Week 11: Keywords and Conclusions

We’ll discuss the revised keyword Twines, plus:

Posner, Miriam. “What’s Next: The Radical, Unrealized Potential of Digital Humanities.” Miriam Posner’s Blog 27 (2015). http://miriamposner.com/blog/whats-next-the-radical-unrealized-potential-of-digital-humanities/

Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong. “Race and/as Technology, or How to do Things to Race.” Race after the Internet. Ed. Lisa Nakamura and Peter A. Chow-White. Routledge, 2012. 38-60. In Readings folder.

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2 thoughts on “Week 11: Keywords and Conclusions

  1. I remember the first time I encountered Miriam Posner’s article “What’s Next: The Radical, Unrealized Potential of Digital Humanities.” I was overwhelmed with how many digital tools I interacted with on a daily basis that actively perpetuated the privileging of certain ontologies, epistemologies, hierarchies of power. If Google Maps impacts my spacial sense so that I am completely unable to navigate alternative forms of mapping – like the dhulan maps referenced by Posner – what other technologies are limiting our collective understanding of the world by silencing alternative perspectives?

    Observing the Topotime “temporal geometry browser” is challenging, counterintuitive and frustrating. I can’t wrap my head around how this could possibly work in “the real world” and then, as with every time I encounter these “impossible” or “impractical” perspectives, I think of Leslie Marmon Silko. Silko’s narratives, at least from what I experienced in reading “The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir,” exist outside of linear time, and drift in and out of “empirical” reality. Here’s a terrible confession: I hated it. It was confusing, illogical, repetitive. But then I read Posner’s essay and everything began to click. The reason I was resisting Silko’s narrative to such a degree was because it was challenging my ways of seeing and understanding, and forcing me to recognize the limitations embedded in my epistemology.

    This experience is also found in the interface presented by The Knotted Line. In describing the effects of this “resistance,” Posner pulls from Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” essay, remarking how such projects:

    reconsider the ease and plenitude we get from what [Mulvey] calls “the reinforcement of the ego,” and in doing so, she’s asking, whose ego? Who is our work for? If film — like data [or literature]— builds worlds by extracting and reassembling bits of what we know, then whose world are we building? How far have we thought that through?

    I reference both Silko and The Knotted Line often. They have helped me develop the patience for dealing with interfaces like Scalar or Twine. But they have also helped me understand how deeply our Western (phallogocentric) epistemological expectations promote or impede certain understandings of the world. Obviously the questions Posner poses concerning ease and ego-reinforcement should be included in all approaches to the creation and navigation of narratives – digital or otherwise – if we are to progress towards a more balanced, inclusive feminism. But then we are left with the question of how to challenge widely-accepted (oppressive) ontologies in our own work.

    I think Stephanie’s twine on Posthumanism did an amazing job of blending fictitious narrative and factual evidence in an INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING story structure that, sans the twine story map, would have felt impossible to fully engage with. The complexities of Posthumanism’s connotations and denotations are embedded in the very web of pages that comprise the Keyword entry. This feminist structure and inclusion of such personal elements as “memories” definitely push on how our understandings of language are constructed. I would even argue that it forces the reader outside of their expectations of interface and narrative, and refuses to reinforce the ego through ease of navigation.

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  2. Great meditation on the interrelation of form and content, Jasmine, and the challenges of trying to understand the deep impacts of the forms, structures, and interfaces we inhabit (and that inhabit us — see Wendy Hui Kyong Chun’s recent book on that topic) daily.

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