Week 5 (answer: I’m not sure)
I’m having a difficult time trying to answer these questions and figure out if I consider it useful to use Foucault’s discourse analysis to study the digital realm and, if so, how one might attempt that. My understanding, at this point, of Foucault’s method is that of looking at relations between elements, focusing on the discontinuities, to describe a specific statement or event in its larger discourse and its associated field. I have paid attention to the ways that his terms match up well with some PHP vocabulary, yet I still feel that perhaps the emerging technologies have changed statements too much to use Foucault’s methods to describe the discourse of a user’s display of a webpage, for example.
One part of the reading that I was able to relate more easily to the digital world was Foucault’s definition of an archive in the final chapter of Part III. I see similarities between a description of a website (or a digital humanities project) and his explanation of an archive as “a complex volume, in which heterogeneous regions are differentiated or deployed, in accordance with specific rules and practices that cannot be superposed” (128). Websites must follow programming rules to function properly and are commonly broken down into smaller pages, or heterogeneous regions. However, I have not quite figured out how one could use Foucault’s methodologies to describe a webpage as a statement, nor am I clear on what goal would be accomplished in doing so.
I read the article “Digital Humanities and Academic Change” by Alan Liu this week for one of my annotations, and I found it particularly relevant to the topic of the discourse of digital technology and literary analysis. In one section of the article, Liu lists and discusses research and teaching paradigms that have “mutated” due to digital humanities:
-writing -> authoring/collaborating
-reading -> social computing (documents and margins of documents)
-interpreting -> data-mining/modeling (tweak until it models our understanding of pattern or discovers unexpected anomalies that generate new meaning)
-critical judgment -> information credibility
-peer reviewing -> commenting
-teaching -> co-developing (instructor and student)
I found these changes useful in better understanding the implications behind the terms used in the digital humanities and the fundamental differences in methods of study with digital projects and texts.
This week, I plan on focusing on my project critique and figuring out how/if the project I’m reviewing uses PHP and MySQL. I’ve also returned to PHP in the last couple of days and started attempting to figure out how I would carry out one of the display features from the list (modify annotate.php to create a text within the form). I think it should be similar to newtext.php, which I understand as creating text boxes where a user can enter data that is then saved in MySQL.