The goal of our team project is to create a timeline-based database that holds analyses of the past 10 Dartmouth keynote commencement speeches. In creating this database and forming these analyses, we hope to uncover insights into what the social justice implications are of keynote speeches, and how these implications are related to the personal motivations of the speakers and the sociopolitcal climate in the year in which they were given. We also hope to uncover trends and patterns, such as the most common words in commencement speeches and the common distribution of these words throughout a speech.
We will accomplish these goals by each putting 2 of the past 10 speeches into differnet tools in Voyant. What the tools tell us will then help inform our close-reading analysis of the speech and its social justice implications, and our close reading will also help us interpret what is revealed through the text mining tools.
My role to date has been generating the initial vision for the project and proposing an initial plan and distribution of tasks. I gave a graduation speech in high school that people still approach me to talk about in my community to day, so I have experience and a belief in the ability of these speeches to leave a lasting impression. I also have strong writing and analytical skills, and believe that I have a desire to hear everyone's voice and make sure everyone in my group is happy, though this desire can at times present a challenge to productivity. Ultimately, however, I hope this desire will allow our group to design a project that calls upon everyone's skills in a satisfactory manner.
The main technical components of our project are the Voyant tools and the use of Northwestern University's timeline tool to present our findings. These tools may be complicit in social injustices in the sense that I am not sure they are available in other languages. Timelines in general may be limiting in the sense that they reduce social injustices to events on a chart, and in that sense make each event appear equal although they may not be in terms of their social justice implications. Nonetheless, I believe these tools will serve our purposes because Voyant allows us to take a more 'macro' look at the speeches than we would normally get from a close reading, and the timeline will be a user-friendly way of presenting our findings.