Blog Post

Mic Check (or, another belated introduction)

Hello, everyone!

My name is Amey Victoria Adkins (I go by "Amey Victoria") and I am currently a PhD student in Religion at Duke University. I'm located in the broad field of Christian Theological Studies and am also earning the Certificate in Feminist Studies. Specifically, I analyze material and visual culture related to the Virgin Mary as a means to examinethe way Christian purity narratives are utilized as technologies of conquest around questions of race, gender, sex and sexuality. My dissertation examines the way female bodies of color are theologically imagined as rapable flesh, and how such ideas of circulation and consumption are manifest in the moments of colonial encounter as well as in contemporary faith-based activist work around the global sex trade and sex trafficking. 

When I'm not thinking about these, I relate similar ideas around purity to the prison industrial complex (I've taught several theological courses for incarcerated students) and enjoy thinking about questions of black women's health. In another life, however, I owned and operated a small photography business and worked in journalism, editing, coding and graphic design. 

I'm still lurking in the corners of the HASTAC space, trying to sort out the ways my studies and interests in religion can take part in and learn from the conversation on digital humanities. I'm also wondering how to connect some of those technological skills I utilized in the past with my own research as well as the classroom. I'm currently teaching a writing course called "The Walking Dead,"  where we analyze texts on life and death, including the religious and social implications of the zombie as genre. I've been trying to expose and engage the students digitally in new ways (including their use of Tumblr to curate digital archives in relationship to the course) and have only been inspired to do more. 

I'm very much so looking forward to eavesdropping, learning and sharing my experiences with all of you this year!

Cheers,
ava

 

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2 comments

Wow! Your research sounds amazing.  Particularly how you are approaching it through material culture and visual culture.  I hope that we can collaborate and exchange ideas about projects for students in the class that break the routinized in-class assignments we all are getting tired of.  I would love to hear more about how you use Tumblr?

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Hi, Paul!

Nice to "meet" you -- it looks like we are both trying to wrap up exams and be ABD come spring!! 

The Tumblr idea came about because, in teaching a writing course, I really wanted to do something besides regular journaling. As it is a required course for all first year undergraduates, I also wanted the students to take more stake in their work, be introduced to the practice of theorizing and analyzing objects, and begin to view writing as a kind of craft.

There are several things I would change, but I essentially created a main course Tumblr where prompts and assignments were posted (I've seen some much better examples of this done by others, and would tweak a lot on this end). From that primary Tumblr I created an account for each student -- they were able to customize their layouts, follow each other, interact digitally, respond to assigned prompts and curate their own engagements with death. I loved Tumblr because of the Archive function -- it is a great visual display of what it means to curate, and to do so digitally. I also was able to do a lot of engagement around citational practice, sourcing, and image modifcations. The format also made it easy for students to post and comment on a variety of media -- many analyzed songs, movie clips, characters from books, referenced various links, created and uploaded their own photographic content, etc. The feedback I received form most students is that they really enjoyed having an account (many said it didn't feel so much like doing "work" per say), and that it was a low stakes way to building confidence in their writing in a low-stakes way. As the students are moving to writing their final papers, the curation project only lasted the first half of the semester -- but several of the students are still using their accounts on their own. 

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