Blog Post

Hello, HASTAC!

Hello, HASTAC! I'm Paige Gibson, a Ph.D. student in the Media and Communication program at Temple University. Although I've tinkered with technology since childhood and took part in a four-year work-study with Clemson Computing & Information Technology, I became particularly interested in technology's relationship with culture and society during my Master's program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

At UIC, my interests began with issues of privacy: privacy on social network sites and privacy across cultures as exemplified by the case of Google Street View. From there, my interests turned to other issues of community, including social memory, identity, and stigma. In my Master's thesis I examined a controversial YouTube triptych, "Dancing Auschwitz," and its surrounding discourse to understand the affordances of YouTube for online remembrance and identity construction among contemporary Germans and Jews. 

Picking up this thread, I am now working on my dissertation proposal, a multisited ethnography aiming to understand the role of traditional place technologies and emerging digital and mobile technologies in the memory cultures of Berlin, Munich, and Dresden. I hope to address how technologies--old and new--engender remembrance, mediate time and space, and construct collective identities through time. 

In preparation for my fieldwork, I hope to use my time at Temple's Digital Scholarship Center (DSC) and the resources HASTAC provides to digitally map significant memory sites for each city and use this data to develop an augmented reality (AR) app. In addition to marking sanctified and designated sites already visibly marked in the physical landscape, digital mapping will enable me to mark sites that have since been rectified (reintegrated and returned to use) or obliterated (scoured of all evidence) in the physical landscape (see Kenneth Foote's Shadowed Ground). Thus the digital map will allow me to investigate the evolving spatial relationships of various memory events across time.  

I had originally intended for the AR component to be used as a conversational prompt for interviewees to share their site-specific memories in the field. While not eliminating the possibility, I'm now interested in using the AR app as a research tool to enhance my own field experience. In any case, I hope to learn more about the available AR platforms that will enable me to layer historic photographs and narratives over physical landscapes.

I'm thrilled to be participating in the DSC and HASTAC communities this year and am most grateful for this unique opportunity! I look forward to sharing ideas and to making new connections with similarly interested digital humanities faculty, graduate students, librarians, and international scholars. 


1 comment

So much to think about in here, Paige, in this important project of yours. I wonder how an AR app's effect on memory is different from, say, having people read a book or look at old photographs before visiting the sites. At the same time, I believe you'll have a good base of existing work to build on, exploring some of these issues in relation to those older media, and that gives you a big headstart. Exciting! 


p.s. can you link your post to the Temple Digital Scholars Group? Edit it, scroll down to the bottom, and you'll see the option.