Blog Post

about me, or: how i arrived at this lovely community

I saw someone else do this and I liked it, so I'm bolding for the tl;dr crowd!

Hi everyone! I'm an ABD doctoral candidate in University of Washington's Department of Geography, studying the social and political implications of digital humanitarianism. Digital humanitarianism is a new set of socio-technical practices, political-economic shifts, knowledge politics, and social relations that have emerged to allow people from around the world collaborate on humanitarian interventions. It's comprised of organizations and communities like the Digital Humanitarian Network, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, and the Standby Task Force; communities that have no formal relationship to humanitarian organizations but are activated to crowdsource the labor involved in producing, processing, and visualizing humanitarian data. Within this broad field I'm looking at the new ways needs are collected and represented in digital humanitarianism, and the private sector incursions into what have traditionally been public and non-profit sector (non-profit; formal institutional) activities.

Additionally, as a fellow in the Simpson Center for the Humanities's certificate program in public scholarship, my research seeks out practical contributions to digital humanitarian activities and I seek to communicate my research across multiple audiences and platforms. Accordingly, with funding from UN-OCHA I'm collaboratively developing a digital humanitarian impact evaluation framework to help formal humanitarian organizations understand the impact of incorporating digital humanitarian labor. I'm working on a digital portfolio to describe the process of developing this framework and the ways it connects with my identity as a public scholar.

I've joined the HASTAC community because there are many potential analytical and theoretical overlaps between digital humanitarianism and the digital humanities, critical code studies, critical gender/race/post-colonial scholarship, and public scholarship. I plan to compose a brief blog post soon that digs into these overlaps, so I'll cut this paragraph short for now; please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section! This coming academic year I'll be writing my dissertation from Monterey, CA, and so I hope to engage the HASTAC community for my intellectual stimulation needs! UC Santa Cruz is right around the Monterey Bay, so ping me if you're in the area and would like to nerd out at a public colloquium or something.

With all the academic stuff out of the way, let me also say that I'm passionate about music (mostly ambient/drone/noise, shoegaze, 80s/90s alternative, and new indie), running/hiking, coffee/tea, beer (Belgians, IPAs, sours), and 20th-century American fiction.

I blog at http://burnsr77.github.io - come say hi there and read some of my more lengthy (although probably only marginally more insightful!) thoughts on digital humanitarianism!

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