robin_anne_reid: (Treehouse)
robin_anne_reid ([personal profile] robin_anne_reid) wrote2013-01-16 12:22 pm

MLA 2013 #584: Accessing Race in the Digital Humanities

Saturday, 5 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Commonwealth, Sheraton
Presiding: Roger Whitson, Emory Univ.
Speakers: David Kim, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Jennifer Sano-Franchini, Michigan State Univ.; Lee Skallerup Bessette, Morehead State Univ.
Responding: Tara McPherson, Univ. of Southern California
This roundtable addresses how applications and interfaces encode specific cultural assumptions about race and preclude certain groups of people from participating in the digital humanities. Participants present specific digital humanities projects that illustrate the impact of race on access to the programming, cultural, and funding structures in the digital humanities.

This s the sister session to the #transformDH session from yesterday--and one of the presenters was on first session I saw.

Introduction: This is sort of the companion to Adeline Koh's companion panel yesterday. Adeline had the great idea to talk about race in the digital humanities, we got a lot of people who are really interested, and she asked me (Roger) to head up the second panel (so many people submitted). Conversation started in October, went through last year's MLA about the role of critical theory and critical race theory in the digital humanities.

Natalie Cecire, When the Digital Humanities was in Vogue--starter to the conversation.

Hughes' piece on the Harlem Renaissance about how race problems were perceived as solved. DH has lack of race criticism--assume that DH assumes race is solved problem.
Critical race studies isn't over because of DH: wants to think about it as access, how work gets done, not just representation. Agrees with Noviske "tacit understanding" -- compared with Tara McPherson--structured by Fordist systems.

Tara McPherson's piece. The idea that one can take project split it up into different sections before putting it back together, a modular logic of wok in digital humanities--similar to how race riots were quelled during the 1950: isolate people, and take care of all the pieces.

This is problem for DH.

Natalie added to that, emphasis on hack code is attempt to dilute the critical power of doing. (NOT SURE I GOT THAT PART CLEARLY!)

Complications at the beginning: he does not want us to assume panelists agree with what he says.

Could it be Noviskie: was right: interface and architecture not just discursivity take the center. Favors individual critic--issues of institutional labor (individual critic, vs. collaborative).

Was mentioned as an ally at yesterday's panel: is not an enemy, but that languages implies he is outsider. And that's not the case in DH. He sees an ally as being excluded.

Individual critique makes him feel excluded. Professional, collaborative practice makes me feel included.

(MY NOTES HOW MUCH IS THIS "WHAT ABOUT THE WHITE MEN" i.e. Who is excluded from DH where he feels all included--I'm assuming it's mostly other white men, and he doesn't see the exclusion of everybody else? A really odd formulation.).

How much work are individual scholars in DH replicating from Computer and Writing, media studies, new media, and communication fields? Are we transforming in ways that have already been transformed. Issue of work on critical race already done in other fields--Lisa Nakamura, Wendy Chun and Tara McPherson.

Quick examples: Web project on lynchings in Georgia. With Digital Commons, Miriam Posner, he was project manager of this project--1875-1930. Sociological approach, quantitative narrative analysis, cultural differences between collaborators, power differentials between professors and post-docs, different visions about audience, content, purpose.

Post-doc fellow, not a professor himself.

Newspaper articles; sociologist wanted to digitize; quantitative narrative analysis; explore what environments made lynchings more possible.

One of the problems is different perspectives that I as project manager who has English background and is interested in the culture of lynching, and the importance of telling the story of the people who were lynched, and the sociological approach faculty member advocated, quantitative, based on graphs, maps, charts, not the stories. Power differential between post doc and faculty.

Creates whole set of political and institutional issues often scholars are not used to dealing with, and that sort of make the issue of bringing up important racial issues more complex than it might have first seemed.

Questions: Matt Kirschenbaum public visibility of DH, its connection to administrative infrastructure, collaborative nature, how do we pay attention to marginalized and otherwise silenced voices.

What assumptions about race are built into the tools, ideas, and workplaces, used in the digital humanities (Tara McPheson's work on modularity and relationship to controlling race riots)?

How much of this work has already been done by disciplines not usually identified as DH (computers and writing, media studies media archeology, new media).

Three speakers: Lee Bessettt, David Kim, Jennifer Sano-Franchini

Lee: Orality, Performance, Race and DH
Continuing labor, the work we can or cannot do in DH,
She is asked why she hasn't done more with this project--element of time is lacking.

Presentation today is theoretical and imaginative on my part until I find the time to do these things.

Asian Author Danny Lafierriere (sp?)

For oral traditions, oral cultures, that have been ignored marginalized, by the institution because of their very nature.

Rewriting, revising, updating work--his process is strongly connected to orality.

Multiple revisions.


Lodayans (spelling) : Haitian ("lying to get to truth" rough translations)

Little miniature stories get to truth thorough artful lying.

L's autobiographical project (emotional rather than factual truth).

Orality and performance in L's work.

Ignorance of this genre linked to bias over written literature, and the system in Haiti (it came from rural part of Haiti). "pays en dehors"

What does this have to do with DH?

Can use existing DH tools to deal with texts and materials not included in traditional literary studies (single/authoritative/written text).

Available through various outlets: Concordia's university's oral history project which allows for oral histories to be annotated, searchable, etc.

How to work with videos? Media? Make it a more meaningful experience and resource for academics. They have great stuff online, particularly for Montreal's migrant community where they're talking about their experiences and what they migrated for and why, and these sorts of things. Why couldn't we use something like this in order to interact with L's work. And quote project: 'digital technologies are opening up new ways of working with audio and video interviews" (not just interviews).

Spoken language is lively.

As literary theorists, this could also be useful to us, given more generally how multi media many of our authors have become, in terms of promoting themselves, making their own work, book trailers, podcasts, etc. How can we incorporate into our study and understanding of literature?

Another piece of technology that recently introduced to: Scalar

Creating a book which can incorporate many different forms of media. Text, media, and audio you can annotate and connect and interact with.

One example to enrich and preserve oral traditions: such a Ladoyuans (spe?).

L: chronicled first year in Montreal, 1976, 366 poems (leap year), then found a video of documentary. Television special came out ten years before novel.

Novel in 1984.

2012 a new edition that is almost three times as long of this same narrative of his arrival in Montreal.

How can we working with all this stuff (he has huge amount of stuff out there), manageable, make more available in public, and how deeply rooted it is in the traditional Haitian culture and the tradition of the Loydouans : use digital humanities tools to preserve and promote understandings.


Project is interactive.

Three-D modeling of Chicano murals in LA

Housing Project: Estrada Courts housing.

Before get into project: respond to Roger's questions unprepared (thought he'd be at table).

Digital Humanities: for the past few years, when we do discuss race in DH is the issue of complicity. How embrace of technology in academic settings, participate within these fragmenting of discourse around race, and I'm really excited to every year see the discussion around that is moving from simply locating complicity to laying down terms of DH. Dark side roundable provocative and thoughtful.

Mark Marino is here--lessons I learned while at Vector's NEH Summer institute for digital Humanities, for American studies, and an amazing group of scholars, everyone more senior than I am with their book projects and manuscripts, and they came primarily to develop a digital version or digital companion to develop their project. I came in as grad student, previous in English graduate program, refocusing on race, gender, sexuality, relating to space/spatiality.

One thing that kept on popping up during six week period was the danger of also revisiting a lot of the language and a lot of the strategies of multiculturalism and not focusing on complicity in representation of diversity.

We do have a n opportunity to advance our understanding of race and perform these various critiques that is not grounded in discussions of the past, especially when the field itself has moved away from simply process of representation to phenomenological performative understanding of identity.

One way to address issue of complicity as I work with digital tools--does text analysis and visual rhetoric and GPS and modeling--generalist--talk about the imperial gaze of Google Earth. That in itself is not reason to abandon Google Earth --but need to avoid euphoria and buy wholesale the promises.

Any critical scholar doing critical race critique and digital humanities must struggle with issue of complicity. Rather than expanding the scope of what digital can take on, gain something by scaling back the actual function of the digital in our analysis of race and identity, going back to the early days of digital humanities--what if we're able to frame digital simply as methodology humbly offer my project I worked on for six weeks at Vector (but working for year and a half later). Project partner and me. Roman architecture specialist, and critical/ace/gender person.

Image set of this mural set in LA. McPherson and someone else served as advisors.

What do 3D modeling have to offer about what we already know about this site? How much does it have to offer in consideration of community murals in process of analysis?

Murals discussed as movement to consolidate/fix identity (literally fixed onto walls) (done in books). We thought representation of fixed archive of things, no room to engage with the site specificity of embodiment and actual performance and performative way--more productive way of looking at murals thirty years after Chicano art movement. Three d modeling model was done in Google sketcher, and exported to Google earth, narrative or analysis and interpretation is built in hypercities platform (in house at UCL) Lots of exciting rejects being taken at UCLA around recreating Roman architecture, taking advance of these various platforms to recreate and reimagine ancient sites that no longer exist

One of the issues Phil Effngton brought to it immediately--methodologically we have to think differently. We are no longer working in things that no longer exist--we are recreating site that tis still there. S a matter of face, that mural--Will I am shot a musical video in front of mural a few years ago.

What can the murals actually tell us about this site. Actually most visible mural at the public housing which is home to about 60 murals, all painted during the 70s and 80s as art of Chicano and Chicano arts movement, as well as Los Angeles' urban beautification project.

In documentation or archive of these murals, primarily the historians focus on very visible murals that directly engage us with politics, events and ethos of Civil Rights movement of the time, but if you are able to walk through the site and experience it all its nuances. There are murals on the interior walls there are murals that do not directly relate to the civil rights movement. And that is also because as a community project, maybe children were involved Alleyway murals.

Plays video while he talks.

Able to come up and offer analysis of the murals that do not necessary fit into the previous consideration of the site. One is the persistence of the imagery of the Azlan (spelling?) alternate temporality and spatiality (?). Another analysis able to perform was the importance of graffiti in our first preservation efforts, kind of doing back to how Roger opened us up and these questions that Im trying to address.

Digital is not the only thing that's complicit: technology of the archive if you want t reimagine it as a critique; it almost must challenge the documentary, realist, objectivist claims that we invest in the very notion of the archive. So instead of documentary function of the archive, read archive as interactive. Archive in way not fixing identity into bodies. Traces performative aspect of all these different ways in which cultural expressions and productions engage in various nuances and complex development of information given that historical period.

Offering this project not only as 3D simulation but as one methodology o look at a very particular thing, a very small thing, a particular cultural production, but push back n Derrida's archive fever to digital archive fever. We create archives because we can. We do these sites and gather materials because we can.

Long with engaging with race and DH on this level of representational polities: we could all benefit for more archives. But as form of critique--kind of a pushback on the longstanding epistemological claims of the archive that many have addressed as problematic. Diane Taylor (?) has remarked on the problem of UNESCO's preservationist approach of documenting culture. The particular advance of modeling/simulations, we can consider issue of embodiment as we get closer to the murals; the accumulation of graffiti as a text that documents the different co-existing issues of identity. Digital tools can be incorporated into our advancing of critical ace analysis and DH.

Added collaboration with community based cultural organizations is very rich--and there are entities willing to fund because digital).


Composing body in you tube

Today I have a monolid look
How is this composing a bogy: I do feel a lot more confident and pretty
Western look/western eyes.

Surgery to look more white!
Just got back from the surgery

Nothing wrong with hoping to look better.

Time, Technology, and the Mediated body
Temporal Logics in the Rhetoric of East Asian Blepharoplasty in Online Video

Brief description of procedure--surgeon does incision to create fold to make eyes look larger.

Breast augmentation, tanning, teeth whitening in the US: its not even seen in the plastic surgery.

Look at approximately fifty videos on YouTube which range from lectures about techniques, to TV excerpts to journals of healing and recovery, to testimonials, before and after slideshows.

Analyzes video images audio comments, and viewer comments.

Interface of YOUTUBE (titles, ages, viewer handles). Ability to moderate and hide particularly comments.

Commentary, tags, likes/disliked.

Robust range of perspectives come together as values are articulated, negotiated, and sometimes realigned.

Looked for two things: how changed over time. Temporal logics, I'm talking about series of rhetorical constructs though which we interpret our lived experiences (quantitative times) or qualitative times process narrative).

How came to project; started with a simple question: how do cultural values change over time.

Came from a personal place as I wondered why different time periods ages background have different ideas about good, bad, attractive, unattractive, and how varied values lead to conflicts in relationships.

Rhetoric grounded in cross-cultural communication.

Notions of progress in certain cultural values, temporal values.

Temporal logics.

Narrowing in on objet of inquiry of online video about east Asian .blast.

Methodological approach: strange of inquiry, problems with how to approach

Rhetorical construction of cultural values, change over time
Progress as temporal logic that grounds possibility for particular kinds of racism, and how racism moves across cultures
Internet as a spec of cross-cultural communication and negotiation
The construction of race in online space
Double eyelid surgery as a racialized practice that is understood differently (SILDE CHANGE NOT COMPLETE)

How theories of time have implications for body--how time frames way user access race
How does time function a way of accessing race? how do users access race through technological interfaces
How are bodies composed in multimodal texts?

Not going through findings--from here, through my analysis of these videos is to build a framework for production, analysis, and organization of multimodal representations of bodies.

Is body being racialized in this text?
Is body being framed in terms of desire in this particular text>

Aim at more responsible representations of bodies in video production.

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