Fazeela

journal number one

I decided to participate in this course because, similar to the sentiments articulated in Liu’s speech, I fear the humanities might soon be considered totally irrelevant in the face of fast-paced and dynamic technology that seems to capture much of the public interest (and funding!) That would be a travesty, since the humanities provide a venue for discussions of ethics and, well, humanist concerns that provide the base for how to understand the development and use of new technology. I agree with Liu when he says that humanities must be able to communicate with new media in order to not be left behind. So I am interested in this course because digital humanities seems to be the bridge between stodgy old books and scary new what-cha-ma-call-its.

That said, I also think there are a lot of problems with mainstream humanities conceptually when it comes to issues of race, class, gender, and other such divisions of power. Much of the academic study of the humanities is based on a dominant conception of what/who is important enough to study and how this work should be interpreted, though this tendency has been challenged in many ways since the 80s. I assume that this also poses problems for the digital humanities, from theoretical considerations of representation of texts all the way to how and which digital humanities resources can be accessed in classrooms. What Amelie mentioned in her journal about historical memory is similar to what I’m trying to get at here, a way of remembering the past – or in the case of digital humanities resources, we might say documenting the past – that has the potential to challenge official versions of history – or again, in our case, to challenge official readings of humanities resources. I think one way in which this potential is realized is Stephen’s idea that his website “tracks changes without an original,” where every user’s contribution or critique is transparent. Or, in terms of the concerns I raised about classroom accessibility, I find it really exciting that much of the reading that we have done so far talks about digital humanities resources being open source, free, and public. This will help to make the humanities much more open to different publics, less exclusive and academic and accessible to more radical readings and critiques of the same texts that have circulated in the academy for years.

So with these conceptual concerns in mind, the skills I would like to take from this class include an increased knowledge of how to create “dynamic websites” as our textbook promises, as well as more experience working in a team where everyone has different but equally important and useful roles and one that works democratically.

In that case, the role I would like to take on in our team will be one of facilitating the group dynamic, and thinking through some of the conceptual (design?) considerations that the work might raise. I would also like to practice the technical skills that we will learn throughout the process of working on ECGtext.

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