Archives and Student Engagement

I really enjoyed this week’s readings of keywords. In particular, I found the reading of Lauren Coats and Gabrielle Dean’s keyword “archive” to be extremely insightful.

I’m very interested in creating a digital archive of fashion images to be used as a teaching tool, but it had not occurred to me until this reading to create an exercise where it is the students themselves who are involved with it’s archive’s creation. As the authors clearly assert in this writing, archives are not neutral. What is included and what is excluded can speak volumes about not just about the archive, but what it is ultimately trying to get across to its viewers. I think giving students the opportunity to engage in this type of activity will lead them to the very important realization that we must be just as critical with images as we are about what we read. Where did this come from, who made it, what is it telling us?

Great bit of reading to end the semester!

More Info on Copyright

For anyone who is interested, I’ve attached links to a few articles about Richard Prince’s appropriation of photos taken by others and the debate this has raised and ownership (especially in the digital sphere). One is actually from today, so this is an ongoing debate. There’s also a link to an article about Zara’s stealing from indie artists.

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Thoughts on “The Digital Humanities Is Not About Building, It’s About Sharing”

“I see the presence of many divides-which are better labeled as perspectives- as a sign that there are many stakeholders in the digital humanities, which is a good thing. We’re all in this together even when we’re not.” –Mark Sample

I just wanted to make a brief mention of how much I enjoyed reading Mark Sample’s article “The Digital Humanities is not about Building, It’s About Sharing”. It happened that this was actually one of the first things I read after learning the election and I was surprised at how much it resonated with the way I was feeling in that moment. If you eliminate the words “digital humanities” from the above passage, it presents a fairly optimistic message for considering where we now find ourselves as a country.

In feeling that our nation’s divisions are carrying us into ever more frightening terrain, I think it’s worth considering how we might be able to hear one another out, especially perhaps, when we our opinions appear to be on opposite sides of a great divide. Thinking of these differences as “perspectives” feel like a step closer to being able to have a dialogue with someone, even when you fundamentally disagree with many things they are saying.

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Thoughts on the Introduction to The Wealth of Networks

In the introduction to Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks, he discusses how the Internet has created unprecedented ways for individuals and grassroots organizations to reach a wide network of others. Previously, this was a privilege afforded only to companies with both the latest in communication technologiesl and large amounts of capital, but now it can be accomplished by anyone with a smartphone.

In the 10 years which have passed since the writing of this book, Benkler’s assertions remain true, yet I can’t help but feel that we have moved into the next phase of mass communications, where companies are fully cognizant of the power of the individual and are actively seeking new ways to exploit this. It seems that we will need to come to terms with the fact that extreme awareness about where we are getting our information from is a requirement, lest we unwittingly serve the interests of entities with a lot to gain by public complicity.

This subject is especially pertinent right now in light of stories exposing the consequences that the glut of false “news” stories being circulated far and wide among users on Facebook. People are convinced they’re educating themselves on the facts, but in reality they are being fed news from completely fabricated sources. Just as bad, when people are content that they have all information they need from merely reading a headline.

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Provocation on “What Games Have to Teach Us About Teaching and Learning: Game Design as a Model for Course and Curricular Development”

In this article , Kimon Keramidas offers a thorough definition by Jesper Juul of what a constitutes a game, as well as further expanding on the 6 characteristics which create this definition: rules, variable/quantifiable outcome, value assigned to possible outcome, player effort, negotiable consequences. Instead of giving attention to how games may be integrated into the learning environment, this article chose as its focal point what educators might extract from game design to create more successful and dynamic learning experiences for their students.

While I find it an absolutely worthwhile endeavor to analyze how education may benefit from game design (and the new technologies they encompass), much of this article echoed many of the same ideas I’ve have heard in conversations about the necessity of student-centered pedagogies. This feeling was further reinforced in the conclusion where Keramidas uses a quote expressed by influential educator and philosopher John Dewey in 1938.

“A primary responsibility of educators is that they not only be aware of the general principle of the shaping of actual experience by environing conditions, but also that they recognize in the concrete what surroundings are conducive to having experiences that lead to growth. Above all, they should utilize the surroundings, physical and social, that exist so as to extract from all that they have to contribute to building up experiences that are worth while.” – John Dewey

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The Amorphous Identity of Digital Humanities

When I first started at the Graduate Center, one of my classmates mentioned that she was pursuing a double concentration through the MALS program in both Fashion Studies and Digital Humanities. Not being familiar with Digital Humanities at the time, I asked her what exactly that term meant. It seemed to be a bit of a surprise to her that she was unable to find a concise, clear answer to this, ultimately leaving it at “it kind of touches on everything.” This encounter was one of the primary reasons that I had wanted to tackle this Steven E. Jones piece from The Emergence of the Digital Humanities.

I don’t have a lengthy post, as I feel the author, even in the context of this being the book’s introduction, plainly laid out his goals for showing the how’s, why’s, and struggles within academia that has produced digital humanities as the popular and growing field that we now know it to be. I do however want to give further consideration to this subject of identity.

On its own, humanities is already a sprawling classification that would also fit into my classmate’s definition of “it kind of touches everything”, so when in combination with the technology-based aspect, it’s legitimate to question what it does it and what it doesn’t constitute the digital humanities. In one of his responses to this, Jones uses very appropriate imagery of a flower with many overlapping petals to elucidate the complexity of assigning firm boundaries when dealing in such a rich, and perhaps subjective area.

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The True Cost

Hi class,

In light of last night’s discussion on production, I though I’d post a link to a documentary about what is currently going on within the garment industry, in case anyone is interested. This film does a pretty terrific job of showing how the environment and people’s lives are being affected by various irresponsible fashion practices, as well as the reasons why they are happening.