C- Level

So am I kitty, so am I…

At this point in time I think I’m going to speak about what I know  how I feel thus far (since I don’t feel like I know anything just yet). I think I have a better understanding of what digital humanities is/are today than I did last week, but a far cry from being able to articulate it to someone who has no idea what it is.

Working in the archives I have to say that my initial encounters with the students and alumni publication collection haven’t been necessarily pleasant. They have involved going down to the dreary C-level and having to move shelves, climb ladders and retrieve heavy boxes. Yesterday looking at the finding aid I realized that there’s a ton to work with. Hopefully this will make it easier for us to find something to focus our attention on rather than confuse us more.

In the brief period I had to go through the content of the publications, I noticed different interesting things; such as how the running themes are reflective of the state of society at those times. This is seen in the humor, some of the blatant sexism in the content to the somehow random prevalence of smoking ads. I also noticed how the writing in the 90’s is very much mirrored in the opinion pieces written in the Amherst Student and other campus publications today. Knowledge in different research methods is definitely something I am keen on learning. I respond strongly to visual representation and look forward to learning how to use different tools especially GIS which I am most drawn to due to my background in architectural studies. Not to be too ambitious, but I am also looking forward to learning methods that would lay the groundwork for a possible thesis in my senior year. 

I don’t precisely know what I will get out of this entire internship, but being comfortable with ambiguity is part of the process, and I am easing into that state quite nicely.

With shared sentiments that the amount of reading done yesterday was the most we had done in the past two weeks, the introduction to digital humanities brought about more questions than answers. Does it lack inclinations towards making arguments as compared to traditional forms of research? Does it take out important processes of research such as peer reviews? Does its appeal lie in the methodology, the tools, or the processes of collaboration and teamwork that are crucial? I look forward to engaging with this collection and all the tools that we will learn about to make sense of the information overload that is currently happening in my brain.

One thought on “C- Level”

  1. Your question about how digital humanities is less inclined to make arguments than traditional research makes me think about WHY this is so. Is it a limitation of the digital methodology, wherein the emphasis is on the way that the information is presented rather than on the way everything coheres to make a statement? I can see how certain data visualization tools such as social network analysis and arcGIS (geographic information system) can share information in a novel way with less emphasis on “the meaning of it all.” Does it ultimately come down to a project’s purpose? Speaking in a general (and crude) way, a typical research paper knows what it has to do: present, persuade, and illuminate. It benefits from a thesis or overarching theme, which provides the lens through which the readers can navigate the paper’s body. Do digital projects have a different purpose? I would argue that they seek to do similar things as a research paper (same ends, different means), although I cannot fathom why they would be less inclined toward making arguments. If not due to different purpose and methodology, then what?

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