If we can’t see the ethical stakes (+ power relations) in digital archives we are going to do violence. Do better. Born of frustration and still very much a work … Continue reading Justice and Digital Archives: A Working Bibliography
I concur with my colleague Jamie Winterton that “cyber” has become overdetermined and if you’re into understanding how that works you should check out her upcoming event with the Center … Continue reading New Connections Workshop
Let’s begin with a definition of terms: Barad’s ideas regarding entanglement and what they mean for how we approach history and memory has been really important to my work on … Continue reading Remediation, Activation, and Entanglement in Performative (Digital) Archives – MLA2017
This is a placeholder post – one that I’m using to remind me of some thinking, writing, and making that I’d like to do in the near future. In a … Continue reading Coming Soon: Size Does Matter
I’ve been working lately with the Vibrant Lives team on performative, haptic approaches to understanding data. This first took the form of our Vibrant Lives performance this fall at ASU’s Fall Forward showcase. Since then, we’ve been playing around with lots of different modalities for engaging with data and we’ve been talking a lot – mostly amongst ourselves, but also with folks who have been attending HSCollab’s “Critical Conversations” lunchtime series.
We are lucky that the gracious folks at DHSI have agreed to host a Vibrant Lives installation during the first week of this summer’s events. We’ve significantly modified our first performance, which took up three rooms and involved an entire flock of dancers and a lot of dust.
Our new installation will have a large crochet piece – a kind of “Net”- made by one of our principles, Jessica Rajko. Here’s Jessica’s most recent installation of the work to give you a sense of how the network has grown during an installation
You can see the full gallery of images and a video of the installation on her website.
The piece will be hanging and there will be haptic devices that will be “playing” the collective data shed in the room. There will also be an evening installation event that will incorporate realtime work and discussion. We will be weaving together bodies, technologies, spaces, and objects into an enactment of vibrant data.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Carolyn Steedman’s work in Dust and the invocation of the rag rug her in work, as well as about ends, endings, traces, and trailing – all of which really seem to harmonize with Jane Bennett’s work on Vibrant Matter and work in the vein of Karen Barad. I find myself wondering about everyday objects and their effects, their “quasi-agential” qualities.
While I do argue that data can have a similarly vibrant life of its own, around here we say that there is no data without people, without bodies. I really enjoy the ways that our work is pushing me to think hard about this. One thing I’ve found is that I’m thinking a lot about what isn’t captured about life in cellular or digital data, about the archival “data” of drawers, dust, etc. There’s a lot that is sent out in swirling waves of digital dust when we connect, but it seems to me that even does not make it into that particular kind of dust, which sends me back to Steedman’s notion of the rug, the drawer, the quotidian.
I’ve also been thinking about the ways that Diana Taylor (The Archive and The Repertoire) and Rebecca Schneider (Performing Remains) talk about the value of performance as a way of understanding memory and memorial outside of the archive or the monument. Here’s Taylor: “there is an advantage to thinking about a repertoire performed through dance, theater, song, ritual, witnessing, healing practices, memory paths, and the many other forms of repeatable behaviors as something that cannot be housed or contained in the archive.”
I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about dead people and their remains, whether in archive, performance, or elsewhere. But the Vibrant Lives performances have been largely about living people and the data that we shed as we move through connected cultures. I’ve also been thinking about my role in our performance.
In our first version, I was in the “scholars room” with Jentery Sayers and Nina Belojevic and part of what we did was talk about how the Vibrant Lives app worked.
It was good, but I want something a bit different, a bit less didactic for our DHSI performance. I also want to do something that reaches out and makes apparent the remarkable networks that sustain me in my work. I would not be able to do what I do were it not for the work already done by feminist scholars, artists, and activists, nor would I be able to sustain my work and myself without groups like FemTechNet.
So, in the spirit of Steedman’s rag rug and other related models, I’d like to ask my “nets” – all of you who make up the networks that sustain this work – to help me weave a bit of an analog network into our vibrating, vibrant web for Vibrant Lives @ DHSI. Send me a bit, a trace, an item, a piece of your everyday and I’ll sit with it and weave it into our net at DHSI. It can be fabric, or not. I don’t have much in the way of restrictions except that you be willing to have it appear and be incorporated into the net and that it fit in an envelope. If you’d like, feel free to send along a few words of context or a thought you’d like to share and I’ll find a way to incorporate that as well. If you’d like us to acknowledge your contributions (which I will happily do), please include a note to that effect. I’m also happy to take silent contributions if that is your preference. You don’t need to know anyone of us well in order to contribute – if you’re seeing these words, that is enough.
Please send your threads, your rags, your bits (before the end of May) to:
Vibrant Lives @ DHSI c/o Jacqueline Wernimont,
Department of English
Arizona State University
P.O. Box 870302
Tempe, AZ 85287
Jamia Wilson, Latoya Peterson, and I had a great conversation earlier this year about an idea: “intersectional data.” We have recently returned to the idea and the time for me to write a bit about it is growing close. As a way of working toward that end, this is an idea gathering post. If you have items to share, please let me know!
From our previous conversations:
Intersectional Data Manifesto
While we affirm the value of theoretical frameworks, we also want to draw attention to the material, affective, economic, and social impacts of reductive data collection and interpretation. This is important, life-saving information.
Examples where non-intersectional data has negatively impacted people include the large gaps in medical testing (cardiac disease and treatment).
- Forensic Science Learning from Sports Medicine
- Disparate impact: disparate impact is a legal theory of liability under several federal civil rights laws, including Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It allows plaintiffs to challenge practices that, while facially neutral, disproportionately impact protected classes.To show why something has a disparate impact, plaintiffs often have to rely on statistics. Without statistics that show why certain groups experience disparate impact based on intersections of multiple identities—trans women, black women, and older women are just a few examples—this theory of legal liability will never be extended to those groups. A disturbing example of how this works is the case Rogers v. American Airlines.
Feminist scholars and activists have long pointed to the critical importance of narrative and we re-affirm that observation.
Key points of an intersectional framework for data
Insists that we cannot separate out the complexities of our identities, nor should we
Existing concepts of multivariate data are insufficient because they don’t articulate the power relations that shape how we live, know, and are known.
Is messy – we aren’t interested in “cleaning our data.” Data that does not reflect the realities of our identities erase those identities. It is also fundamentally inaccurate data, and when its used for any purpose, those effects are exponentially multiplied.
Is sometimes incomplete, but in its messiness is moving toward completeness
Not easy to obtain – some groups will not show up in a standard research sets
Like queer/feminist code, may not always execute, but is still meaningful. In fact, if our data can’t be “crunched” with current methods, then perhaps we need new ones.
Data is supposed to give insight – there is no reason to limit our insights because we are uncomfortable with asking for more clarity
Is not only about about individual data sets. Intersectional data also applies to the collection of data, preservation, use, and re-use, and the ethics deployed in these processes
Bowleg, L.. “When Black + Lesbian + Woman ≠ Black Lesbian Woman: The Methodological Challenges of Qualitative and Quantitative Intersectionality Research.” Sex Roles 59 (2008): 312-325.http://ird.crge.umd.edu/entry_display.php?id=194
Crenshaw, Kimberlé. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color”. Stanford Law Review 43.6 (1991): 1241–1299
Puar, Jasbir. “‘I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess’ Intersectionality, Assemblage, and Affective Politics” http://eipcp.net/transversal/0811/puar/en
Geek Feminism on “Intersectionality” http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Intersectionality
On Algorithmic Culture
Galloway, Alexander. Gaming: Essays in Algorithmic Culture (2006)
Paul Dourish on Algorithmic Culture…http://arithmus.eu/?p=238
Strehovec, Janez “E-Literary Text and New Media Paratexts”
McNeill, Joanne. “Facebook and Algorithmic Culture”
Algorithmic Cultures conference
Talt, Julian. “Living in the Age of Algorithmic Cultures”
New Atlantis piece
Are abstraction and intersectionality mutually incompatible?
All data is situated, just as all knowledge is situated.
Neutrality is a myth all the way down.
Where are good models of complex systems? (Bio, ecology, but also the rendering of multimedia…)
I’m currently somewhere 35,000 feet in the air, roughly over Kansas, making my way back home from the International Workshop on Misogyny and the Internet, aka #iwomi. When working to address violence against feminists, the very act of meeting can be both radical and dangerous. While an event in an elite setting in the U.S. is probably less at risk than meetings of feminists elsewhere, there’s a lot to be said for creating safe and brave spaces. To that end, we met under Chatham House rule, in which “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.” Concerned about issues of intellectual appropriation, we also operated under a consent request policy that required that we ask first before communicating outward about ideas articulated by another participant. We also put down our devices for much of the meeting in order to fully engage with one another.
Consequently, there is little real time information that came out of the meeting and I will be intentionally vague in my reporting out here where it concerns other people – mostly I’ll speak just about what I did while there as a way to render myself accountable and to respect the Chatham rule.
I’m not comfortable with the repetition of ‘I’ in this following list, so I’ll say it just once here.
learned that the gulf between what diversity looks like in academic meetings and in intersectional feminist spaces is enormous
- came to understand that the challenges our various initiatives face are not the same (not everyone needs more money/time in the way that many academics feel we do)
- saw that there is an AMAZING amount of work already being done to address violence against women/girls/people online
- saw that the work of not making discussions U.S.-centric is hard but necessary
- collaborated on a manifesto regarding “intersectional data”
- heard that if we could just train 100 women across the world to train other women about digital security and identity we would have a huge impact
- heard that women can (should?) do more to engage with industry, politics, governance on these topics
- dispaired that we have to keep explaining to others that digital life *is* real life
- learned about affordances and barriers to coalition work
- witnessed and appreciated some very intentional feminist engagements by men, which I see very little of in academic settings
- witnessed, appreciated, and participated in a lot of very intentional feminist engagements involving women and non-binary and gender queer folks
- engaged and worked hard on active listening and was not perfect
- experienced optimism, pessimism, curiosity, sorrow, humility, laughter, and joy
- was comfortably uncomfortable at times
- learned that an effective moderator is an invaluable asset
- learned that a stack or progressive stack is a really great meeting tool
As our collective work becomes public, I’ll share more of it here and across social media.
According to a recent Pew Study, 1 in 4 women have experienced online stalking or sexual harassment. Labeled as “social justice warriors,” prominent journalists, media makers, and bloggers have been harassed and threatened for writing about economic inequality, education, and racism in popular culture. The culture of fear that is being created impacts not just professionals, but more perniciously, young women and men who are developing their habits and protocols for online life. From advanced professionals to adolescents, feminists and women are at risk.
Much of this violence has been perpetrated online, but threats like these can move into offline, “real” life. In October, Sarkeesian canceled a talk at Utah State University after receiving a massacre threat inspired by the 1989 Marc Lepine murder of fourteen women. Many people, including women of color and trans people, have experienced threats, harassment, and the distribution of their location and contact information by people hoping to silence their voices. These violations of privacy and personal safety can morph into physical violence.
Harassment and threats of physical violence drive women offline. Declining numbers of women in computer science professions and degree programs is just one example of a trend that threatens to undermine efforts to reduce barriers for connected learning and digital engagement. In addressing online harassment, this project will safeguard gains made by other organizations and ensure that future efforts to overcome legal, technological, economic, and physical barriers can be sustained. We seek to ensure that women who participate in our connected culture do not have to trade physical and psychological security for access to digital resources and communities. We will be addressing not only issues of gender, but also of race, sexuality, and ability. Consequently, our resources will help with some facets of harassment that LGBT community members face as well.
Our project will develop critical resources to establish and support resilient communities that can limit harm preemptively and respond to harassment effectually when necessary. If we are to stop the flight of women from connected work, education, and entertainment then we must put into place the means to combat out of control harassment. The central focus of this proposal is the development of educational and informational resources that will enable educators and advocates to ensure that connected learning and engagement can proceed even in the face of hostility and harassment. Connected learning breaks down if feminists and women of all ages feel unsafe in digital spaces; we can’t end online harassment, but we can ensure that everyone has the tools necessary to maximize the safety of learners and their data.
We will begin with a private summit in July 2015 to develop our production agenda, assign projects, and further develop collaborative ties amongst our networks. This in-person meeting will ensure even and rapid production of materials and events across the distributed network. We include a private retreat for feminists of color in order to develop resources that acknowledge the ways in which race and gender come together to shape responses that are needed for women to have more safety and autonomy online. Structures of power and privilege organize and inform digital engagement in ways that can obliterate trust; our in person meeting is designed to ensure that we have a cohesive, coherent, intersectional, and ethical approach to addressing anti-feminist violence.
While the content will be collaboratively determined in the summit and will be team designed and produced, we do know that we want content in the following areas/of the following kinds:
- Understanding how algorithms, social sharing, and information retrieval works
- Proactive personal data management as a necessary part of digital life
- Systems for documenting & responding to threats w/minimal impact on the person experiencing the threat
- Action and safety plans in the event of a threat
- Best practices for addressing various kinds of threat
- Key terms glossary for violence online
- Existing local and national resource links
- Four video dialogues (Each dialogue will feature two discussants and a moderator and will focus on a keyword. Possible keyword topics for the videos include anti-feminist violence, racist violence, harm reduction, transformative justice, community or collective defense, digital security/privacy, and trolling)
Our content structure is inspired by the nodal structure of FemTechNet, individual and institutional users can deploy our materials to address local needs with robust support structures throughout the year. This allows us to develop a coherent national network to address harassment, while also empowering local groups to tailor their use of our educational materials. In addition, the project team represents participants from diverse geographic locations and professions, thus allowing for broad dissemination of the resources.
We plan to ensure that our digital “product” is in fact a living, constantly developing, responsive resource that will be accessible well beyond the scope of our DML Trust Challenge grant. Additionally, we will host two public online teach-ins in the second half of the year and monthly “open online office hours” to be staffed with experienced scholars and support professionals.
FemTechNet has been a leader in online and distributed education with the highly successful Distributed Online Collaborative Course (DOCC). In addition to extensive presence within accredited institutions, the DOCC includes community courses and self-directed learners who access the resources, materials, tools, and communities online. With these experiences in virtual, blended, and face-to-face classrooms, FemTechNet is uniquely situated to be able to educate and serve online feminist learning communities. We have a well-developed content structure, including high-quality video dialogues, as well as a system for holding teach-ins and open online office hours. Our distributed model of online education also facilitates peer-to-peer connections, thereby strengthening and expanding the level of communal engagement possible with this project.
This is one of series of guest-posts by Beatriz Maldonado, who is working on a 3D printing + literature research project this summer.
LA Makerspace is a non-profit community space located in the Los Angeles Mart Building. According to their website, their mission “is to provide a place where youth can make and learn alongside adults and where members can work on their own projects while learning new, unique maker skills through our workshops, on-going interest-based programs, mentorship, and peer learning environment.” I became very excited the day my professor told me about LA Makerspace and the workshops that it hosts about 3D printing, computer programming, and other amazing technological opportunities. It all sounded so inspiring and revolutionary that I immediately looked up their website for more details.
As I was searching through the LA Makerspace’s website, I found the Calendar of Events, and my stomach instantly dropped when I saw the cost of a day pass workshop: $20. I thought, “well this is OK, because I would be learning about some high tech stuff…” But it didn’t take long for that first feeling of disappointment to return; I thought “but with fifteen dollars I could buy lunch for my family, or buy groceries, or fill up my mom’s car for once.” What’s more, the fact that my family has not gone to the Getty Museum because of their intimidating $15 dollar parking pass requirement meant that I couldn’t, in good conscience, attend any of the LA Makerspace workshops. There is just something about double digits that petrify my family and myself. However, I managed to find a free event on the same day my professor first mentioned the organization.
Planning to attend an LA Makerspace Workshop
Before I left Scripps to head to the workshop, I planned the public transportation routes I would take. The workshop was held on a Wednesday – the day when my mom takes my brother to his soccer practice, after picking him up from school and making dinner for the family first, of course. I did not want to complain about the time the event (from 6-8pm), because I was already grateful that the event was free. However, I knew that this time (in which all these other events were happening) would complicate things for my mom at the moment of picking me up. Worse still, before leaving I noticed that my phone was dying, which was problematic because my phone is the only way to contact my mom. When my mom goes out of the house and I am out of the house, and my phone is not working … well let’s just say chaos is the most likely outcome. With my phone not working and her busy schedule already set, I was a bit anxious about how I was going to reach her when the event was over.
Feeling out of Place
When I finally reached the location, I was more than surprised to find it in the LA Mart. Not that I had ever been inside the Mart, but it was interesting to find this building located a block away from the local community college, Los Angeles Trade Tech, and right across from the Blue Line subway. This is, in some ways, my neighborhood. Really, the location seemed relatively accessible. I was very happy for that fact…until I entered the main lobby.
Everything looked creative when I got there…I loved the space of handmade toys and devices, the various books on the table that linked to what Prof. Jacque and I had been working on (such as 3D Printing). I looked around for a couple of minutes…and then I felt distinctly out of place. I did not really have a particular motive or goal to accomplish; I was there to experience the space and its resources. Friendly faces and smiles welcomed me, but none motivated me to strike up a conversation. When I headed to the back of the office, I saw a mother and her son talking to one of the members of the makerspace. I tried to tune into their conversation for a bit, but I really could not follow what they were saying. I wanted to chime in and ask a question.
Suddenly, I began to feel a wave of many emotions. I felt as though I did not belong there. I felt alone and small. I felt jealous because I saw a mother and her child there interacting with one of the workers. Whenever people ask my parents what I am doing over the summer, their response remains as “my daughter is working at her university” because they do not fully understand what research means. As a result, I’m not accustomed to discussing my work – even though I am proud of the research my professor and I are working on. That mother and son were sharing their exploration of technology – my parents and I don’t have the same kinds of moments over my research.
I gathered my courage and started talking with someone about the 3D printers they had there. After a while, she let me know that the free workshop I was there to attend was outside. I headed down to the parking lot for the workshop, and I have to admit that my sense of not belonging did not get better from there.
Everyone was white. That seems a bit direct and perhaps inappropriate – but that was the first thought that came to my mind. I did not see a person of color, other than, well, myself. I did appreciate how polite everyone was. They encouraged me to make my own creative crafts there and to use a material called VELCRO because the craft could stick to the LA Makerspace Mobile Van they had. I was embarrassed because I did not know what Velcro even was. The only arts and crafts I had ever come across consisted of colored construction paper with squiggly scissors and glue. After cruising around the materials table twice, not even taking 10 minutes, I knew I wanted and needed to go home. Seeing that my phone was dead, I had to figure out my way back. It wasn’t hard, but my mom had been anxious not knowing where I was.
“It was fun,” I replied to my mom when she asked how it went. And I had not lied, I just felt…uncomfortable. I started thinking about how accessible LA Makerspace is on the one hand, but the access is invisible for those in the neighboring communities. The LA Mart is in one of the most diverse areas of Los Angeles. I remember going by the LA Mart building with my family, but never really knowing what was inside. I had never known about it until my professor mentioned it. Nor am I likely to be back inside anytime soon given the costs for workshops. It is in my neighborhood, but not part of it.
I know that many of my friends from the same neighborhood search for free events, like the one I attended. I understand that as a consumer/user/visitor, I have to be ready to make the journey to take advantage of free events – it’s great that LA Makerspace has some events that my friends and I can attend. At the same time, I am trying to figure out how the community and spaces like this can work together and to understand the importance of spaces like this one having free events available. I find myself asking: Why must we attend and learn about ‘making’? How could community members contribute to the space and its work?
My experience has taught me that accessibility is a complicated idea. There were limitations as much as there were chances to learn and interact with others. Free events must exist to create the space available for everyone no matter what. But this isn’t just about cost – it is necessary to recognize other factors in place such as date/time and transportation in order to make resources really accessible to a wide range of people. My time at the Makerspace gave me a new awareness of things I had never thought about before (such as making a craft and sticking it onto a moving vehicle). I may have left too early to discover how I could give back or involve myself more, yet I knew I would not have done the contribution humbly. I didn’t feel at home. The exposure to this type of environment seemed so invaluable, but I feel that some of that value wasn’t accessible to me.
Mellon Digital Research and Scholarly Communication Fellow
Claremont Center for Digital Humanities, Claremont University Consortium
With the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Claremont Center for Digital Humanities offers three Digital Research and Scholarly Communication Summer Fellowships to begin June 2013. Research Fellows will join our pilot project to develop a digital learning and research resource on the work of Edward S. Curtis.
We are particularly interested in individuals whose work focuses on the following areas central to the project: 20th century American history, race in the Americas, native American removal and/or contemporary culture, the history of photography and/or documentary technology. Successful candidates will be able to speak to the affordances and challenges of digital tools and technology for engaging with the above areas of interest. While we are not looking for a specific technical skill, we are looking to bring in scholars who are conversant with uses of digital technology in humanities research and the fields of Digital Humanities, broadly conceived. We will be authoring our digital resource in Scalar and will train, if necessary.
The project is based in Claremont, Ca at the Center for Digital Humanities, which is housed in the Honnold-Mudd Library. Fellowships will run from early June to August 31, 2013. Fellows will be asked to commit the equivalent of 20 hours/week of work for 11 weeks. The maximum stipend is $5,000.00. While we prioritize in-person collaboration, we also recognize that we are employing emerging scholars who may already have research and conference commitments. Schedules will be set in collaboration with the project lead. While the fellowship is for the summer only, there may be further collaborative opportunities for Fellows, including conference presentation and publication.
- Assist in the development and implementation of a digital learning and research resource on the work of Edward S. Curtis.
- Contribute area expertise to the pilot project – this may be in the form of technical, pedagogical design, scholarly communication, or content expertise.
- Collaborate with project faculty and staff to write content for the resource. All fellows will be listed as co-authors on the publication.
- Contribute to the write up of the project white papers, documentation, and final report.
To Apply: Please send a letter of interest detailing areas of expertise and a current C.V. to Jacque Wernimont at email@example.com by May 27th.
Claremont University Consortium, Claremont Center for Digital Humanities
The Claremont Center for Digital Humanities is a consortial effort of the seven institutions of the Claremont Colleges (Scripps, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Claremont Graduate University, and Keck Graduate Institute). Housed in the Honnold-Mudd library, CCDH goals are to transform teaching and research in Claremont through the use of digital technologies and methods and the creation of a community of digital scholarly practice. The center is currently in the planning phase and is developing robust relationships with local faculty, as well as with other southland Digital Humanities centers and initiatives. The pilot project for the center is designed to highlight the unique expertise of Claremont faculty and our outstanding special collections holdings. This project also demonstrates our commitment to engaging groups and topics currently under-represented in Digital Humanities scholarship.
Claremont University Consortium (CUC) is the central coordinating and support organization for a highly regarded cluster of seven independent colleges known as The Claremont Colleges located in Southern California. CUC is a nationally recognized educational model for academic support, student support and institutional support services to meet the needs of 6,300 students and 2,300 faculty and staff.