Summer 2015 DH Courses

Special Topics in American Studies: American Histories and Futures of Climate Change
Instructor: Sara Grossman
Summer 2015 Online Course 5/26-7/2

Description: Climate change touches all aspects of human life. It impacts small and large-scale scenarios, from the choices we make about transportation to the ebb and flow of global financial markets. As such, climate change is a global, large-scale phenomenon that manifests in local spaces and in everyday situations. This online course addresses the history American climates and American climate change in American environmental literature, policy, and media. Throughout our time together, we will learn to track the multi-scalar manifestations of “climate” and “climate change” historically and in today’s crisis landscape. Students with backgrounds in the humanities are encouraged to sign up, but a background in the humanities is in no way required. Given the very human and global stakes of the course topic, students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, including business, finance, psychology, and/or the quantitative sciences, are encouraged to sign up. We will work through four different units throughout the course. First, a brief history of environmentalism in America between 1890 and 1960; second, the history and aftermath of toxic dumping and industrial pollution from 1960-2010; third, experiments in real-time environmental scenario planning and information tracking from recent weather events; and, finally, future scenario-planning for our ever warming and watery earth.

Instead of writing papers, students will be responsible for two “born-digital” projects that utilize historic and contemporary environmental datasets to illuminate something vital about the history of environmental concerns and climate change in America. Students will also be responsible for marking up weekly readings through Genius, as well as contributing a 250 word reflective statement on the weekly readings and theme. The born digital projects that students create might range from tracking and analyzing the manifestation of climate events through twitter or instagram, working with contemporary world climate data, or tracking and analyzing the rise of the language of climate change through Google Ngrams.

Special Topics in American Studies: Race and the Digital 
Instructor: Asha Best
Summer 2015 Online Course 7/6-8/12

This writing intensive course is about how race is performed, articulated and surveilled through the digital. The readings and online discussions are divided into three broad sections. We start by gaining a more critical understanding of what race is, what race does and how contemporary racial meanings are (re)produced in the U.S. by grappling with some of the questions and concepts central to the field of Critical Race Theory. We then discuss the creation of the internet in the context of U.S. nationalism and alongside the changing discourse of race. Besides the internet we’ll also reconsider digital technology that we’ve come to think of as outdated (like mixtapes and boomboxes). We’ll answer questions like: how do racialized groups use the digital to construct or respond to their social worlds? Towards the end of the semester we close by discussing how race is distributed and produced in the age of “selfies” and social media.

2015-2016 Digital Studies Project Grant Recipients

Final_DSC_2After a successful showcase of our 2015-2016 DSC grant projects, the Digital Studies Center is pleased to announcement the grantees for the 2015-2016 Project Grant Cycle:

Project Title: R Code à la Mode: Learning about Kids, Class, and Food from Google Ngrams
Principal Co-Investigators: Brandi J. Venable and Neeta Goel, Doctoral Candidates, Department of Childhood Studies

Venable and Goels will investigate the historical correlation between children, food and class. With the R programming language, they will search and use the Google books corpus to examine the extent to which terms related to food and class are likely to co-occur. Using an interdisciplinary stance they will conduct a quantitative analysis of the Google corpus, and interpret the findings using a historical and cultural framework. Venable and Goels will also form an R Group. The R working group, tentatively titled RUN (R Users Network), will meet once per month, for a total of six meetings over the 2015-2016 academic year. RUN will be open to faculty, students, and staff at Rutgers University. Members of RUN will work through the foundational text titled Textual Analysis with R for Students of Literature by Matthew Jockers, and will be invited to bring their own research questions, codes, problems, and solutions to the group. Whenever possible, guest speakers trained in R will supplement the text. Key objectives of the group are: the promotion and the use of R; collaboration between faculty, students, and staff; and interdisciplinary research across the RU-C campus.

Project Title: Visions of Place: Complex Geographies in Contemporary Israeli Art
Principal Co-Investigator: Dr. Martin Rosenberg

“Visions of Place: Complex Geographies in Contemporary Israeli Art” is a major exhibition, unprecedented for this region, of 47 works by a diverse group of 36 contemporary Israeli artists, focused around the theme of geography, in its historical, religious, social, cultural, political and physical dimensions. The exhibition will take place in the fall of 2015, at the Stedman Gallery of the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts.

Grant funds will be used for the development of an introductory video, and a mobile-friendly website, that will greatly enhance the impact of our upcoming exhibition. The introductory video will serve a variety of purposes: It can provide a brief overview and overall context of the exhibition for viewers; it can be shown around campus and on other campuses to publicize the exhibition; it can be shown at remote sites, it can be on social media to help promote the exhibit, and it can be a resource on the website. The mobile-friendly website which can be consulted before, during and after visiting the exhibition, will allow viewers to engage the works at a deeper level and will greatly enhance the impact of the exhibition for individual viewers and for schools, universities and other institutions interested in the topic and in using the exhibition as a catalyst for education, engagement and dialogue.

“Axolotl”: Jillian Jaspan’s DH Capstone Presentation

axolotl-gameJoin us Tuesday, May 5 at 11:30am in the ModLab for Jillian Jaspan’s Digital Humanities Capstone Presentation. Jaspan will be the first student to graduate from Rutgers-Camden with a Digital Studies Certificate, and during this presentation she’ll share her DH Capstone project: a videogame adaptation of Julio Cortázar’s short story “Axolotl.” Attendees will learn about Jaspan’s creative process, the arguments the game makes, and the tool she used to create it, GameMaker.

Lunch will be served, and all are welcome.

Digital Dispatch Report-001

Final_DSCJoin us April 30 at 12:25 in the CoLab (Fine Arts 217) for our first Digital Dispatches report from Chinghsin Wu. Starbucks refreshments and snacks will be served.

In the interest of cultivating a broad, interdisciplinary community of digital studies scholars, the DSC offers financial support for faculty and students who would like to attend and/or present at conferences that take up digital technologies from various disciplinary angles. Those receiving support are asked to develop a short presentation, reporting back to the Rutgers-Camden community about what they learned at the conference.

Please join us for Digital Studies Fellow Chinghsin Wu’s Digital Dispatch report from The 103rd Annual Conference of the College Art Association regarding Digital Art History. The report will be followed by student curated digital works from her course, Chinese Art: Traditional and Digital Approaches.

Well Played: Alien Isolation

alien_isolation-1Join us Wednesday, April 22 at 12:15 in the ModLab (Fine Arts 215) for a Well Played session of Alien: Isolation, a game that Kotaku suggests “can only have been created for people who derive some perverse pleasure out of being killed by an alien.”

During this session, we’ll discuss the game’s sophisticated use of artificial intelligence technology and how the alien character disrupts expectations amongst players that non-player characters will act in predictable ways. In addition, we’ll discuss how the game participates in the horror genre by forcing the player to hide from the alien rather than to attempt to kill it.