As we close finals week here at Michigan State University, I am excited to be launching my CHI project: “Midwives to the Countryside.”
The aim of creating this project was to map midwife training programs with the express purpose of demonstrating what the rural-urban gap in midwife care looked like in the early years of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This is a particularly important question because the PRC was actively and vocally attempting to close that gap, however, despite repeated policy changes and social campaigns to raise the standard of living in rural areas, the rural-urban divide only continued to widen throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Although the data presented here is limited, it still raises the question about the depth of rural needs in comparison to urban centers. I hope that once the entire project is finished, this will contribute to a better understanding of how rural-urban divides impacted access to health care.
This project is far from complete. Through the design process, I have considered and reconsidered how best to display, explore, and explain the mapping visualization in these chapters. This has required multiple reworks of the site and maps, and each time I felt closer to the best format. At the moment, only chapter 1, “Midwives in the Headlines” is available to view, but I am continuing to work on chapter 2 and 3 over the summer. While chapter 2, “Midwives for Mountainous Regions” will map where Taiwanese people requested midwife services, for chapter 3, I am preparing some text analysis to explore the linguistics of midwifery. You will notice significant changes to this project throughout the summer, and I am looking forward to presenting it at a conference in the fall of 2023.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to return to CHI this year. The support offered by other fellows is especially important for us humanities students who struggle through code, conflicting code, a missing comma, etc. No matter how simple a project may seem at first glance, there was a lot of effort and frustration expended to put the humanities in our Digital Humanities project.