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Culture and Ethics [clear filter]
Thursday, May 12
 

10:30am

Complex Systems in Digital Humanities: Corpus Linguistics and Variation
As I have shown (Kretzschmar 2009, 2015), the basic elements of speech--i.e., language in use, what people actually say and write to and for each other-- correspond to what has been called a “complex system” in sciences ranging from physics to ecology to economics. I will introduce the principles of complexity science in a non-technical way, and then apply properties of complexity to corpus linguistics and language varieties. In corpus linguistics, complex systems tells us, through its property of nonlinear distributions, how to manage the traditional issue of balancing the need to find just the right documents (precision) vs. finding all the relevant documents (recall). Complexity theory also suggests how we can find the particular aspects of language that differentiate the writing of one author from another, say in a study of a corpus made from the works of one author in comparison with a corpus of writings by other people from the same period. Thus, we can apply the linguistics of speech to problems we need to address, and thereby do a better job of using digital means to understanding the language variation around us.

Reference

Kretzschmar, William A., Jr. 2009. The Linguistics of Speech. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kretzschmar, William A., Jr. 2015. Language and Complex Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Speakers

Thursday May 12, 2016 10:30am - 10:45am
COOR L1-18 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-18

10:45am

The Corpus of Revenge Tragedy (CoRT): Toward Interdisciplining Early Modern Genre Analysis
Digital Humanities (DH) enhances early modern English dramatic studies through its capacity to complement existing modes of literary analysis and disrupt practices of interpretation and knowledge construction. Additionally, within the work of genre analysis, DH can provocatively explore a genre’s discursivity and its position as a cultural phenomenon. In the continued study of early modern revenge tragedy—a genre that has received relatively little attention in comparison to others—DH invaluably demonstrates this genre’s increasing participation in discourses of medicine and anatomy by tracing the movement of anatomical language from the medical register to a dramatic one. This project reports on a corpus linguistics genre analysis of early modern revenge tragedy and widens the scope of inquiry about the roles of the body and anatomical language in revenge tragedy. I created the Corpus of Revenge Tragedy (CoRT) as an experimental corpus of 40 revenge tragedies to compare against Shakespeare’s corpus, the Early Modern English Medical Texts Corpus (EMEMT), the Corpus of English Dialogues (CED), and the EEBO-TCP database of more than 25,000 texts. To map increasing frequencies of anatomical and medical vernacular in this genre, AntConc was used to compare these corpora. To focus interpretation, I collated—through traditional concordance-making methods—an Anatomical Lexicon (AL) of representative material and metaphorical words from revenge tragedies. Using my AL to compare word frequencies in the experimental CoRT against the control corpora, I demonstrate and depict—through data visualization and geospatial mapping—the lexical comparability between revenge tragedies and contemporary medical texts. Such an examination of how revenge tragedies adopted and exploited the medical register is significant to understanding not only the cultural significance of the revenge tragedy genre but also early modern conceptions of embodiment and the pervasiveness of the contemporary medical arena in popular culture.

Speakers

Thursday May 12, 2016 10:45am - 11:00am
COOR L1-18 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-18

11:00am

Darwin's Semantic Voyage
Search in an environment with an uncertain distribution of resources involves a trade-off between local exploitation and distant exploration. This extends to the problem of information foraging, where a knowledge-seeker shifts between reading in depth and studying new domains. To study this, we examine the reading choices made by one of the most celebrated scientists of the modern era: Charles Darwin. Darwin built his theory of natural selection in part by synthesizing disparate parts of Victorian science. When we analyze his extensively self-documented reading, we find he does not follow a pattern of surprise-minimization. Rather, he shifts between phases in which he either remains with familiar topics or seeks cognitive surprise in novel fields. On the longest timescales, these shifts correlate with major intellectual epochs of his career, as detected by Bayesian epoch estimation. When we compare Darwin's reading path with publication order of the same texts, we find Darwin more adventurous than the culture as a whole. These results provide novel quantitative evidence for historical hypotheses previously debated only qualitatively.


Thursday May 12, 2016 11:00am - 11:15am
COOR L1-18 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-18

11:15am

Delving into Google DeepMind: Using Rhetorical Analysis as an Approach to Algorithmic Literacy
Ted Striphas is researching “algorithmic culture,” by which he means “the use of computers and complex mathematical routines to sort, classify, and create hierarchies for our many forms of human expression and association” (Striphas, 2011). He uses the term “algorithmic literacies” to describe a critical approach to, and recognition of, the activities and consequences of algorithmic activity. Cathy Davidson calls for a 4th “R” of literacy — beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic — to be algorithms. Because algorithms are “as basic to the way the 21st century digital age works as reading, writing, and arithmetic were to the late 18th century Industrial era” (Davidson, 2011), she maintains that literacy in algorithms should become a focus of school literacy efforts.

As the call for algorithmic literacy spreads, the question for digital scholars in the humanities and social sciences is clear: What does it mean to be literate in algorithms? Beyond a study of obvious effects of algorithms (like online ads that “follow” our browsing and purchasing habits) and less visible effects (like customized online search results based on network IP address and geolocation), can we develop a critical approach to the very language of algorithms, the code that enacts algorithmic activity? This paper proposes algorithmic literacy as a potential configuration of technological and humanistic domains by introducing a rhetorical approach to an artificial intelligence algorithm developed by Google DeepMind. The paper seeks to apply traditional and nontraditional rhetorical analysis strategies to the algorithm as textual representation toward developing methods for understanding the persuasive nature of algorithms as composed texts.

Davidson, C. (2011, October 31). What are the 4 R’s essential to 21st century learning? [Blog post]. HASTAC. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from https://www.hastac.org/blogs/
cathy-davidson/2011/10/31/what-are-4-rs-essential-21st-century-learning

Striphas, T. (2011, October 17). Algorithmic literacies [Blog post]. The late age of print: Beyond the book. Retrieved November 15, 2015, from http://www.thelateageofprint.org/2011/10/17/algorithmic-literacies

Speakers

Thursday May 12, 2016 11:15am - 11:30am
COOR L1-18 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-18
 
Friday, May 13
 

10:30am

Crowdsourced Geo-Data Meets Sexual Violence: Activism, Design, and the Ethical Life of Technologies
Bangladesh’s birth is grafted on the memory of widespread sexual violence; the 1971 Independence War witnessed the weaponized rape of 200,000 Bengali women. Once ‘liberated’, survivors lost ownership over their experience of trauma as the narrative became symbolically and materially re-constituted by the state. Scholars such Yasmin Saikia have pressed against this legacy, retrieving suppressed voices and speaking to their “rich,” “varied,” and “polyversal” nature.

The recent surge in gender-based and sexual violence, as indicated by the even depressed official figures, has drawn attention to the plight of Bengali women yet again. In November 2014, VICE News ran an expose on Bangladesh’s “rape epidemic,” one rooted in traditionalist values “intent on the subjugation of women.”

Similar accounts by media, human interest reports, and scholarship reveal an increased effort to circumvent the social and institutional conditions silencing rape survivors in Bangladesh, intervening by “giving voice” – whether through the circulation of curated narratives, turning the lens onto subaltern spaces, or the proliferation of ‘technologies of testimony.’

‘Technologies of testimony’ are created with the intent to capture, process, represent and intervene on sexual violence – Bijoya’ and ‘Protibadi are just two of a growing number of initiatives attempting to do so through the adoption of crowdmapping software that produces a “geospatial visualization of testimony.”

Existing literature, both by the designers of these projects and those critical of their externalities, has failed to provide an account of the complex, socially situated design processes from which these technologies arise – the way in which moments of ‘closure’ affix certain forms of knowledge politics to the material constitution and social practices of activist cybercartography.

This paper begins by refusing an account of digital technology as merely a prosthetic for human capacities. Unpacking the technological affordances of cybercartography and tracking the ways in which these analog to digital conversions inflect upon a projects like ‘Bijoya’, I argue that participatory crowdmapping of sexual violence in Bangladesh subordinates social justice to a fetish of data and technocratic rationality.

Speakers

Friday May 13, 2016 10:30am - 10:45am
COOR L1-18 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-18

10:45am

Mapping Homelessness
This paper presents preliminary results from a larger research program that asks two interrelated questions: How can digital mapping facilitate new analyses of homelessness? And, how can undertaking socially engaged research on homelessness facilitate new understandings digital mapping? This paper, as a part of that larger project, documents the interpretive process of data analysis in conjunction with the mechanical process of mapping to argue that socially engaged and theoretically informed methods are a vital, if often overlooked, component of scholarship on the geoweb.

Homeless counts are one of the most common measures for determining homeless populations in urban areas. They are conducted as point-in-time exercises, meaning that the data collected represents a snapshot of homelessness on a single day. So, while such counts are statistically limited in what they are able to tell us, they are nonetheless the best instruments currently in use to gather basic data. This project uses the point-in-time dataset of Homeward Trust, a comprehensive community housing organization in Edmonton, Canada, who have undertaken 10 such counts to date.

I argue that to develop maps from this dataset is to develop discursive actors that produce spaces as much as they describe them. To build a map is to build discourse, to build knowledge. The series of maps that I will present in this paper represent just such discursive objects – objects to be read, challenged, and analysed – not simply believed. By highlighting the fact that the scholarship I am producing is, itself, a potential object of study, this paper both tells (some of) the stories of homelessness in Edmonton, and highlights how attentive we must be to the truth claims that our digital productions make, often in spite of our best efforts.

Speakers

Friday May 13, 2016 10:45am - 11:00am
COOR L1-18 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-18

11:00am

What America Ate
The 1930s are a fascinating moment to study food. At a time of economic upheaval, mass internal migrations, and the rapid industrialization of agriculture and the food supply, examining how ordinary people bought, cooked, ate, and thought about food can reveal aspects of American life that scholars still know little about. The project is digitizing and preserving an array of materials related to food in the Great Depression, starting with the original America Eats papers that until now have been scattered around the country. The America Eats project was a Depression-era jobs creation program within the Works Progress Administration, which sent about 200 writers and photographers across the country to chronicle American eating by region. Writers collected amazing stories: interviewing cooks and eaters, transcribing recipes, collecting songs and jokes and poems, and describing all manner of food customs. With few exceptions, the materials have remained in obscurity ever since, unknown to most scholars and unavailable to the general public. The project is also making two other important kinds of culinary sources accessible. The first is rare: 200 local community and charity cookbooks produced around the country from 1930 to 1940, held in the MSU Library’s Special Collections and the UM Library’s Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive. These rare books, produced by small organizations like churches, clubs, and schools, will provide unique insight into the kinds of eating that went on in America during the Depression. Second, the digital archive will include 700+ rare advertisements and food packaging materials produced by food companies in the 1930s from MSU’s Sliker Culinary Ephemera Collection, which highlight how technological and commercial forces were shaping American eating in this era. The paper will show how the project is developing new ways for users to interact with, enhance, and add to the collection of recipes. The project is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). What American Ate is a unique crowdsourcing digital project that also highlights the changing technologies of food in America.


Friday May 13, 2016 11:00am - 11:15am
COOR L1-18 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-18

11:15am

Taquerías Conversos: Digital Visualization of Latino Immigrant Impact on Arizona Cityscapes
This presentation uses dynamic digital visualization to provoke unexpected humanist insight into the vibrant impact of immigrants on Arizona cityscapes. Specifically, it tracks a peculiar form of the architectural uncanny that haunts everyday urbanism in metro Phoenix: taquerías. 20 years of intensive immigration brought drive-thru Mexican taquerias, serving cheap, fast, flavorful food. Many inhabit structures abandoned by iconic American fast-food chains (DQ, BK, KFC…), colonizing dead spaces made moribund by sprawl’s centrifugal pull. Taquerias revived stagnant neighborhood economies, catering to an immigrant-inflected palate, and added Latin cultural flair to the city’s subdued design palette. Despite Mexicanized makeovers, even the casual flâneur subliminally registers the iconic architecture haunting the taquerias; ad campaigns trained Americans to recognize instantly their distinctive corporate branding. The project uses 6-second Vine micro-movie loops to reenact this “conversion” from hallmark fast food chain to taqueria, performatively disclosing the homely architectural form “buried alive” beneath exuberant magical-realist redesign. In an era that would sooner squelch especially Mexican immigrant visibility at every turn, metro Phoenix holds immigrants in abundance. But city residents are reluctant to acknowledge—and cultivate—creative ways that migrants already make their imprint. This project invites appreciation for how taquerias conversos recast conventional modes of envisioning the city. The taquerias’ vibrant magical-realist decor conjures prosthetic links to the city’s (Mexican) past and inscribes border-crossing transnationalization into local city spaces. Some relish these changes, others, not so much; for many Phoenicians the bewildering repetition-compulsion of the taquerias conversos evokes an unsettling psychical-spatial estrangement as the city around them hauntingly becomes unfamiliar. For the taquerias' insurgent urbanism swerves beyond city boosters’ defensive vision of sundrenched uniformity toward embracing a complex transnationalized urban future. The video loops take a fresh look at everyday urbanism by making strange the taquerias’ mundane but ubiquitous urban form and artfully aims to lightheartedly provoke in viewers a deeper, humanist comprehension of culinary/cultural challenges posed by the city’s diasporic remaking by Latino immigrants. Sample: https://vine.co/v/MbOztBTWu5j

Speakers

Friday May 13, 2016 11:15am - 11:30am
COOR L1-18 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-18