Play Session: Captain Curiosity vs the Filter Bubble or How to Find a Haystack When There’s a Needle in It

One challenge to guiding students through the research process is the focus on finding an answer – any answer – as quickly and efficiently as possible. Good ideas and new insights get tossed aside and trampled in the process. Rich sources and complex ideas don’t stand a chance against their leaner, narrower competitors. In this session, participants are invited to find tools, sites, or physical objects with the purpose of inspiring curiosity and exploration. You may think up brain-teasers to thwart simple google searches, play with novel ways of turning searches inside-out and backwards, or think up ways to ask questions or create games that outsmart our usual habit of beating a path to the most obvious solution.

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proposal: talk session about crowdsourcing cultural heritage projects

I would like to propose a session about using Scripto to organize crowdsourcing projects with cultural heritage resources. Specifically, I’d like to talk about how to use transcription tools (are there others?) to get students, alumni, and community members working with our extensive archival collections of documents dating from the Civil War through to the present and to create online communities of transcribers, editors, and researchers. So far I haven’t even managed to get Scripto installed as a plug-in to Omeka (or any other platform), so I am seeking both technical assistance and an opportunity to brainstorm about pedagogical and community-building opportunities!


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DH [and, or, with, against…???] Online Teaching

What are the relationships between DH and Online Teaching? In this talk session, I imagine a discussion of the (possible) overlaps, contradictions, infusions, and rejections between these two “online” activities. Is the DH scholar also a DH online teacher? In what ways could DH inform online teaching (or online pedagogy inform DH)? In what ways are these two activities antithetical?

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Session Proposal: What Does a Successful Humanities WordPress Site Look Like?

In the interest of continuing our discussion from today’s BootCamp about WordPress, I would like to propose a session on how to best apply WordPress for active students, scholars, and job-seekers in the humanities. Since the needs and interests of those who work in the humanities are very different from those who work in STEM, business, and other fields, what are some of the key elements to a successful site in humanities disciplines? How do we manage self-promotion, possible new connections (interdisciplinary and within disciplines), and creative digital ways to present our work?

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Session Proposal: History of Resistance at UWM- Digital Resources

Recently I’ve been part of a project to building a timeline and set of resources on resistance, direct action and organizing across the history of UW-Milwaukee. This is based on examination of archives at the UWM Library, as well as interviews with past participants. The timeline describes civil rights mobilization, anti-war efforts, labor organizing, the establishment and progress of the Black Student Union, alter-globalization movement on campus, Latin American solidarity campaigns, the Palermo Boycott movement, Gay Liberation Organization, police accountability efforts and many other efforts across UWM’s sixty year history. These resources have currently informed several off-campus discussions as well as a walking tour that explored some of the contentious sites of resistance.

For this session, I’m proposing a discussion on ways to use digital resources to make these resources more accessible, building tools to make forgotten moments of resistance be visible to more people, in ways that can inform current activism, organization and teaching. I am interested in broadening and expanding the process of research and presentation, to be able to spread awareness of extraordinary moments in the campus history. Such resources can also be a tool to explore the underlying structures that have created success and failure for various attempts to shift power within the university.

For format, this would  involve a 10 minute presentation on some of the content that has been currently gathered, followed by extended open discussion on ways to expand the virtual presence for such materials.

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Promotion, Tenure, Peer Review, and the Digital Turn

This could be either a “talking” or “making” session depending on what we want out of it, but I thought THATCamp might be a good place to have an extended conversation about processes of promotion, tenure, and peer review in the digital age. As a current PhD student who thinks of traditional modes of scholarly production (books, articles, etc.) as somewhat limiting conceptually and, in certain respects, intellectually and is eager to cultivate a cv/resume that features a range of digital projects and collaborative experiences that, in all likelihood, deviate from what my department—history—thinks of as “creditable” scholarship, I feel like now is the perfect time to strategize ways to push our respective departments in more open-minded directions when it comes to evaluating and appreciating the methods and results of the digital work we are producing.

This issue is perhaps best described by Alex Galarza, Jason Heppler and Douglas Seefeldt in their call to redefine historical scholarship at the 2012 AHA:

“Digital tools are transforming the practice of history, yet junior scholars and graduate students are facing obstacles and risks to their professional advancement in using methods unrecognized as rigorous scholarly work. Their peers and evaluators are often unable or unwilling to address the scholarship on its merits…The disconnect between traditional evaluation and training and new digital methods means young scholars take on greater risks when dividing their limited time and attention on new methods that ultimately may not ever face scholarly evaluation on par with traditional scholarly production.”

Not to be assigning homework for a fun, informal event like THATCamp, but The Journal of the Digital Humanities recently did a good job of explaining what is at stake regarding the assessment and review of digital scholarship, while also providing some solutions and potential guidelines for academic departments and scholars to follow.

Therefore, I propose we talk about promotion, tenure, and peer review as it relates to the various digital projects we and others are pouring our time and mental energies into. If we are feeling up for the challenge, we could even draft a white paper to present to our respective departments that illustrates the merits of digital scholarship and how it might be properly assessed in line with existing disciplinary standards. Sure nothing may come of it, but at least we’ll have made our voices heard.

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Session Proposal: Making DH Community by Making a Community Syllabus

At Marquette, as at many schools, students, faculty, and staff are eager to learn about and get involved in Digital Humanities. And yet questions abound: What is DH, exactly? Is it an area of study? A set of interrelated theories and practices? A movement within—and beyond—the academy? Also, is “Digital Humanities” limited to the Humanities? Can artists and social scientists take part? What about alt- and nonacademics? And how is it “digital,” exactly? What moves it beyond “humanities computing”? Can only “makers” participate? Or does DH have multiple access points and possibilities for contributing?

Clearly, these questions need more than a single conference session to address. They demand at least a semester if not a year (or years!) of study, and they call for crowdsourcing. To that end we propose a collaborative THATCamp MKE session in which participants work together to build a shared syllabus designed to help open dialogue, build knowledge, and expand engagement with DH on participants’ home campuses and in their communities.

The goals: 1) to identify and prioritize topics for approximately 8 months’ worth of inquiry (i.e., an academic year); 2) to build a list of related must-read (or -watch or -listen to) resources; and 3) to compile a list of guests and/or activities, identified both in general (e.g., type of expert, purpose of activity) and specifically (e.g., by name).

The plan: We imagine a session with three parts and one break.

  • Part 1 (5-10 minutes): Everyone individually brainstorms items for 1, 2, and 3.

  • Part 2 (15-20 minutes): In small groups, session participants share, merge, and grow their lists.

  • During the break, groups post their lists via whatever materials are available (e.g., whiteboard, flipcharts, post-Its, Google doc and data projector).

  • Part 3 (time remaining): Working together, the full group further rearranges and refines all three lists.

The possibilities: If this session flies, we hope everyone who contributes comes away with not only usable resources but also a sense of shared community that continues to grow online in sync with and in support of more local efforts.

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Session proposal

I want to propose a Talk session in which THATCampers discuss the issues related to the “best way” to present photographs and video online. The photos and video were gathered in visits to Libya and Syria over the last two years (during their revolutions). What have people used to accomplish this in the past?” What are the most engaging ways this kind of material (photographs and video) can be presented?

Some additional info on my project:
The photographs are of people (portraits), people in demonstrations, fighters, damaged buildings, and of graffiti. The video runs the gamut of topics but much of it is interviews of Libyans and Syrians about their experiences during their revolutions. The graffiti is focused on the “revolutionary” graffiti I found in both places. In Libya much of it was (and all the interviews were) in English. In Syria, most of the graffiti and the interviews are in Arabic. I would like to be able to see, for example, how this material could be used as a project for the Digital Humanities Lab at UWM.

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