Tag Archives: Digital Praxis Seminar

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The rising of the Digital Humanities

Actually, I am not a big fan of technology. First, I had a hard time to understand computer languages such as HTML, JAVA etc because those texts or languages looked like codes from the movie Matrix for me. I guess I wasn’t enough to be motivated to study computer field. Second, I don’t trust the Internet resources. I still rely more on primary resources or books. However, it is not necessary to resist using technologies. To tell the truth, the society rapidly changes and evolves. If I still avoid learning to utilize digitized tools, I will get far behind. In the end, I will be an extremely narrow-scoped person. I saw many people use digitized technologies to learn and work productively. I realized that I also need to know how to use digital technologies. I guess DH coursework will help me understanding digital languages and synthesizing technology and academia.

Professor Gold asked us to define digital humanities in one sentence on the first day of class. I think DH is a mixture of technology and academia that will lead our life styles. I agree with Professor Brier’s idea that DH is a blended theory and practice. At first, I thought that I was not close to the digitized technology, but the technology is fully embedded in my life.  According to professor’s work, DH incorporate a broad range of data throughout the scholastic world.  DH contributed to preserve and visualize written information. It led “scholarly communication in networked environment.” For instance, Archaeology faculty focus on reconstructing and preserving records by software programs.  In this respect, Archaeology epitomizes what DH aim to do.

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In the end, DH transform from paper to digital recording, it is still recording. Educational institution need to introduce DH to many students and make it more accessible to many people. In the long term, the knowledge and skill from DH will be useful in working industry as well. Most of firms require to interpret and synthesize data in digitized forms.

Living History

I read with avid interest Susan Hockey’s piece, “The History of Digital Humanities”. It turns out that this history closely parallels the arc of my life. By sheer coincidence, I was born in the year that Father Busa began work on his “index verborum” and I finished school about the time the concordance was first published in 1974. Like James Mason (https://dhpraxis14.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2014/08/29/digital-humanities-instilling-optimism-in-academia/) , I got my degree in English and could not do anything with it.

Finally, in 1978, I fell into a job as a mainframe computer operator. I had fun driving that big old machine, working with punch cards and huge reel-to-reel data tapes. My career led me to programming and then project management. Just as Hockey describes the advance of technology in the humanities, I lived through a similar evolution in the corporate IT world. The “invention” of word processing, the arrival of personal computers, the breakthrough of GUI (graphical user interface) and of course the history shaking impact of the Internet. I remember sending my first email. I remember working remotely on text-based terminal that operated over a telephone line at 300 bytes per second (it had no CRT; the I/O took place on spool of paper).

What is intriguing to me is that the tension between technologists and users of technology that seem to be taking place in the Digital Humanities is not a new phenomena. Techies have always been more interested in the tools than what can be done with them. I believe that Humanities has only lately been grappling with these issues because the technology is finally mature enough to deliver real value. It was much simpler to create systems that keep track of debits and credits, than to open up insights into the complex subjects that concern humanists. What seems to me to be unique to academia is the ongoing argument over the definition of Digital Humanities. Wouldn’t it be easier to simply do the work rather than agonize over what to label it?

Time will tell if this MALS program will lead me into a new way to study literature and theatre again or if it will open up a new arena for me leverage my technology career. Perhaps it will do both.

The Importance of Place

By, Martha Joy Rose (you can call me Joy 🙂

Screen shot, Madonna, Material Girl video (1985)

Screen shot, Madonna, Material Girl video (1985)

To quote Madonna, “we live in a material world.” Bodies are the containers for our intellectual, sensation-filled, pleasurable, and of course painful lives. My material body is the place from which I interact with the world. The biological shape it takes interprets data and responds accordingly. It is my home, and its receptors process my life experiences. That’s why I titled this first blog for the Digital Praxis Seminar “The Importance of Place.” For people wishing to push past the limitations of the material world, online portals provide unique opportunities to connect beyond the place and space individuals physically occupy.

During the first Digital Humanities Seminar class participants wrote one-sentence definitions of DH. My short and sweet assessment was, “DH is the intersection between information and technology.” Expanding on that idea is the notion that every subject within the interdisciplinary humanities has the potential to be available via the internet. These systems have already begun to change the learning landscape through MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) and digital libraries. Optimally the internet expands opportunities and enhances the physical/mental landscape into information highways, hyperrealities and more. This is a fascinating new frontier with its own possibilities and limitations. We are still at the forefront of this burgeoning new “place” learning to manage the opportunities presented and the pitfalls created.

This summer I watched Morgan Spurlock’s special on CNN delving into Futurisms. You can see the YouTube video here. The episode is a sometimes-frightening glimpse into humanity’s technological future, of which each of us plays a part, like it or not.

Because I still live in a body, but because my body lives in a world of rapidly developing technologies, I embrace the importance of both spheres relatively. I exercise my body, eat right, and love my physical form (in all its stages), but I am diving full steam into the new important space of digital humanities where information and connections find scope and life online. I absolutely think it is the next important place to be.

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E-mail: MarthaJoyRose@gmail.com
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