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Weekend Reading: Then Came the Morning Edition

8671781999_88fdd4c773_bAs we move into summer, so do we move into time (I hope) for more diverse reading. Which is my excuse for having no coherency in my selections this week. The following are just articles that I’ve found of interest over the past few weeks, and I hope some of them will also spark your interest.

  • The first is a pair of articles on academic conferences. Christy Wampole’s “Conference Manifesto” has been widely shared on social media, decrying trends the author sees in academic conferences that certainly provoke strong reactions from those who vociferously agree or disagree. David M. Perry is in the latter camp, and his rejoined is well worth a read.

    I cannot remember ever feeling rage about a conference. I have heard good papers and bad papers, seen good behavior in Q&A sessions and bad behavior, but rage? I think our memories fixate on the bad, a pattern exacerbated by the tradition of telling “bad conference” stories. I always get laughs when I describe the first paper at the first panel I chaired, when at minute 30 (10 minutes over time), the speaker got up, grabbed a piece of chalk, and headed to the blackboard to start drawing maps. We remember these egregiously awful events precisely because they are the exception to general competence.

  • In his first post at sister publication GradHacker, Jonathan Fitzgerald talks about “parenting in public” as a strategy for grad student parents (and, frankly, faculty parents as well).

    If we want the culture of academia to change to be more accepting of those of us who are academics and parents, we need to start “parenting in public.” So, here it was, my first opportunity to do just that.

    After all my worrying, the presentation went great. It was fairly informal—just a grad student talking to other grad students. And my colleagues were more than gracious. They formed a circle with their chairs and that became a kind of makeshift playpen for my daughter. For some of the presentation she colored quietly next to me as I presented, but when she got bored of that, she explored the circle, sharing her “Daniel Tiger” figurines with my colleagues and even asking for a bite of one of their lunches. After it was over, I received more compliments about how delightful she was than comments on my presentation.

  • In a very different vein, my colleague Ben Schmidt’s recent blog post attempts to tease out traditions of text analysis, visualization, and preservation in the digital humanities in ways that I find provocative and useful.

    I want to start thinking about how to reconcile two somewhat distinct traditions in Digital Humanities text-oriented projects. One is computationally inclined, shies in the direction of writing articles, performs sometimes elaborate computations, and views reproducible research (where possible) as a matter of sharing code on Github. The other is more interested in presenting individual artifacts through robust platforms like Omeka for images or resilient sites for displaying TEI archives. The latter rarely tries to make broader arguments about its aggregate sources; the former rarely makes its underlying texts accessible except as a few examples in its text, relying instead largely on flat charts from R or python.

  • At Boundary 2, Audrey Waters has a fantastic piece, “Men (Still) Explain Technology to Me: Gender and Education Technology” that should be required reading for anyone interested in educational technology (which I assume to be most ProfHacker readers!).

    I know I have to come right out and say it, because very few people in education technology will: there is a problem with computers. Culturally. Ideologically. There’s a problem with the internet. Largely designed by men from the developed world, it is built for men of the developed world. Men of science. Men of industry. Military men. Venture capitalists. Despite all the hype and hope about revolution and access and opportunity that these new technologies will provide us, they do not negate hierarchy, history, privilege, power. They reflect those. They channel it. They concentrate it, in new ways and in old.

  • Finally, for those interested in digital humanities (maybe there is a theme here), Amy Earhart’s new “Diverse History of Digital Humanities” offers a useful counter-history of the field.

    I think that we, as digital humanities practitioners, have been ahistorical in how we understand our work, often assuming that the last 5 years of projects are the entire field. Because of this, we often make broad statements that suggest that only one vein of work is digital humanities, an inaccurate understanding of where we have been and where we are going. This blog is designed to highlight early projects that have made contributions to digital humanities.

Our video this week celebrates the “new morning”—summer!

[Creative Commons licensed photo by Flickr user Stephen Bowler.]

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