

Yet, the more I use digital tools, the more I continue to appreciate to my analog systems of paper and pencil. While most of my research puts me in front of my laptop screen, I find being tied to screen all day far from ideal. My laptop and other gadgets often seem as efficient as they are distracting. When I teach I run my sections as a laptop-free zone and I explain to my students the flaws of assuming we are all “good at multi-tasking.” I also find it funny to be in an academic meeting of some sort and see many in attendance using their laptops to check Facebook or email, rarely even making eye contact with the presenter.

 

Key to designing and maintaining a productivity system is to think about what goals you want to accomplish and what are the ‘tools of the trade’ you will enjoy using on a daily basis. I’ve found one of the most challenging things about being a PhD student is keeping on top of all of the little things, while also keeping an eye on the big picture and making steady progress towards my overarching goals. This is especially true because I have to balance both my research and my work as GTA, in which I am usually assigned to a class of about 100 students. Before I was ABD, I had all of my coursework to balance as well. I have adjusted my analog system as I have worked my way through my program, and here are two major components of my current system:

 

    1. Daily Tasks Journal: While I keep all off my important dates and deadlines on iCal, I also have a notebook in which I have to-do lists for each day of the week. I’ve found this very helpful in managing small tasks so they don’t eat up my day and developing an manageable plan for the week.

 

    2. Dissertation/writing/research Journal: My advisor (and lots of grad student blogs) suggested I start a dissertation journal when I became ABD, and this was very good advice. I don’t use this journal to collect any actual research, but rather to document how the process is going, including my work on my digital project for this fellowship. I have a pretty loose format for this journal. I document what I am working on, what seems to be going well, and what challenges I am encountering. I use this journal also to explore ideas or connections I’m seeing in my sources, as well as for topics or questions I’m just starting to think about. I find it helpful to be able to look back and see the patterns of days in which I was more productive versus less productive, and days when I felt stressed while writing compared to the days when my writing came pretty easy. When I became ABD, one of my biggest challenges was getting used to a completely different kind of schedule, in which I have tons to do but it is all on my own time. Documenting my day-to-day process has been very helpful in trying to figure out what works (besides lots of great coffee) and what hasn’t been as successful.

 

Both journals could easily work in a digital format. I prefer using paper not just so I get a screen break, but also because I feel that break allows me to think more deeply about my work while I am visually away from it. I like being away from email, social media, and other distractions so I can thoughtfully assess my work, even if I am just writing for ten minutes. Field Notes are my favorite notebooks for paper-based productivity. Not only are they beautifully designed and made in the USA, but I’ve found the size is small enough so I can easily carry both with me but large enough so I don’t feel cramped. Clearly I’m not the only person using analog tools to think about digital research — I’m looking for an excuse to buy these awesome stencils. I am more of pencil person versus pen, and I am a huge fan of Blackwing pencils. Many scholars and students may find it easy to give up on paper, and ultimately we should all develop systems that work best for us. But I’ve found that as I become more well versed in digital tools, I find that they greatly compliment, not replace, the joys and tangible benefits of writing by hand in a notebook.