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cathy davidson day 8

Day 8: August 23, 2006Morning SessionThinking at the Interface Cathy Davidson[caitlin - These have been really long days? but the room is still packed and everyone looks surprisingly refreshed, engaged etc. It?s great to be here... I'll try to make links active and add some images if i have time ...]________________________________________Cathy Davidson leader in promoting interdisciplinary exchange- former vice-provost for interdisciplinary programmes, Duke- co-founder HASTAC [p.s. but see also: I just found this... why Cathy Davidson is a tremendous force of thinking good at all interfaces? my hero ;) -- ]intro comments:remix of a talk given around the country about hastac of the talk:* to help introduce and set up the afternoon panel on the future of the humanities (with Alan Lui, Judith Jackson Fosset, Marsha Kinder )* to introduce hastac* to weave in some professional advice, tips, mentoring? help for graduate students ?from a diabolical optimist? Advice: at least pretend you are optimistic in order to effect social change? without politicized optimism, why bother? Call to make opportunities.themes- working/surviving at the interface + thriving at the interface-?the humanities needs you more than you need the humanities?-size matters (think terabytes + broad theoretical horizons)1. thinking/surviving at the interface:- interface = the point at which two different things, or more than two different things come together -- disciplines/people/ideas/structures etclink to Saskia Sassen: taking the border and opening it up to understand its specificities and differentiations- interface is the CULTURE by which things come together? you can open them up and go inside and SEE how things work togetherexample: flickerverse ? GustavoG ? chart depicting one moment in flicker (data visualization strategies that help us to make meaning in new ways)- social networking and intellectual networking at the interfaceCathy showed a slide with these terms: natural sciences, humanities, arts, social sciences, technology? she put technology in the centre of the constellation of ideas? but acknowledged that this centre is constantly shifting (caitlin: cf thinkmap, dynamic databases, visualization structures that allow us to see and perform this shifting/recentering )Another mapping: the SECTiverse!? all our various interests and engagements as expressed on the first day are shown in a slide. Could explode this intellectually into a dynamic constellation ? ideas for collaborations, grants? not just an intellectual universe but a social universe with material consequencesThe ? for humanists -- Why even talk about (BIG)technology? An answer by way of examples - A science project: Sloan sky digital survey = single most ambitious attempt to map the sky? over 100 million objects? in terms of data it takes 40 terabytes of informationComparative example ? a humanities project Shoah visual history project.. **200** terabytes Huge + consider searching, translation (Caitlin ? works against the ideas some of us have about the humanities not needing to access grid etc.)Another example- constance penley?s project ? museum of television and radio 1400 programs have been digitized- This is fundamentally the collective project of documenting and writing social and political history? - total archive: 120,000 programs and advertisements= 85 years of television and radioCathy quotes ken franklin: ?that?s a lot of terabytes? back to cathy: ?if you don?t think there is a future in this, you?re asleep? enormous demands for what we do?more examples ? cites the work of her co-presenter and the projects of afternoon panelistsmediawork project of the shuttle ephemera project are our scientific and technical needs? ? the preservation and articulation of this is central -need to articulate the fundamental meaning to the humanities and what is at stake here? namely to understand what it means to be human ? this is the larger mission of the human and social sciencesalso once you consider terabyte demand, need for archiving etc.? all kinds of things need to come next and further urgent questions arise? SO WHAT IS THE MISSION OF THE HUMAN AND SOCIAL SCIENCES IN THE DIGITAL AGEin science ? a concept of Big sciencewe need to appropriate this and think about BIG HUMANITIES in order to face the challenges and opportunities of the info agerequires high tech, multi-site collaborative participationtransforms intellectual paradigms (in humanities and social sciences and beyond)? engineers, scientists and designers need our help as semioticians, epistemologists, philosophers, semanticists etc. (Caitlin ? sure?if algorithm as well as interface is theory, as we?ve been hearing repeatedly, who better than theorists?)this presents significant conceptual challengesmore case studies: INTERNATIONAL -- DUNHUANG PROJECTshe?s sick of people saying that this is entirely contemporary, nothing to do with history and this project makes clear how rich the historical engagement can be- 100 BC- 20 different languages- ?loot from the silk road was pilfered and dispersed in the 19th? most of the things remaining are now too fragile to move- what the digital has enabled historians to do: n project brings materials together that have been separated for years? puts them together in the virtual space? makes these fragments intelligible again and gives them contextmeaning gets made from the loot that is dispersed?. The bit? the tiny shard? that had just been fetished.. becomes meaningful againn also, note the circuit of flow from Africa, asia, europe? the culture flows are everywhere.. this complex cultural mix is important ? this project is a tech solution to a colonial problem + can ALSO transform the idea of the place of western culture ? soc and pol consequences?n another aspect of the project: they are coming up with ? proprietary software that can be sold BACK to volunteers (Caitlin ? ah, finally a theory people want to buy :)Jenkins collaboratory, Duke complex aggregations of datan you?re not really enabled to do incredibly complex searches/?They? don?t want you to do incredibly complex searches n ? the ?all patents project? deal with vast and complicated searches ? the whole pol + sos constellation of info about the patents? who what when why ? (caitlin ? and capacity to visualize the aggregated in a way that makes it meaningful)Policy function ? the research team will eventually argue that the patenting of the human genomeis inappropriate and has negative policy implicationsSpecifically ? profit motive means breast cancer research is not profitable enough to pursueCompelling argument form the datan consequence: congress likely to overturn the ability to hold patents on genes ? will become fair use-- cathy is so sick of humanists dismissing quantitative researchers as positivist? new technologies? led to new paradigms? the next theories may well come from the interesting reworking of the paradigms of research ? how information has been researched? examinations of the algorithms in the code? we need to understand what paradigms are embedded, seize the capacity to change themallowed researchers to remix the data in interesting ways ? better theoriesto dismiss this as positivist is shortsighted ? need to at least know how to communicate with people involved in quantitative work(Caitlin ? agreed.. but I?m not sure what?s even quantitative here given your argument? is this quantitative or highly theoretical work?? building info structures with data is at root about ideas .;.. the quantitative research just emerges (or not) from this foundation structure?)more projects: SAVE (url?)- HOW TO SAVE ALL THSE VR RENDERINGS OF historical sites- -- no one really knows how to save these- ?the digital dark ages? ? many first generation just gone(Caitlin ? a lot of this work wasn?t even well circulated, if at all ? caves needed to be recalibrated etc.)conclude ? the social sciences and humanities needs terabytes.. and petabytes etc?. (think big!)2. surviving at the interfacen davidson and Goldberg text - ?Why we need the humanites now; a manifesto?? ? suggest pocket-size version à la lunenfeld) n being widely circulated and studied, generativen tired of being told about the crisis in the humanities by admins? and then having these same people disinterested in hearing about science and technology?n contradictionsn how to take up the challenge of this time? Humanists the biggest impediment to the humanities at this timen Humanities are actually NOT in crisis.. rather, = fundamental leaders, potentially ?. Can bring informed and historically rich and deep opinion about what is at stake in the digitalWhya. Because of critical theory ? a high comfort level with ambiguity ? we have the theories and predisposition to allow for this? multiple, scattered, contingent and reverberating effects? people who can think with complexity are exactly what the engineers (+ world) need? what if key concepts in a model.. ?worth?, for ex., is changing? They need our help and work? if we approach with modesty ? great conversationb. because of our methodologiesskills, tools, theories, affective knowledge, historical knowledge, and comfort level with new technologies, and interdis openness is necessary and important now (ex ? humanists know all about the cycles of technofears? how the printing press was going to ruin knowledge? photography going to ruin painting, early film technologies etc. ? humanists know that the perception that new tech makes an old practice obsolete never works that simply ? that?s the kind of knowledge a humanist can bring)we?re also good at muddying dualism? when you make it a binary ? book vs ebook for ex.? you are imagining an impoverished future, forcing an ebook to do something that paper does quite brilliantly? so massive storage requirements are just the beginningex shoah project discussed earlier ? storage + -unintended uses-archival longevity-faith-i-ntolerance-security-privacy-IP-Cultural implications? (list is longer)Major issues of these projects are complex?. We can help in these conversations... we know BETTER how to think about these issues that scientists.. because this is what our training isBut no one can do this by themselves ? must think about networking? collaboration by difference? rhizotechnics (Sha)These are all methodologies we can do to try to grapple with these issues togetherDesigning multiple research protocols to address problems- complex analyses of conflicting/contingent results (vs the appeal to ?gold nuggets? nresearch result ? maybe it?s more like the tar sands)- extrapolation from results to theory, interpretation, representation, public advocacy and public issuesmore rhizotechnics: understanding the environments within which we moven trainingn expertisen reward systemn workplace culturen mutual respectn status of evidencen importance of interpretation vs presentation of datan epistemological humility ? be modest about what you know so you can learn what others know? learn to shut upn ambiguitycentre for the study of the public domain running into doc film makers who couldn?t make their films because they kept capturing copyright materialsex: eyes on the prize ? civil rights movement? can no linger be shown because of copyright issues (caitlin ? screening as an act of civil disobedience - )irony ? these same filmmakers would charge others huge amount of money to use footagen ? creative commons a comic book for filmmakers : bound by law? a new one proposed for music-- another article -- managing from the middle ? davidson with david theo Goldbergpremise: middle manager not the most despised but in fact the most powerful? a very practical position? ?do what you can?the middle manager?s networked body ? plays off the idea of the ing?s two bodies ? the ?i? + the ?we? ?we speak for the state:?argues: but in fact the king is detached and isolated even while invoking the ?we; -- power without knowledgemiddle? junior professors etc. ? live with frictions between the top and the bottom? but it?s really productive? relays, re/negotiations, maybe an ideal network position from which to change/understand info flows?middle managers of the world unite!? grad students: chucky as model (cf halberstams? talk)?every chucky head comes with 3 different bodies1. floppy 2 positionable 3. stunt?and if you can?t make a post-foucauldian management metaphor from these 3 subject positions?.. ;)?PART THREEDigital Humanities Success stories!Hastac -- $50,000 ? everything else accomplished by volunteerism (Caitlin ? but wait, this seems to be the old humanities model ;), industrious networking.. taking seriously in the most literal and mundane way the rhizomatic possibilities of networked communication to allow us to publish each other?s work? by being in a poster with standford, wayne state etc. gains different levels of credibility ? this results in material changes on the ground? new technologies have been made available to these smaller universitiesYou can borrow, transfer, transform (Stanford?s prestige as a force for good!)Macarthur Fondation on oct 9th will announce a new initiative on digital media and learning ? book series 6 volumes ? Authorizing? credentialingQuestions asked in the series - Do those born after 1982 learn differently? (caitlin ? differently from those of us theorized to have been ruined by the hyperspeed and granularity of Sesame Street in the 70?)If so, what are the consequences- to answer requires everyone?s participationAMER COUNCIL OF LEARNED SOCIETIES: program in digital humanities (started 2005)- largest number of submissions for nay new program, largest program last year, too? usually new programmes need to be cultivated? in this case 150 proposals for 5 grantsnational science foundationn dan atkins ,engineer compsci, dean of science at Michigan? fabulous? new head of cyberinfrastructuren -- expanding ? cybercommunities? grantdigital promise initiative opportunities investment trust?larry grossmann mixes with capital P Politicsin the past -- land sold + proceeds used to create land grant universitiessaying now that proceeds from bandwidth should be used to create huge endowments for educational repurposed by ind communicates-- wayne state ? collaborative successpartnership ? uni, Detroit public school, museums, librariespassing info among the universitiesinteroperable databasesbig topics like dress and design ? pooling resources, writing proposals together CITRIS Berkeley in cyberspaceCollaborative gallery builderMichiganLaw in slavery and freedom project+ Student projects - to create interoperable databases to be used in teaching and research ? globaln currently private site, hope to go publicmore examples at Stanford, duke, uchri, Grad conferences, Hastac Info year Interface ? hastac national conferenceApril 19-21st 2007 techntonicsThinking at the interfaceHope to end with -- ?The future is created in our imaginations before it is created in our labs? ? balsamoWhy do this? so we can work together to rethink, reimagine, make possible-- lunenfeld presentation - Q&A will be uplaoded this a.m.


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