Conference & Colloquium | 2024

Digital Humanities Summer Institute

Tuesday, June 4 – Thursday, June 13

4:00pm – 5:00pm PDT

All times are in Pacific Daylight Time


 

Week 1

Tuesday, June 4

 

Welcome

4:00pm–4:05pm

Kyle Dase (U Victoria)

 


 

Session 1

4:05pm–5:00pm

Chair: Kyle Dase

 


 

Marion Benkaiouche (U British Columbia) and Cary Campbell (Simon Fraser U)
“Semiocide in Cascadia: Multimodal Field Artefacts Using ESRI Collector” (Conference Paper)

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Abstract: All creatures (microbes, plants, animals) use and interpret signs to communicate, learn and adapt to the environments they inhabit. In this talk, we explore Estonian scholar Ivar Puura’s concept of semiocide: “a situation in which signs and stories that are significant for someone are destroyed because of someone else’s malevolence or carelessness”. In Cascadia, this has manifested itself in various ways: the potlatch ban, the logging of old-growth forests, ulcerative pathogens impacting farmed salmon, and the extinction of Coast Salish dialects, among others. We invited groups of undergraduate students to explore this concept, and to then add evidence of semiocide through ESRI Field Maps. This collective approach to both ethnography and spatial analysis aims to facilitate a new lens on environmental destruction and degradation. As Puura writes, “at the hands of humans, millions of stories with billions of relations and variations perish. The rich signscape of nature is replaced by something much poorer”. Field Maps enable us to embrace the multimodal possibilities of fieldwork and reflective practice: the app allows us to upload pictures, sound bytes and text notes, opening up dialogue through the map interface. Our presentation aims to explore and analyse the patterns of semiocide as they manifest within our shared home, the Cascadian bioregion. Ultimately, we undergo a new approach to self-reflection, a different way of understanding the research relationship: as settler-scholars in Canada with differing experiences of colonialism, this approach positions us as researcher-observers within our more-than-human entanglements.

 


 

Nitin Luthra (Duke U)
“Orange Supported Literary Analysis: What do Computational Tools Say about Dystopian Novels?” (Conference Paper)

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Abstract: In this project, I track racist and xenophobic sentiments as they appear in contemporary dystopian novels. Jean Raspail’s 1973 French novel The Camp of the Saints fantasizes about a migratory apocalypse where one million refugees from India invade Europe. The novel has impacted actual political sentiments on both sides of the Atlantic weaponizing the nostalgia for an idealized and homogeneous “West” against refugees and immigrants from the Global South. More recent popular dystopian works that appeared in the aftermath of the European refugee “crisis” fantasize similar end-of-the-West scenarios. French author Michel Houellebecq’s Submission (2015) imagines an imminent future in which France elects a Muslim leader and Europe is on the road to religious conversion to Islam, and Lionel Shriver’s The Mandibles: A Family (2016) delineates a situation where the United States buckles under global Chinese resurgence and domestic Latinx dominance.

My distant reading analyzes these novels (in English translation) utilizing the interactive data exploration tool, Orange. My working methodology involves juxtaposing close and distant readings of these novels. Specifically, I compare Raspail’s text, which is widely acknowledged as racist, with the themes present in The Mandibles and Submission to find tropes of racism and bigotry. Employing Natural Language Processing (NLP), I scrutinize the texts’ xenophobic elements through techniques such as sentiment analysis, topic modeling using latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA), Multi-dimensional Scaling (MDS), and mBERT. In my analysis, I discovered that even though these dystopian texts follow the tropes reminiscent of invasion novels in painstaking and racist detail, the replacement anxieties they demonstrate are intricately tied to the imagined decline of the entity known as “the West” and the values it is thought to represent. The fictional portrayal of political conquest by non-Western groups merely reflects the supposed weakness and decadence attributed to the construct of “the West.”

 


 

Grant Schreiber (U Guelph)
“Tracing Charitable Giving in Early Modern Church Accounts” (Lightning Talk)

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Abstract: Religious charitable giving in Early Modern Scotland included a complex array of incomes and expenses that church treasurers rigorously recorded to ensure that money was properly collected and distributed. These accounts include the names of all recipients of poor relief, the amount they received, and occasionally the reason they needed the money. Furthermore, they trace fines levied against individuals for moral violations including fornication, slander, and skipping church. Despite their detail into the lives of individuals and communities, these records have never been fully transcribed or digitized in an accessible format.

As part of my doctoral research, and using the skills I am developing at DHSI, I am creating a digital database of these accounts that would be accessible to other scholars in the areas of Early Modern charity, church discipline and church financing. This database will focus on the church accounts for Aberdeen but could be scaled to accommodate multiple parishes. This system will include complete accounts but also make them searchable across to allow students and scholars to see static accounts or trace individuals, families or groups of people across years. This lightning paper will discuss the data optimization process I am developing in order to address the unique informational challenges of Early Modern Scottish documents: non-standardized spelling of names, incomplete/missing records, and discrepancies in accounting values and methods. I aim to address these issue through methods including aligning/unifying alternate spellings similar to the system used by the online Dictionary of Scots Language and double-entry approaches to values.

 


 

Carsten Strathausen (U Missouri)
“Adapting Kafka” (Lightning Talk)

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Abstract: “Adapting Kafka” is a collaborative digital project by Carsten Strathausen (University of Missouri) and Verena Kick (Georgetown University) that centers on editions, translations, and adaptations of Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial (1925). Kafka was a German speaking Jew who lived in Prague most of his life, and Deleuze/Guattari famously claimed he wrote a “minor literature” that reflects his social marginalization. Kafka scholars by and large have been critical of this claim, but our project demonstrates that Kafka’s literature—minor or not—has produced thousands of different editions, translations, and adaptations all over the world, not just in Europe and North America. Our database offers detailed information about these works that include excerpts, commentaries, and critical analyses. We use Dublin Core terms to record bibliographical data, but we expanded the model to include new metadata based on hermeneutic questions like “What chapters of The Trial are included in this adaptation?” or “Is K. portrayed as guilty or not?” This extended metadata standard, which we call “Kafka Core,” reflects critical relations among Kafka adaptations that we will visualize and analyze on our website. The key premise of our project is that there is no “original” version of The Trial, which was edited and published posthumously by his friend Max Brod. What we find instead is a continuous series of ever new modifications, translations, and adaptations that offer fresh incentives for us to re-read and re-imagine Kafka’s work. By shifting focus from the chimeric essence of Kafka’s writing to its manifest transformations across time and space, we hope to demonstrate that adaptations are part of, and contribute to, our understanding of Kafka as much as his own writings ever did.

 


 

Thursday, June 6

Session 2

4:05pm–5:00pm

Chair: Caroline Winter

 


 

Angie Chau (U Victoria) and Ying Liu (U Victoria)
“Teaching to Impact: Embedding Wikipedia Editing in Asian Studies Curriculum” (Conference Presentation)

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Abstract: Many college students have been trained since high school or earlier to believe that Wikipedia is not a reliable source, but the everyday impact of Wikipedia on the research process is undeniable. As the website that consistently pops up at the top of online search results, the tool ends up being a user’s first stop with nearly any topic. However, as recent experiments with AI such as ChatGPT have demonstrated, since large language models (LLMs) are developed from training data based on existing internet records, their outputs inevitably reproduce existing biases (Baum and Villasenor 2023; Stokel-Walker 2023). In the context of this changing online environment, librarians and instructors are actively exploring an array of pedagogical models and tools to educate students about emerging information literacy content such as media literacy and algorithmic literacy. This presentation shares our experiences of collaborating as an instructor-librarian team to embed Wikipedia editing in an undergraduate core course at the University of Victoria, to share some of the challenges we face in the context of the Asian studies field and in our respective academic roles, as well as to show specific ways in which Wikipedia editing can be a productive and engaging project for students.

 


 

Cora Butcher-Spellman (Penn State U)
“Selling Financial Feminism: How Personal Finance Education is Commodified as Feminist Praxis” (Conference Presentation)

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Abstract: Financial feminism is a popular form of feminism that centers women’s personal finance as a weapon against gender-based oppression. Financial feminism predominately circulates online, especially through TikTok and Instagram, where feminist financial advisors commodify financial education. Informed by Koa Beck and Mikki Kendall’s works related to white feminism, this paper analyzes the social media posts and websites of popular financial feminist content creators, primarily Tori Dunlap (@herfirst100k) and Nicole Victoria (@nobudgetbabe). This paper shows how, in the attention economy of social media, feminist financial advisors profit from views and other engagement with their free content, while also profiting more directly from sponsored content, brand deals, paid advertising, and the sale of digital products and services including eBooks, eCourses, workbooks, guides, recorded lectures, group training sessions, and individual coaching sessions. This rhetorical analysis demonstrates that, under the logic of financial feminism, promoting personal finance, consuming information related to personal finance, and making individual personal finance decisions are all feminist acts. In the words of viral sensation, Tori Dunlap, “And [what is] the best way to fight the patriarchy? Get rich.” This paper argues financial feminism is limited in scope and significantly shaped by whiteness and neoliberalism and is ultimately defined by individualism, empowerment, wealth accumulation, and the commodification of financial education.

 


 

Heidi Nobles (U Virginia), Elise Heffernan (U Virginia), Briana Morrison (U Virginia)
“Coding to Learn || Coding to Communicate: An Experiment in Merging Writing Studies and Computer Science Pedagogies to Improve Coding in the Disciplines” (Conference Presentation)

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Abstract: Our team (comprised of researchers in environmental science, computer science education, and writing studies) recognizes a gap in the demand for coding as a skill in many disciplines without the pedagogical support to develop coding skills. To bridge that gap, we have drawn on evidence-based practice in both computer science education and the Writing Across the Curriculum model to design, assess, and adapt a coding pedagogy for practical use across disciplines. In particular, we began by piloting a series of workshops for environmental science graduate students. We first teach them coding skills; then we pivot to a train-the-trainer model in which we teach them how to teach similar skills to their own undergraduate students. We administer pre- and post-assessments to measure participants’ coding knowledge, coding pedagogy knowledge, and confidence levels both before, during, and after the workshop intervention. This work has allowed us to develop an empirically sound model to equip teaching faculty to incorporate coding as a learning tool in their classes and lab settings.

In this presentation, we share the foundational research that guided our initial pilot, the empirical data we gathered from our pilot workshops, and the model we now plan to refine for launch across our institution. We also speak to the rich opportunities we’ve gained: concrete challenges, applications, and resources as we’ve tackled the on-the-ground coding realities of our pilot group of environmental science grad students (e.g., platform/implementation errors, uneven incoming coding expertise) and differences in pedagogical approaches (e.g., learning to merge a models-first WAC pedagogy with the CS use-modify-create cycle). We will continue to test our resulting pedagogical model with additional pilot groups and respective coding languages/platforms through Fall 2025, gathering data to confirm our initial results.

Audience members can expect to walk away with an actionable example of how to teach coding in a disciplinary setting. Our code examples thus far are based in R, but we will provide attendees with a framework for developing curricular materials in other programming languages.

 


 

Erin Kurian (U Waterloo)
“The Use of Video in Knowledge Mobilization” (Lightning Talk)

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Abstract: Video is an important educational tool to maximize engagement, explain complex ideas, and publicize academic research. Despite its importance, video is often an afterthought to traditional methods of research dissemination such as publications and conference presentations. When video is utilized, it is often in the form of a recorded lecture. Academics can do better. This lightening talk will discuss the merits of borrowing from storytelling techniques made popular through YouTube to disseminate research.

As a case study, this talk will draw from recent work completed as part of the SSHRC Partnership Grant project, Environments of Change. The team is in the final stages of developing an educational video game to teach elementary school children about the relationship between medieval communities and their environments using augmented reality. To promote this important work, the team was interviewed on camera to discuss the game and its educational outcomes. Over 90-minutes of video footage was cut down to 3-minutes to best present this project to schoolboards, educators, and government leaders. The goal is to integrate this game into school curricula. Fast edits and stock video are rooted in empathetic and engaging storytelling. This talk will discuss the two most important components: finding a story in the footage and supporting it with engaging visuals.

 


 

Week 2

Tuesday, June 11

 

Welcome

4:00pm–4:05pm

Jade McDougall (U Saskatchewan) and Kyle Dase (U Victoria)

 


 

Session 3

4:05pm–5:00pm

Chair: TBA

 


 

Minato Sakamoto (Zhejiang Conservatory of Music)
“Preliminary Experiments to Generate Long-term Musical Structure in Western Classical Music Composition Automatically” (Conference Presentation)

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Abstract: The public release of the Stable Diffusion AI in August 2022 shocked artists with its capability of allowing anybody to generate artworks from a single-line text prompt. Will AI replace human creativity? Will human composers become obsolete? My computational music generation project seeks a provisional answer to these questions. Algorithmic music research conventionally focused on the generation of local musical materials such as melody, rhythm, and timbre. Music composers, however, agree that the most essential labor in the music composition process is to pull together local materials into a structured, coherent piece of music. Can there be a global algorithm that generates an entire music composition with a convincing structure?

To answer this question, I will briefly present my research that proposes the concept and implementation of “Form Sampling” where an algorithm can generate a “vomit draft” of an entire piece that embraces a global musical design. The discussion on the difficulty of the result evaluation will follow, focusing on disciplinary subjectivity that complicates the research design. The presentation will conclude with a discussion on the ethics surrounding collaborative data organization. Particularly, I will discuss the disciplinary friction I experienced in my research process where the discipline is rooted in the conventional humanity practice of qualitative analysis and sole authorship.

 


 

Aziza Bayoumi (U Toronto)
“Code, Conscious and Composition: Understanding AI ethics by through Human-AI Co-Created Works” (Conference Presentation)

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Abstract: There has been much attention given to writing done in collaboration with artificial intelligence (AI), and perhaps even more given to the concept of ‘AI ethics,’ but little work has been done to link the two. A significant amount of writing on AI ethics focusses on the broad concept of artificial intelligence rather than examining specific models and their applications. Even the latter kind of research tends to compare the functioning of the model to a broad idea of ‘humanness,’ or how well the model can perform a task compared to an ‘average person.’ This is problematic, human have different abilities, and in deciding one chatbot is ‘human enough’ and another is not, it reinforces a limited definition of what it means to be human. My research counters this trend by analysing pieces of writing co-created by large language models (LLMs) and human authors. These pieces are “Ghosts” by Vauhihi Vara and ChatGPT, “According to Alice” and “Hello World!” by Sheila Heti and a Chai AI chatbot, and “Not the Only One” by Stephanie Dinkins, using a LLM of her own development. I will read these works and their paratexts through concepts from the work of Gilbert Simondon, posthuman thought, and narrative ethics, as these modes of thinking decenter the human and complicate the human/nonhuman binary. Through this analysis, I will create a framework for writing on AI ethics that is grounded in specific models and their presentation. Through this work, I hope to better resource future writing on AI ethics in the humanities.

 


 

Sarah Gram (U Toronto)
“Human Enough? Metrics of Humanness in Generative AI” (Conference Presentation)

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Abstract: Many generative AI systems — particularly chatbots used for a wide variety of purposes — are designed to work as natural language systems. Inputs and outputs take the form of human-to-human conversation; these conversations can often fall apart when the AI participant does not express themselves in an adequately “human” way. This problem, in turn, requires tools that enable developers and designers to measure, evaluate, operationalize, and implement human-like qualities into AI systems. Decisions about what qualities constitute adequate “humanness” for AI conversational agents engage a spectrum of humanness on which the AI agent can be situated, shifted, tweaked and deployed. This spectrum of humanness is not neutral. Embedded within are assumptions about what kinds of characteristics — prosodic, semantic, and behavioural — ‘count’ as human enough.

What human traits are considered appropriate to and appropriable by generative AI systems? One way to investigate this process is by looking towards the scales and methodological tools that are routinely referenced in the literature on human-computer interaction. This talk will engage these metrics through the critical lens offered by the anti- and post-humanist theory of N. Katherine Hayles, Rosi Braidotti, and Sylvia Winter, surfacing what kinds of humanness make their way into AI systems and, more essentially, what kinds of humanness are left out. What figurations of the human are operationalized through the metrics we use to evaluate the human-like ness of generative AI? Perhaps more importantly, what kinds of human experiences are made invisible, or categorized as less than human-like, in order to make AI systems “human” enough?

 


 

Wednesday, June 12

Session 4

4:05pm–5:00pm

Chair: Luis Meneses

 


 

Arun Jacob (he/him) (U Toronto)
“BiblioTech Sbagliato: Perusing Paywalls, Publishers, & Platforms in Research Information Management Systems” (Conference Presentation)

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Abstract: In this paper, I will investigate universities’ investments in research management platforms to effectively manage campus research workflows, facilitate better research data management, and optimize research administration, research productivity and reporting workflows. These digital platforms claim to facilitate efficient research discovery, connecting researchers with similar research interests and/or research skills best suited for an interdisciplinary research grant to be successful. These research platforms are designed to assist in tracking and evaluating the impact and socio-economic value of publicly funded research initiatives. My research focuses on how the governmentality of research institutions is altered by adopting commercial platform services. How are the communicative capacities of research platforms shaped and formed by their cultural histories and material features? How do these values and technologies inform policy decisions surrounding research in the current context? To answer these questions, I will engage in 1. A historical investigation of research management platforms informed by materialist media theory and media archaeology 2. By adopting an intersectional feminist digital media studies approach, I investigate how commercial research platforms affect the politics of knowledge production. 3. Develop an understanding of the political economy of research management platforms as they relate to the instrumentation of the research university. My scholarly contribution will investigate how research platforms are being mobilized in the institution to facilitate collaboration and address research challenges through the rapid discovery and recommendation of researchers, experts, and resources.

 


 

Adam Griggs (Brigham Young U)
“Jumping in Mid-Stream: Sustaining Online Scholarly Projects for the Long-Term” (Lightning Talk)

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Abstract: Since 1999, the Sophie Digital Library has been making literature by German-speaking women available to researchers all over the world. These underrepresented texts and authors have been collected online and manually transcribed into modern machine-readable fonts for easier access. From the beginning, Sophie has been a collaboration between BYU’s German faculty, librarians in European Studies, metadata, and scholarly communications, and dozens of student employees. After many years of steady growth, there has been significant turnover within the project, which has put Sophie in a state of transition. Given staff changes and the shifting technological landscape, this is also an opportunity for developing long-term solutions for the decades ahead. In this presentation, I will discuss my role as the new European Studies Librarian and project manager for the Sophie Digital Library. I will talk about efforts to improve documentation and workflows with an emphasis on recentering our priorities to meet scholars’ needs and making the project more sustainable in the long-term. Consequently, the project has shifted from providing manually transcribed texts from their originally printed Fractur towards prioritizing machine-readable original document scans, which has been made possible by using Transkribus, a reliable AI-assisted text-recognition software. Finally, I will discuss project management challenges and the lessons learned from implementing these changes.

 


 

Katie Blizzard (U Virginia)
“Introducing eLaboratories: An Ecosystem for Learning, Discussing, and Experimenting with Editing and Recovery Practices” (Lightning Talk)

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Abstract: eLaboratories (or eLabs) at the University of Virginia is a reinvention of the Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents, turning the formerly annual, in-person week-long workshop on documentary editing into an online learning ecosystem developed with the needs of practitioners engaged in editing, recovery, and or related activities in mind.

In July 2023, eLaboratories launched its first series of courses, as created by our five faculty members. These 14 asynchronous courses explore the various fundamental activities of editing, with each course focused on a singular activity, like digitization, transcription, or publication tools. The courses are designed to be as practical as possible: common terms and concepts are defined through use of site-wide glossary popups; lessons and courses conclude with assessments or activities aimed at advancing or applying user knowledge; and courses are designed to be taken in any sequence or combination so that users may focus on the activities most beneficial to them and their project goals.

Now, we’re working to add more courses, live events, and other resources to our website. In an effort to expand the diversity of methodological perspectives represented in our content, we’ve recruited a 24-member advisory board, each member of which we collaborate on the identification and development of content intended to address content gaps or community needs.

In this presentation, I aim to briefly introduce eLaboratories by describing our mission to serve as a community space for learning and discussion, the courses we’ve already produced, and the content that’s forthcoming.

 


 

Thursday, June 13

Session 5

4:00pm–5:00pm

Chair: Jade McDougall

 


 

Vyshantha Simha (U Cologne)
“World Scripts Explorer: one stop to explore, learn and experience any graphical information system” (Conference Presentation)

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Abstract: The QWERTY style keyboard has become a synonymous standard for every writing system. However, the keyboard of a non-standard type for non-Latin scripts aren’t readily available. This certainly limits the capacity of the users to express their thoughts effortlessly in a non-Latin based writing systems. Such a tool could nurture experiences of writing in any script through self exploration of building ones own scribe instrument. That is where our pilot project World Script Explorer (https://worldscriptsexplorer.page) bridges this gap. The input instrument helps in mapping each individual’s mental model of any script to computational use and storage through the user interface. Users can navigate between categorised types of writing systems and via a map interface. They can filter based on historic timeline and search for any script. No user data or content is stored, ensuring the protection of privacy and accessibility of the website is partially accomplished. The website is multi-themed, multilingual, available on multiple device types with keyboards offered for over 200 scripts (many of them not yet included in Unicode) and additional 250 writing systems for languages can be explored. We have incorporated the ability to use calculators in multiple scripts including nonbase 10 mathematical systems. The following are one of the many potential use cases of this project:

1. Digitisation of scripts for various communities (Oduduwa, Beary, etc.)
2. Authoring revival of script multi-lingual book (Runic, etc.)
3. Dissemination of spoken only language (Sankethi)
4. Layout creation for non-standard hardware keyboards after evaluation using soft keyboard

 


 

Alan Colin-Arce (U Victoria), Caroline Winter (U Victoria), Maggie Sardino (King’s College London), Alyssa Arbuckle (U Victoria), Graham Jensen (U Victoria), Adar Charlton (U Victoria), and Ray Siemens (U Victoria)
“Surveying the Theoretical and Practical Foundations of Knowledge Diversity” (Lightning Talk)

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Abstract: Knowledge diversity is an epistemological perspective that recognizes the legitimacy and value of a wide range of ways of knowing. The “Knowledge Diversity Research Scan” developed at the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab attempts to synthesize ideas and initiatives that challenge the academy’s systemic privileging of dominant colonial perspectives. The highlighted resources address the exclusion and erasure of the lived experiences and expertise of Indigenous peoples, non-native English speakers, and community members, which similarly reinforces colonial and capitalist notions of knowledge.

This scan details the historical and present issues faced by people in their capacity as knowers. It also highlights ways of knowing that are often disregarded as illegitimate for lacking rigor or intellectual value according to Eurocentric epistemological frameworks that systemically devalue and dismiss Indigenous knowledges and community-based research.

The research scan offers an overview of five themes in knowledge diversity: epistemic injustice, bibliodiversity, Indigenous knowledges, community knowledge and co-inquiry, and the promotion of knowledge equity in research methodology, education, and GLAM institutions. Scholarship and initiatives in these themes provide a theoretical foundation and practical examples of various approaches to knowledge diversity that explore ways of organizing and producing knowledge within and beyond academia. These efforts to generate localized, culturally embedded, and/or co-produced knowledge recognize that there is not one universally valid way of knowing, but rather there are multiple forms of advancing understanding.

 


 

Graham Jensen (U Victoria), Caroline Winter (U Victoria), Alyssa Arbuckle (U Victoria), Ray Siemens (U Victoria), Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, U Victoria
“Understanding and Articulating Knowledge Mobilization in the Humanities” (Lightning Talk)

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Abstract: Thinking about knowledge mobilization in the humanities offers an opportunity to critique the institutional and cultural infrastructures that demand quantification of impact as a proxy for value. Additionally, doing so allows us to consider critically the nature of humanities research, the knowledge it generates, and its pathway through the world. However, measuring knowledge mobilization in the humanities is a difficult task not least because knowledge mobilization’s theories, definitions, and best practices have been largely developed in the sciences, but also because the pipeline from research to practice in the humanities is less clear than in the sciences. The complexity and heterogeneity of humanities research and knowledge makes drawing generalizations about its use and value challenging, but it also presents an opportunity to reflect upon the ways that research and the generation of new knowledge—the research endeavour—affects us all. In this presentation, we discuss the “Knowledge Mobilization in the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Scan” developed at the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, which offers a foundation to begin understanding knowledge mobilization in the humanities. The research scan consists of three parts: 1) definitions and foundations; 2) the praxis of knowledge mobilization; and 3) knowledge mobilization resources, tools, and guides. As a whole, the scan reveals the myriad ways in which humanities knowledge can be put into action, as well as how this knowledge has value within and beyond academia.

 


 

Erika Bailey (U Washington Tacoma)
“Reimagining and mapping the Tacoma Community History Project with Collection Builder” (Lightning Talk)

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Abstract: The Tacoma Community History Project is a collection of oral histories, created over the past 30 years by students, that explore the many different groups, neighborhoods, and important events that make up the city. This lightning talk will discuss the recent adoption of Collection Builder to exhibit the collection in a way that adds more context to the oral histories and better aligns with the library and school’s value of racial justice and asset-based community engagement. Historically the collection has been made accessible through a custom CONTENTdm exhibit, which looks dated with problematic organization. For example, historically marginalized communities are grouped by racial or ethnic identity while histories featuring white individuals are organized by another affiliation, such as “labor unions” or “civic leaders.” Additionally, the UW Libraries no longer supports these custom CONTENTdm pages, so newer oral histories in the collection are not discoverable in the exhibit, which cannot be easily edited.

This talk will outline the process of reimagining an organizational schema and exhibit structure based on neighborhoods and mapping, thereby adding new context and value to the collection. Additionally, it will explore how the adoption of Collection Builder was used to execute this new vision with minimal staff time and no additional funding. Librarians and managers of digital collections, as well as scholars interested in Collection Builder or digital exhibits, will benefit from hearing about the project’s progress thus far.

 


 

Trish Baer (U Victoria)
“Extending MyNDIR’s Multimodality” (Lightning Talk)

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Abstract: This presentation, and its images, will demonstrate multimodal avenues for dissemination generated by linking images of Dr. Trish Baer’s practice-based needle feltings to images in My Norse Digital Image Repository (MYNDIR). MyNDIR is a web-based academic resource for documenting the transmission and reception of Norse mythology through illustrations from manuscripts and early print sources. MyNDIR, whose intentional design enables scholarly and public engagement, was launched at the University of Victoria in 2013. Recent additions to the site include illustrations from Victorian/Edwardian retellings of Norse mythology.

Baer’s research-based needle felted renderings complement MyNDIR’s images; promote visual literacy; and support further dissemination. The vivid colours and subtle contours of the felted pieces bring black and white illustrations to life, e.g., 3D felted trees cast real shadows. Moreover, details—not easily visible in the illustrations—are readily apparent in the felted pieces. Verisimilitude in the feltings is enhanced with details confirmed by research, e.g., the colours of Viking shields and the bird-specific feathers of Freyja’s magic cloak. When exhibited in public venues, the needle feltings engage audiences beyond the internet’s boundaries and draw them to the world of the original material accessible online with their cell phones. The natural tendency for audiences—both scholarly and public—to compare paired-images, enhances the dissemination process.

The needle feltings are now available on MyNDIR’s “Dissemination” page and are also linked with the original images on the site. MyNDIR provides a freely available and sustainable resource for scholars and the public to engage with Norse mythology.

 


 

Cora Butcher-Spellman (Penn State U)
“#Cottagecore: Queer Digital Aesthetics and Playing with Imagined Rural Pasts” (Lightning Talk)

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Abstract: Cottagecore is a digital aesthetic that plays queerly with imagined rural pasts. Cottagecore is known for engaging with fiber arts, baking, domestic crafts, hyperfeminine dress, homesteading, and shabby chic home décor. Cottagecore’s amalgamated rural pasts romanticize periods including Westward Expansion on the American frontier as well as medieval and Victorian times and fashion, often without attending to the various abhorrent social injustices of these time periods. Cottagecore has been popularized by queer people and #tradwives (the digital subculture of “traditional wives”)— two groups with vastly different political orientations to the present and imagined rural pasts. Queer people and #tradwives play differently with time, express nostalgia for different things, and demonstrate escapist responses to different elements of modernity. I argue that cottagecore offers social media users opportunities for digital play, nostalgic escapism, and fantasy in relation to issues ranging from the suffering and angst of the pandemic and late-stage capitalism to concerns about the supposed loss of traditional femininity and family values.

 


 

Concluding Remarks

5:00pm–5:05pm

Jade McDougall (U Saskatchewan)