Prototyping as Pedagogy

Friday, March 23, 2:30-3:45 pm
Williams 013 (English Common Room, basement level)

From the Lab to the Classroom: Live Methods and Prototyping in the Arts and Humanities

Fabrication objects and physical computing objects — digital matter — have been the historian’s medium since communication scholars first cast digital inquiry as a “matter of intercepting and decoding transmissions from some remote place and time … [a way] to ground conversations about the past and our relationship to it” (Elliott, et al, 2017). Yet, beyond fabricating objects related to historians’ own interests, the making and remaking of digital matter can offer a medium for teaching and learning even among novice groups. Digital Scholars is pleased to welcome Dr. Jentery Sayers (via videoconference) to discuss some of the critical and practical implications of involving arts and humanities undergraduate students in prototyping and fabrication.

As a pedagogy that emerges from assertive approaches to speculative computing, prototyping offers students “live methods” (Back and Puwar, 2012), or methods that privilege multiple registers of knowledge-making (including, but not limited to, talk and text). With an emphasis on Material, Dr. Sayers will survey the benefits and risks of establishing “a practice of making things think, sense, and talk” (Sayers, et al, 2016, p. 4) in two particular courses — “Technology and Society,” and “What’s In A Game?” — drawing primarily from experiences teaching speculative design, indie games, and, more generally, techniques for prototyping pasts and futures.

All are welcome, and participants are invited to read and browse the following in advance:

We hope you can join us.


Rigorous Peer Review in Digital Publishing Environments

Friday, February 16, 2:30-3:45 pm
Digital Research & Scholarship Commons (Strozier, lower ground level)

Digital Publishing Environments and Rigorous Peer Review

The Digital Scholars / DH Reading & Discussion Group is pleased to announce our first guest speaker of Spring 2018, Dr. Cheryl Ball, currently director of the Digital Publishing Collaborative at Wayne State University Libraries, project director for Vega, and editor of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. Dr. Ball will ask us to consider how the relationship between “open-access,” “digital” and “publishing” can be both generative and speculative, raising questions about the affordances for academic freedom as well as the constraints for valuation of circulating, publishable objects. Ultimately, Ball will ask us to consider how the implications of this conversation might speak to three principal concerns widely shared among digital humanists: (1) the nature of online scholarly community building; (2) the accessibility of research infrastructures; and (3) the need to maintain rigorous peer review in an open-commenting environment.

All are welcome, regardless of mindset or expertise, and all are welcome to read or peruse the following articles and white papers:

We hope you can join us,

2016-2017 Retrospective

Wednesday, January 24, 12:30-1:45 pm
Williams 415 (4th floor, L off the elevator)

2016-2017 Retrospective: “New” Directions and Contentions in the Digital Humanities

The organizational meeting for Spring 2018 Digital Scholars will be dedicated to a brief retrospective of discussions in 2016 and 2017 surrounding issues of computation, publishing, and pedagogy. Some of these discussions have occurred as critiques of data ethics, while others have served as calls to spatial justice. Many of these discussions invite us to delineate the boundary between mechanisms for and practices of the digital humanities, and all of them have moved incrementally forward in the past two years. The meeting is primarily for enrolled graduate students, but all Digital Scholars participants are welcome to read and join us for conversation on the following:

  • Ball, Cheryl E. “Building a Scholarly Multimedia Publishing Infrastructure.” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 48.2 (Jan 2017). 99-115. DOI: 10.3138/jsp.48.2.99 [access at FSU]
  • Battles, Matthew and Michael Maizels. “Collections and/of Data: Art History and the Art Museum in the DH Mode.” Debates in the Digital Humanities (2016 edition)
  • Hsu, Wendy F. “Lessons on Public Humanities from the Civic Sphere.” Debates in the Digital Humanities (2016 edition)
  • Sayers, Jentery. “Dropping the Digital.” Debates in the Digital Humanities (2016 edition)
  • So, Richard Jean. “All Models Are Wrong.” PMLA 132.3 (May 2017): 668-673. DOI: 10.1632/pmla.2017.132.3.668 [access at FSU]

Enrolled participants are asked to read any 3 of the 5 articles listed above so as to chart a matrix of concerns for grounding our discussions throughout the term. We hope you can join us,


Political Ideology in Electronic Objects

Friday, December 1, 12:00-1:15 pm
Williams 013 (“Common Room,” basement level)

Political Ideology in Electronic Objects: A Conversation with Rob Duarte

Students, scholars, and aficionados of visual and material rhetorics, new media poetics, gaming technology, user experience, and speculative fiction may be especially interested in our final meeting of the semester. Digital Scholars welcomes Rob Duarte, Assistant Professor in Art and co-Director of the FSU Facility for Arts Research, for a discussion of the relationship between people and their technologies. More specifically, Duarte will invite us to consider the potentialities of critical making, the parameters of critical engineering, and the relationships between the material world of electronic objects and the im/materialities of language, poetry, and text. Drawing on his recent artist-in-residency at University of Colorado’s Media Archaeology Lab, Duarte will also ask us to attend to the political ideologies “embedded” in the electronic objects we use and with which we interface with relative ease—what Jean Baudrillard might have called experiencing the pleasure of the integrated circuit (Xerox and Infinity, 1988). On the one hand, when does our usage afford us a powerful form of critical coding or distance? On the other hand, when does our usage become the embodiment of caricature (Dunne, 2014, p. 22), or little more than an ideological enslavement (Virilio, The Art of the Motor, 1995)? Participants are invited to read the following in advance of our meeting:

All are welcome. We hope you can join us,


“Black at Bryn Mawr” and Technologies of Recovery

Thursday, November 9, 3:30-4:45 pm
Williams (WMS) 415 [turn L off elevators, then R]

Being “Black at Bryn Mawr”: Past as Legacy and Project

For our third meeting this term, the Digital Scholars group will peruse some recent legacy projects and engage in conversation about technologies of recovery. Central to our discussion will be “Black at Bryn Mawr,” a collaborative project begun by Emma Kioko and Grace Pusey in the Fall of 2014 under the guidance of Monica Mercado and Sharon Ullman. Initially conceived as a cross-disciplinary attempt to re/build institutional memory of the College’s “engagement with race and racism,” BBW represents a growing number of legacy projects that hope to re-situate institutions’ relationships to their past and present communities. While the digitization project is ongoing, during the AY 2017-2018, Bryn Mawr has also begun discussions about installing other physical projects and/or naming physical landmarks on campus to highlight some of the content amplified by this work. We may take up the following questions:

  • How might projects like these satiate or provoke ongoing concerns about the “whiteness” of Digital Humanities?
  • Is “legacy” an appropriate term for data-oriented projects driven by models of data-gathering that may potentially flatten?
  • Since Digital Scholars first raised this question in 2011, how far have we come in considering how a “critical code studies” might inform (or transform) this work?
  • Assuming their interest in the material and cultural implications of technologies of recovery, what seems an appropriate set of questions for digital humanists to ask, or with which to build such projects?
  • What stands in the way of authentically anti-racist dialogues surrounding technology within DH?
  • How is DH complicit in barring such dialogues from occurring?

Participants will be encouraged to share their perspectives on and experiences with other inclusion projects, and all are invited to read and view the following in advance:

All are welcome! We hope you can join us,


Race, Data-Mining, Control

Thursday, October 12, 12:30-1:45 pm
Williams 415

“Data-Mining the Body”: Racialized Bodies, Data-Mining, and Technics of Control

Digital Scholars is pleased to welcome Anaïs Nony, post-doctoral fellow in French and Francophone Studies at Florida State University, for our second discussion of what can occur at the methodological intersections of DH, race, and alterity. Nony will introduce the “nootechnics of the digital” — the psycho-cultural practices of care and empowerment (2017, p. 130) — asking us to consider the ways in which we thoughtfully and thoughtlessly use medical devices as modes of control that extract data from bodies to assess medical conditions and influence transnational flows of migration. Drawing primarily from a chapter in her book and secondarily from ongoing work in nootechnics, Nony will examine various technologies of control in the context of nationalist discourses on security. Participants are invited to read the following in advance of our meeting:

All are welcome. We hope you can join us,


In/Visibility and Exclusion in Creating DH Taxonomies

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:

For additional context or related conversations, participants are also invited to browse, skim, or reread any of the following:

All are welcome! We hope you can join us,