Weekend Reading: The DH Summer Edition

Big_Summer_SkyThe semester is over! Grades have been turned in, the weather is beautiful, possibilities are endless. It’s the perfect time to think about beginning summer projects, and to read up on the digital humanities, one of our favorite fields at ProfHacker. My links in this week’s Weekend Reading focus on some interesting developments in race, ethnicity and literary studies within the digital humanities, social media, and some literary inspiration for beginning your new summer project.

  • In “Famous Authors’ Handwritten Outlines for Great Works of Literature,” Emily Temple gives her readers some inspiration in showing you how famous authors planned out their novels (which may inspire you to check out Amy Cavendar’s review of Scapple, a terrific new mindmapping app): “Writing a novel (or a story, for that matter) is confusing work. There are just so many characters running all over the place, dropping hints and having revelations. So it’s no surprise that many authors plan out their works beforehand, in chart or list or scribble form, in order to keep everything straight. After the jump, you’ll find a mini collection of those planning papers, so you can take a peek into the process of some of your favorite authors, from James Salter to J.K. Rowling.”

  • Last weekend, Roopika Risam and I hosted an Open Thread on Postcolonial Digital Humanities (#DHPoco) asking a question inspired by Martha Nell Smith, the founding Director of MITH: “Has the Digital Humanities been a Historical Refuge from Race/Class/Gender/Disability?”: “In 2007, Martha Nell Smith observed: ‘When I first started attending humanities computing conferences in the mid-1990s, I was struck by how many of the presentations remarked, either explicitly or implicitly, that concerns that had taken over so much academic work in literature—of gender, race, class, sexuality—were irrelevant to humanities computing. […]  Scientific matters of mathematics and computation, objective and hard, do not seem to be subject to the concerns of gender, race, or sexuality. 2 + 2, so the reasoning goes, always equals 4, whether you are black, a woman, a queer, a straight, or whatever. HTML, SGML, XML—the codes that make words and images, texts, processable—and TEI conformancy are supposedly gender-, race-, class-neutral. The codes always work, and the principles always apply, whatever one’s personal identity or social group (or so many seemed to believe).’ In your view, how much of this has changed since Smith’s article was published, if anything?” The thread has now generated over 150 comments, which some people have indicated is overwhelming. New readers may thus find our latest lighthearted summary of the thread useful. You are welcome to edit and contribute to the summary by editing the embedded Google document.

  • Introducing peer-reviewed research on Facebook! TechCrunch’s Josh Costine tells us, “If subjects like “XORing Elephants: Novel Erasure Codes for Big Data” get you all worked up, you’ll dig the “Research Publications At Facebook” site, which collects scientific papers written by Facebook employees and researchers. Ranging from hardcore engineering to the sociology of social networks, the library puts Facebook’s open-sourced knowledge all in one place.”

  • Launching next week: What Jane Saw, a very interesting digital recreation of Jane Austen’s view of an 1813 art exhibit at the British Institution in Pall Mall, London: “On 24 May 2013, two centuries to the day that Austen viewed the 141 paintings in that exhibit, this site will open its doors as a public e-gallery, offering the modern visitor a precise historical reconstruction of that long-lost Regency blockbuster.”

  • It’s been twenty years since Paul Gilroy published his seminal The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, a book which has expanded American studies to Atlantic Ocean studies, particularly with reference to the African Diaspora. Africa in Words is running a series of posts on the book. Check out Nara Improta’s first post, which offers a useful summary and contextualization of the book and its impact: “For Gilroy, the common experience of the Black Atlantic is based on memory. The Black Atlantic is an articulation of the past, rooted in the suffering and in the way people dealt with pain. And for him, the best form of expression of this suffering was music. However, music was more than just a way of transforming pain into pleasure; it was more than a reaction to oppression. It also included an intellectual message. In this sense, Gilroy argues that music should be studied without placing it in a Hegelian hierarchy in which it is seen as a pure form of expression of the soul. On the contrary, he explains that we should not overlook the intellectuality that is part of this form of art. From the syncopated rhythm to the content of the lyrics, for him, Atlantic black music was an intellectual production and should be studied as such, taking into consideration its complexity and seeking to understand its role in social history.”

Finally instead of a video, here’s a DogHouse Diaries comic from Mashable on how technology has made everything (including world domination) something you now do from your computer:


Big Summer Sky Image Credit: Meena Kadri on Wikimedia Commons

Past and Present Comic Credit: DogHouse Diaries on Mashable

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