5 Dec 2011: C&W vs. DH (Fight! Fight! Fight!)

Kalmbach, Jim. "Reading the Archives: Ten Years on Nonlinear (//Kairos//) History." Kairos 11.1

Computers and Writing Town Hall: Are You a Digital Humanist? (this is a video of a Town Hall session from C&W...it's about an hour long)

28 Nov. 2011: The Late Age of Print

If what we discussed last week on digital composition was concerned with how networked spaces and multimodal production affect the creation of texts, our discussion about "the late age of print" should be concerned with how digital texts are consumed. The consumption of e-texts raises several interesting questions about late capitalism, access to knowledge, the circulation and distribution of texts, and the cultural functions of literacy.

The future of the book, in particular, is important to the humanities because, as Gary Hall notes, "it is books published by respected international presses, rather than journals, that are the most valued and prestigious mode of publication, functioning as the main criteria for tenure and promotion" (12). As Hall and Kathleen Fitzpatrick make clear, however, the print codex is becoming a less viable option for many humanities scholars. On top of this crisis in academe, a more agressive copyright law is increasingly jeopardizing access to knowledge for everyone. The Senate's proposed PROTECT-IP Act, for example, would allow the government and IP holders (i.e. multinational companies) to block infringing websites, while the House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) -- a expanded version of PROTECT-IP -- would make copyright infringement a felony. Anything since 1900, of course, is freely available (see Project Gutenburg for free e-books).

I encourage you to start by just reading some of the brief, one-page news items from the Times, Inside HigherEd, Wired, and Prof Hacker first, then moving to the history of books/e-books (Finklestein and Striphas), then finally checking out some of the discussion on the future of publishing in academia (Hall and Fitzpatrick). The optional pieces include some media theory (Duguid) and implications for pedagogy (Tulley and Blair).

Some questions to consider:

  • What can the history of the book tell us about the present and future of the book (perhaps in terms of its production, dissemination, reception, or consumption)?
  • Striphas argues that the ebook presents a critique of consumer capitalism in that it produces an "intensification or, rather, the emergence of new practices of controlled consumption" (45). What does he mean by this? How might the emergence of the ebook affect knowledge production, negotiation, and consumption in the mainstream and in the academy?
  • How has print, as both a product and a process, limited access to knowledge? How have humanities scholars responded to these challenges?
  • Is Kathleen Fitzpatrick's book (or MediaCommons Press more generally) the best example of what's possible with the future of humanities publishing, or is it merely "a prosthetic extension of print" (Hall 58)?
  • Hall argues that "digital reproduction … has the effect of highlighting the irreducibly violent and aporetic nature of any [disciplinary] authority, making it much more visible" (78). Through the process of judging what gets included or excluded in the development of an open-access digital archive, Hall challenges cultural studies scholars to use new media as an occasion to rethink itself. Can this same logic be applied to the (perhaps similarly transdisciplined) digital humanities?

In the news

Ferguson, Kirby. Protect IP Act Breaks the Internet. Vimeo, 2011. 20 Nov. 2011.

Kolowich, Steve. “Fair Use and Felony.” Inside HigherEd. 10 Nov. 2011. 19 Nov. 2011.

Levy, Steven. "Jeff Bezos Owns the Web." Wired. 11 Nov. 2011. 21 Nov. 2011.

Templeton, Erin E. “Kindling the Classroom?ProfHacker. 2 Feb. 2010. 21 Nov. 2011.

Richtel, Matt, and Julie Bosman. “For Their Children, Many E-Book Fans Insist on Paper.” The New York Times. 20 Nov. 2011. 21 Nov. 2011.

Historicizing the book

Finklestein, David. “History of the Book, Authorship, Book Design, and Publishing.” Handbook of Research on Writing: History, Society, School, Individual, Text. Ed. Charles Bazerman. Routledge, 2007. 65-79. Print.

Striphas, Theodore G. “E-Books and the Digital Future.” The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. 19-46.

The future of scholarship

Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy. NYU Press, 2011. Print. [Note: although the above citation is for the print version of the just-published book, the link is actually to the in-process, peer-reviewed version. Read the intro only, but you might jump around.]

Hall, Gary. “Judgement and Responsibility in the Wikipedia Era.” Digitize This Book!: The Politics of New Media, or Why We Need Open Access Now. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. 55-79. Print.


Duguid, Paul. “Material Matters: Aspects of the Past and Futurology of the Book.” The Future of the Book. Ed. Geoffrey Nunberg. University of California Press, 1996. Print.

Tulley, Christine, and Kristine Blair. “Remediating the Book Review: Toward Collaboration and Multimodality across the English Curriculum.” Pedagogy. 9.3 (2009). : 441-469. Print. 19 Nov. 2011.

14 Nov. 2011: Digital Composition

This week's readings look a bit at the intersections between digital humanities and composition (Knievel, WIDE, and Reid) and some ways to integrate digital composition and digital/multimodal projects into the classroom (Shipka, Hisayasu/Sayers, Sayers).

Reading/Discussion Questions:

  • We’ve been talking about what counts as Digital Humanities—based on these readings, how does digital composition fit into those categories and in what ways does it not relate at all?
  • Are the digital assignments successful? What do they add to our traditional Composition assignments?
  • Can we think of other examples of digital composition that we find particularly successful? (outside of the readings)

Core Texts
Knievel, Michael. Computers and Composition 26 (2009): 92-106.

WIDE Research Center Collective. “Why Teach Digital Writing?” Kairos 10.1 (Fall 2005).

Reid, Alex. “Composition, Humanities, and the ‘Digital Age.’” Digital Digs. 11 May 2011.

Shipka, Jody. “This was (not!) an Easy Assignment: Negotiating an Activity-based Multimodal Framework for Composing.” Computers and Composition Online (Fall 2007).

Hisayasu, Curtis, and Jentery Sayers. “Geolocating Compositional Strategies at the Virtual University.” Kairos 12.2 (Spring 2008).

Sayers, Jentery. “Integrating Digital Audio Composition into Humanities Courses.” Profhacker: Tips about Teaching, Technology, and Productivity. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 25 May 2010.

TOTALLY OPTIONAL/Supplementary Texts:

Vee, Annette. Computers and Composition 27 (2010): 179-192.
  • This wasn't super related to the core readings (which is why it's optional), but copyright & patent laws, creative commons, intellectual property, etc. are really important to consider in discussions of DH and digital composition.

Reid, Alex. “Digital Composition for First-Year Writing: Suggestions Welcome.” Digital Digs. 22 Oct. 2010.
  • I think this one is really interesting for some practical applications for the classroom. Reid categorizes these 5 different projects in terms of what purpose they serve, how difficult they are to implement, and he even provides some adaptable activities that could be used to supplement the projects.

Davidson, Cathy N. “Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age.” The Chronicle Review. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 26 Aug. 2011.
  • This article is based largely on the work that Davidson has done for her recent book, Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn.

“The 100 Best Web 2.0 Classroom Tools Chosen by You.” Edudemic: Connecting Education & Technology. Edudemic. 2 Nov. 2011.
  • This is just a list of technological tools that are fairly interesting (I hadn't heard of some of them, but others are pretty basic). Keep in mind that whoever compiled this is way too excited about all of these, so take the recommendations (re: OMGBESTAPPEVER) with a grain of salt.

7 November 2011. Quantitative Approaches

Traditionally, quantitative research calls for certain methodological practices: strict definitions and parameters, collection of empirical data, measurement, description with neutral terminology, and the use of mathemetical models and statistics.

Corpus research comes closest to a truly quantifiable practice in the Digital Humanities. So, we'll start with a reading (kindly discovered by our fearless leader, Collin Brooke) from the new Journal of Writing Research. This article comes from an issue devoted entirely to corpus research; it provides a solid introduction to what corpus research is about.
"Applying corpus methods to written academic texts"

Here is another article from TESOL Quarterly that uses corpus research from a systemic-functional perspective:
"A Combined Corpus and Systemic-Functional Analysis of the Problem-Solution Pattern in a Student and Professional Corpus of Technical Writing"

Grammatical analysis, a necessary ingredient of corpus research, can be pursued without reference to a large corpus. What are the language rules (phonology, morphology, syntax) that our subjects or texts follow and break in their language-use? Kachru's Contexts, Cultures, and World Englishes, provides an example of purely grammatical analysis that seeks to contrast "standard" English with varieties of World English.

(Just read Chapter 6: Phrases and Sentences. For a bit of (faulty) contrastive rhetoric, feel free to skim Chapter 9: Interaction in Writing.)

Laboratory experiments from educational psychologists, cognitive scientists, and computational linguists also address issues that concern DHers. The first article addresses "anticipatory eye movements" as a tool for studying the relationship between environment, brain process, and language-use. The second article reports an experiment that used a computerized model to study how conventions develop in language-using populations.

Please, for the love of God, don't worry about digesting all these articles. Rather than addressing the specifics of the research (we can do that, too), I think we should address the potentials and problems of quantitative, empirical research in the digital humanities and, more specifically, in rhetoric and composition.

Consider the following quote from the first article posted above, a statement which perhaps can be applied to most quantitative research.

"In other words, corpus linguistics can assist the researcher to assess and describe a linguistic phenomenon in a maximally objective and hence largely theory-neutral fashion. As such, corpus linguistics is fundamentally incompatible only with linguistic frameworks in which theoretical assumptions and hypotheses guide the analysis, which are then tested against the researcher’s intuition."
It may not seem like it at first, but this is a serious claim; it's kind of an "up yours" to Chomskian linguistics, and it has serious implications for anyone studying spoken or written language (i.e., us). Some questions arise:

1. Does the quote imply that many of our theories in rhet/comp, which proudly display their ideological presuppositions, are not open to corpus research?
2. Is there an "ideology of the corpus" or an "ideology of neutrality'", and, if so, what is the substance of these ideologies?
3. What are the benefits/drawbacks of bringing corpus and grammatical data into our discussion of the social and political dimensions of language?
4. When writing and researching in our field, how deeply should we draw on research from computer science, neuroscience, and linguistics, considering that these fields are studying issues similar to ours?

Finally, here are some more articles, not to be read (unless, like me, you're a glutton for punishment who enjoys looking up scientific terminology) but rather to be considered in light of our own discussions in rhet/comp. By eschewing the sciences and their quantitative methods, are we missing out on info that might support or complicate our own claims?

"Ventral and Dorsal Pathways for Language." Multimodality, semantics, and language processing.
"Modulation of Visual Processing by Attention and Emotion." More multimodal implications.
"Visual Word Processing . . ." Effects of writing on the brain.

A specific example:
Suresh Canagarajah has argued that we should view multilingualism or multidialecticalism as a fluid process rather than as a hierarchical or linear process. In other words, the linguistic codes of multilinguals "mix" and re-enforce one another in their cognitive representations; it's not a matter of 2 or more languages existing "separately" in the brain but of a single, complex, hybrid linguistic code existing in the brain. His claims are essentially psycholinguistic, yet he doesn't draw on psycholinguistics, which has been addressing the cognitive processes of bilinguals for over a decade (c.f., Control mechanisms in bilingual production).

Readings for 10.31 on Digital Identity

Here are my discussion questions for class. I thought it might be useful to have them as a reference point either before or during class.

  • How do these texts understand and define identity? What are the relationships that emerge between identity and cyberspace?
  • What is the relationship between the posthuman perspective and identity? Where might we place posthuman scholarship in terms of sub-fields or disciplinary areas? What might digital identity research gain from posthuman perspectives?
  • What is the relationship (if any) between cyber-culture or digital identity scholarship with the Digital Humanities?
  • What does all of this mean for the wiki?*

*A Suggestion: As we take a week to read over scholarship in each of our chosen sub-fields that we are working on for the wiki, I thought it might be useful to end these sessions with a conversation about our individual wiki pages. We might consider our readings in relation to how we have organized our wiki spaces and use our new insights to brainstorm revision plans for the pages. We might imagine this time as a class peer review of the topic-areas wiki-pages. What do you guys think about this?

Quick note on the readings:
I realize that this is a pretty heavy load of readings. But, I just wanted to note that I don't think anyone needs to read the Haraway closely, but that's a piece we all might just skim while taking a look at the summary. Also, the readings aren't a nice package that represents research on digital identity, mainly because I haven't found that nice neat group of readings yet. So the Cyborg Manifesto is the one really early digital identity piece I included. The Boyd, Nussbaum, and Kennedy are more recent thinking that is going on in this area. And finally, when I originally imagined digital identity as an area of digital research, I thought that posthuman work should probably be included in that area. While I'm really not entirely convinced of that assumption anymore, I still think the posthuman research is really really interesting, so I included the first chapter of Hayle's How We Became Posthuman. Probably this last piece is selfish, but hopefully you will think it's cool, too (if so, I have a ton of Hayles I could share that looks equally awesome).

Haraway, Donna. "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century." Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991: 149-181. A good summary of A Cyborg Manifesto (might want to start there).

Boyd, Danah. "White Flight in Networked Publics?: How Race and Class Shaped American Teen Engagement with Myspace and Facebook."
In Digital Race Anthology (Eds. Lisa Nakamura and Peter Chow-White). Routledge. (Forthcoming)

Nussbaum, Emily. "Say Everything." New York, February 12, 2007.

Helen Kennedy. "Beyond Anonymity, or Future Directions for Internet Identity Research." New Media & Society. 8.6 (2006): 859-76.

N. Katherine Hayles. Read ch. 1: "." How We Became Post-Human: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. 1999. ch. 1 starts on PDF 13. I will email everyone the whole book because it's too big to put up here (or: I don't know how to put up such a big file)

Readings for 10/24 - Network Studies

Chris Anderson. The Long Tail. (This was the original article that Anderson eventually revised into a book.)

Clay Shirky. Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality. The FCC, Weblogs and Inequality.

Borgatti and Halgin, On Network Theory (PDF).

Duncan Watts, Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (excerpt). []

Alberto-Lazlo Barabasi, Linked: How Everything is Connected (excerpt). []

[Here's yet another reading, but you can consider it optional. Chris Gallagher's "Being There: (Re)Making the Assessment Scene" in the February 2011 issue of CCC makes use of network studies ideas, but it does so in a really poor way, in my opinion. It's sometimes useful to see how not to do something, and if that's of interest to you, you might take a look at this article.]

Readings for 10/17

This week, I'd like us to look at a couple of attempts to "hack" the way scholarly communication takes place, one that's complete, and another that's currently ongoing.

Take a look at Hacking the Academy ( http://hackingtheacademy.org/ ), and read the following entries:

Dan Cohen, The Social Contract of Scholarly Publishing
Melissa Terras, Hacking the Career
and the 3 entries under Criticisms

After that, browse as many of the rest as interest you. Don't worry, they're pretty short.

Then, I'd like you to take a look at Writing History in the Digital Age, a project using the tools developed by Media Commons. These are longer pieces, so I don't expect full reads of anything other than the Introduction.

Readings for 10/10

(Note: most of these are short blog posts. Please continue to the comments, where a lot of the conversational action takes place, and follow links out. Feel free to add a link or 2 here if you find particularly interesting contributions)

Bogost, Ian. "Exploitationware."

Deterding, Sebastian. "A Quick Buck by Copy and Paste." [review of Zichermann's book]

HASTAC. "Open Badges for Lifelong Learning." [white paper:
https://wiki.mozilla.org/images/b/b1/OpenBadges-Working-Paper_092011.pdf ]

McGonigal, Jane. Reality is Broken, chapter 8 [ reality is broken ch8.pdf ]

Reid, Alex:
-"rethinking learning assessment and the #dmlbadges competition"
-"Welcome to Badge World."
-"three learning assessment alternatives #dmlbadges"
-"ethos and the reputation economy"

Zichermann, Gabe. "The Purpose of Gamification."

Readings for 10/3

Ball, Cheryl E. “Show, not tell: The value of new media scholarship.” Computers and Composition. 21.4 (2004). : 403-425. 28 Sep. 2011. http://www.ceball.com/tenure/wp-content/uploads/2006/10/cc.pdf

Burgess, Helen J., and Jeanne Hamming. “New Media in the Academy: Labor and the Production of Knowledge in
Scholarly Multimedia.” Digital Humanities Quarterly. 5.3 (2011). : n. pag. 28 Sep. 2011. http://digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/5/3/000102/000102.html

Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. “Do ‘the Risky Thing’ in Digital Humanities.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 25 Sep. 2011. 28 Sep. 2011. http://chronicle.com/article/Do-the-Risky-Thing-in/129132/

McNely, Brian. “Sociotechnical Notemaking: Short-Form to Long-Form Writing Practices.” Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society. 2.1 (2011). : n. pag. 28 Sep. 2011. http://www.presenttensejournal.org/volume-2/sociotechnical-notemaking-short-form-to-long-form-writing-practices/

Nowviskie, Bethany. “Where Credit is Due.” Nowviskie.org. 31 May 2011. 28 Sep. 2011. http://nowviskie.org/2011/where-credit-is-due/