Friday, September 22, 1:30-2:45 pm
Strozier Library TADS Commons (ground level, past the quiet study area)
Aspects of Visibility: Reckoning with the Taxonomizing Impulse of the Digital Humanities
Digital Scholars is pleased to welcome Sarah Stanley, DH Specialist and Librarian at Florida State University, to help usher in this semester’s discussions of what can occur at the methodological intersections of DH, race, and alterity. Stanley asks us to consider and interrogate various attitudes toward building taxonomies that undergird a majority of DH projects, whether those taxonomies seek to render multiple phenomena in “same-as” relationships rather than critically distant ones (Drucker, 2011), or whether they seek to articulate phenomena as a hierarchical ordering of relationships that function on a measurable scale (Tsing, 2012).
For those who work in and around network, digital, or visual studies, such a call to rethink taxonomies seems not unfamiliar. In her prologue to Graphesis (2014), for example, Johanna Drucker differentiates between a diagrammatic image that “produces the knowledge it draws” and a digitally rendered image of Web traffic that “only displays information” (1, italics original), arguing that our rendered images—like our networks and queries—are situated and thus in need of nuanced distinctions between those visualized representations that construct information vs. those visualizations that merely re-present. For those who work with data—especially with the mining, construction, or interpretation of indigenous or culturally sensitive data sets—such a call to rethink taxonomies is especially salient to avoid recreating ontological dilemmas that flatten or erase difference.
Yet, what practices (or impulses) might we put in their place? Moreover, with what aspects of visibility should we be willing to contend? Finally, at what cost to particular notions of the “digital” or the “humanities” should these contentions occur? To help us work through these questions, participants are invited to read the following in advance of our meeting:
- Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. “On Nonscalability: The Living World Is Not Amenable to Precision-Nested Scales.” Common Knowledge 18.3 (2012): 505-24.
- Rawson, Katie, and Trevor Muñoz. “Against Cleaning.” 6 July 2016 Post on Curating Menus.
- Posner, Miriam. “What’s Next: The Radical, Unrealized Potential of Digital Humanities.” 27 July 2015 Post on Posner Blog.
- Drucker, Johanna. “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display.” 5.1 (2011): Digital Humanities Quarterly (DHQ).
For additional context or related conversations, participants are also invited to browse, skim, or reread any of the following:
- Bode, Katherine. “The Equivalence of ‘Close’ and ‘Distant’ Reading: Or, Towards a New Object for Data-Rich Literary History.” DRAFT. Final version forthcoming in Modern Language Quarterly (December 2017).
- Fiormonte, Domenico. “Towards Monocultural (Digital) Humanities?” 21 July 2015 Post. [http://infolet.it/2015/07/12/monocultural-humanities/] Aggregated on DH Now [http://digitalhumanitiesnow.org/2015/ ]
- Gil, Alex. “The (Digital) Library of Babel” 06 June 2014 Keynote Address at DH Summer Institute, Victoria, B.C.
- McPherson, Tara. “Why Are the Digital Humanities So White? or Thinking the Histories of Race and Computation.” Chapter 9 in Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities (2013 online edition)
All are welcome! We hope you can join us,