Hi fellow scholars! I'm Sarah, a 3rd-year Ph.D student at Emory University's Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts. I'm incredibly excited to be a part of the HASTAC Scholars Class 2012--the conversations so far have been fabulous!
My research interests include museum studies, public history, African studies, and phenomenological anthropology. For my dissertation work, I examine how the history of apartheid is constructed, circulated, and interpreted across different historical contexts. At the moment, I plan to explore case studies of two South African sites with different historiographical, intellectual, and curatorial underpinnings, as well as a comparative study of how narratives of apartheid shift when they are displayed in a U.S. context. The intent of this research is to examine how seemingly academic debates over the making of history also have resonance in public life.
All this is to say that I take the public in public history seriously. Part of my research will involve an extensive ethnography of museum visitors. I intend to conduct most of this research in person, but I've been mulling over what digital ethnography might look like--particularly since the idea of circulation is so central to my work. Clearly, sites like TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet can provide some basic visitor feedback. What I'm wondering, though, is how I might go about a more sustained digital ethnography. I'd love any advice that my fellow scholars can provide!