The goal of our project is to analyze Dartmouth commencement speeches from the past ten years for advocacies of social justice. We are going to put each speech into Voyant, a text analysis tool, in order to find common words and word distribution throughout speeches. From what we find from Voyant, we are going to analyze the message of social justice the speaker is trying to accomplish, look at what major events of the year influenced their speech, and the personal motivations involved in their speech. Our conclusions will be posted on a WordPress website displayed in an artful and engaging manner. The body on the sites homepage will feature a timeline with the past 10 years of speeches marked on it. When you click on each year you will see a video or image of the speech and then be able to click from there to the individual analysis of that speech. The header of the website will host links to analyze of all of the speeches as a whole and other speeches against one another. We will analyze speeches that may be very similar or very different in order to find trends in the commencement speeches.
At this point in time, every group member has been assigned two speeches and has then run each speech separately through Voyant. Our next step is for each of us to take our two speeches and what we have learned through the text mapping tools on Voyant to further our analysis. We would like to pick out certain words, like perhaps the word job in each speech, and see how often they use that word despite it not being one of the most common words. In each of the speeches I read, by Wendy Kopp and Geoffrey Canada, they spent their livelihoods in order to help teach underprivileged American children. It would be interesting to analyze how greatly they mention social justice in their speeches and how much of a call to action do they initiate. After analyzing each speech individual we are going to see what we can learn by putting all of the speeches together. What I can bring to this project is my analysis and eye for design. I can use my analysis skills to gain an understanding of the speeches and think about how the speeches relate to each other and to the topic of social justice. I also can help the website look aesthetically pleasing to the user.
The main tool that is giving us all of our information is Voyant. We will also be using Wordpress to create our website and a free timeline creator to put on the homepage. In class we read some articles mentioning how some digital humanities tools do not work the way that they are supposed to, although I do not this is true for Voyant, but is something that would good to look at. The voyant tool has the ability to pick out words that align with social justice.