Session 3

About This Session

xtine burrough, University of Texas at Dallas

Sabrina Starnaman, University of Texas at Dalas

Art + Recovery in the Digital Humanities

Sabrina Starnaman (literary studies) and xtine burrough (digital media art) are collaborating on a long-term digital humanities project at the intersection of digital labor, technology, education, and literature. Their participatory installation is a creative recovery effort focusing on the 1861 short story Life in the Iron Mills, originally published by Rebecca Harding Davis in The Atlantic Monthly. In mediation with students, virtual crowd workers, and a participatory public, we develop a modern-day “Korl woman,” a statuesque icon imagined by Davis’ working class character and articulated by two characters in positions of power: a doctor and a man in upper-management. The Korl woman becomes the focal point for Davis’ exploration of industrial labor practices, immigrant workers, labor and class, and the indomitability of artistic expression. Through this collaboration, we explore the continued relevance of Rebecca Harding Davis’ realist novella in a multi-modal digital fabrication. We can bring a copy of the The Laboring Self to Digital Humanities conference-goers to inscribe with Davis’ text or their own expressions of Davis’ critique. The first incarnation of the project will open to the public in Dallas in April 2016. This work is sponsored by a grant from UT Dallas’ Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology. Our first participants are undergraduate students in UT Dallas’ “Studies in Women’s Literature: Rebels and Reformers” course, and workers on mturk.com and fivver.com.

Kirsten Ostherr, Rice University

“Digital Medical Humanities: An Applied Media Studies Community of Practice”

The term “digital medical humanities” signals a convergence between digital humanities and medical humanities. This talk will describe why and how the concept of “digital medical humanities” works to bring together media scholars, millennial learners, and practicing clinicians interested in collaborating to adapt digital tools for use in medical practice.

In the age of the maker movement, hackathons and do-it-yourself participatory culture, the boundaries between digital media theory and production have dissolved. Multidisciplinary humanities labs have sprung up around the globe, generating new forms of hands-on, critical and creative work. The scholars, artists, and scientists behind these projects are inventing new ways of doing media studies teaching and research, developing innovative techniques through experimental practice.

Millennial learners live in a digital, highly connected, always-on world, where short-form, real-time visual communication is the preferred form of social engagement. For these students, the boundary between consuming and producing media is virtually nonexistent, largely enabled by user-friendly digital interfaces on their smartphones. These 21st century approaches to interaction present an opportunity for health humanities educators and clinicians to collaborate with millennial learners in reimagining health communication for the digital age. By engaging in collaborative, participatory design practices focused on solving real-world health communication problems between patients and health professionals, health humanities students increase their digital literacy, enhance patient engagement, and develop valuable problem-solving and leadership skills. This talk will draw on examples from Ostherr’s “Medical Media Arts Lab,” to show how digital medical humanities cultivates 21st century communication skills for future health professionals.

Anne S. Chao, Rice University

Gephi visualization and text-mining with R in the study of Chen Duxiu, a Chinese political and cultural iconoclast.

Network visualization software and the technique of text-mining have been used with varying degrees of success in the humanities. In my study of the life of the founder of the cultural iconoclast and Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Chen Duxiu (1879-1942), I experiment with both methods as a way to deepen and to render more comprehensive my understanding of this important historical figure. By the use of Gephi I plot members of the social and political organizations that Chen joined prior to the founding of the CCP, as a way to see if the influence of these organizations and their members played a role in his transformation from a classical scholar to a cultural and political rebel. At the same time, I use text-mining with the computer language R to track Chen’s shifting understanding of the key terms which were central to his writing and to his work. Chen’s lifelong preoccupation was to find a way to strengthen and to save China; he was above all a patriot. Via text-mining I create two groups of keywords, which I name umbrella and companion words, to contextualize the attributes of meaning that make up the concept of patriotism. My paper presents my finding thus far. This project comprises an important part of the book that I will be writing.

John North Hopkins, Rice University

Digital Inputs, Cultural Outputs: Collaborative, Online Tools for Education, Research and Publication in the History of Art and Cultural Heritage Preservation

The Collections Analysis Collaborative is an initiative of the Menil Collection and Rice University, which brings together affiliated students, art historians, archaeologists, and museum professionals from around the U.S. to conduct object-based and provenance research and to identify innovative approaches to the issues of authenticity, cultural heritage, and public display that shape the efficacy of museums’ permanent collections and prospective acquisitions.  In this paper, we will present our project and its first fruits, as an example of a multi-media, integrated research and educational system built in a Digital Humanities framework.  Our project is inherently, unabashedly and nonchalantly digital.  As a multi-year project for an institution (The Menil) without a large enough staff to address these concerns, we needed to crowdsource advanced, interpretive data entry, communicate with as many as 20 simultaneous participants from across the country, and publish collection records, project conversations and scholarly observations to the public.  From the start, the project required tools that would enable easy, long-distance scholarly interaction, foster continuous work over perhaps a decade, allow for consistent publication rather than a single moment of distribution, and present content in a way that was easily sortable, filterable, searchable.  Thus, we conceived a digital, web-based project, not as a proactive means to engage with Digital Humanities, but, rather, because digital interfaces and publication tools were the obvious solution.  In short, we represent a project that was not DH for its own sake, but rather, one that is DH because of the normalcy and suitability of digital initiatives.

 

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Moderator

Coby Condrey

Coby Condrey is the Collection Development Liaison Librarian at the University of North Texas Libraries. He completed his BA with Honors in Latin and his MLIS degrees at the University of Texas at Austin.  After working many years in a state library overseeing a government documents program, he transitioned to academic librarianship.

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Presenters

xtine burrough photo

xtine burrough

xtine is a new media artist and educator. She has authored or edited several books including Foundations of Digital Art and Design (2013), Net Works: Case Studies in Web Art and Design (2011), and The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies (2015).

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Sabrina Starnaman

Sabrina Starnaman is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Literary Studies and the Acting Director of the Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology at The University of Texas at Dallas. Her research focuses on Progressive Era (1880-1930) American texts about social settlements and women’s activism, urbanism, and disability. Central to Dr.

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Kirsten Ostherr

Kirsten Ostherr, PhD, MPH is a media scholar and health researcher at Rice University who works on the humanistic dimensions of making patient data into meaningful stories.

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Anne S. Chao

Ever since I completed my dissertation on the life of the founder of the Chinese Communist Party, Chen Duxiu, I have been experimenting with computational methods to explore different facets of his life. At first I used network visualization to describe Chen’s social networks, as a way to plot the influences that his comrades and friends potentially exerted on him.

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John North Hopkins

John Hopkins is an art historian and archaeologist, whose work focuses on physical/visual/spatial experience and the diachronic investigation of cultural and societal shift in the ancient Mediterranean.  In recent work he has begun to investigate cultural heritage, archaeological stewardship and the presentation of museological and archaeological information in a widely availab

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