Hello, DH World!
(My computer science students tell me that "hello-world" is the first programming language they learn, and I'll start with it in an effort to emphasize both my enthusiasm and my n00b-ness of the digital world.)
I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who didn't know that Digital Humanities was a "thing" until a job talk at our school. I also did not realize that "digital humanities" was the proper name for several small projects I was already involved in! Even three years I had never used Power Point and was at the cusp of either becoming a digital dinosaur or embracing technology. I (obviously) chose the latter and dove in pedagogically: paperless classroom, student blogs and Twitter accounts, backchannel class discussions...I'm looking forward to discussing pedagogical goals, interests, and limits, especially as I'm trying to translate classroom technology into a new community college teaching job, one where accessibility has become an issue, stumbling block, and (I think) possibility.
About me: I'm a 4th year PhD Candidate in Literature at Northeastern University in Boston. Although my interests in the digital humanities began with pedagogy, I'm also interested in the "humanities" side of it, specifically how I might align DH tools and possibilities within my dissertation, which is about 19th century American and Caribbean foodways and the intersections of food with novels and narratives written by slaves.
I have a few projects in which I am interested in collaborating and further developing:
The first looks at how digital media might be used to map food culture within the U.S. Recent media and academic attention has been paid to what we eat, where it comes from, what it looks like, and where it's sourced. Legislation has been introduced that deals with both the ethics of transparency (California's Prop 37, a Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative) and the role of government and consumer responsibility (New York's infamous ban on soda). While food blogs, websites, online communities, and diets extol a nostalgic "return" to local/organic ways of eating, obesity continues to rise while access to fresh foods is geographically limited in under-served areas. I'm interested in exploring not only the economic and political ramifications but also the cultural ones: what does it mean to eat in America? Who's the "we" in "We are what we eat"? How might digital media be used to map and display food deserts, food sheds, and both big and small farms? How might we combine academic, literary, historical, and trade scholarship to both synthesize and digitize food culture but also re-examine it?
I'd also love to more closely align digital resources with archival work in foodways: I'm involved in a new project at Northeastern to digitize Caribbean archives, and I'd like to start digitizing scenes of cooking/eating and kitchens in 19th century novels and narratives.
Lastly, I'm concerned with digital media, pedagogy, and accessibility. When we ask students to conduct online or multimodal projects, can we assume they have access to the tools they need? I recently redesigned a digital-heavy course in order to teach a group of diverse and adult learners, some of whom need to be taught basic Internet skills, and many of whom do not have access to reliable computers outside the campus. As we include new media into our syllabuses, and even as we take the time to instruct students on basic computer know-how, are we inadvertently excluding certain socioeconomic backgrounds? How might we—as a community of teachers and academics—both recognize and contend with class differences and accessibility when using digital media in the classroom?
I look forward to developing these ideas and collaborating with you all, especially if you share an interest in food, literature, and/or digital pedagogy!