Download the agenda (PDF) for THATCamp PNW 2011.

Or visit the Google Doc.

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Hello, world!

Hello, world!


I like the relative anonymity of the current blog format — seeing ideas for sessions without knowing who proposed them (unless I look in the WordPress dashboard). And I know that identity is a sensitive and challenging issue, in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and in terms of academic pursuits for those who are affiliated with institutions/companies where digital humanities work is seen as less scholarly.

I’m also curious, and would like to know more about people’s interests — even before we meet on Saturday. When I asked about an introductions post, Jentery mentioned that almost 30% of the registrants requested that their info remain private. I don’t want to tread on anyone’s boundaries, and so I thought I’d make this post and invite people to comment and introduce themselves and their interests according to their own preferences.

I do have an idea for a session on practical issues regarding identity and technology in the classroom, i.e. integrating materials on anonymity/pseudonymity, public/private identities, and social justice into classes of any/all disciplines. But my idea is still so fuzzy that I haven’t posted it yet, and it comes down to being curious about how other people include social justice/identity issues units in their pedagogy. (At the same time, I’m wrestling with questions about how we handle identity among ourselves (and how we can handle it better) in the communities of ed/tech and academia, and at gatherings like THATCamp.)

Assuming that I manage to come up with a slightly more expansive proposal, I’ll say more about that in its own post.

Anyway: hi! Please feel free to comment below to introduce yourself as you see fit, or not.

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Map of Bothell

Are you looking for a ride to THATCamp PNW? Are you able to give others a ride?

Then leave a comment below with your request or offer, as well as your contact info (e.g., Twitter handle, email address, or office phone).



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Technologies & Social Justice

Many scholars, activists, and programmers in the PNW and beyond are invested in the social and political implications of new technologies. Meanwhile, THATCamp participants such as Angel David NievesMarta S. Rivera Monclova, Amanda PhillipsAlexis Lothian, Tanner Higgin, and many others have proactively organized THATCamp sessions related to—for example—diversity in the digital humanities, an open digital humanities, and digital humanities and social justice.

THATCamp PNW 2011 follows in the steps of this work, becoming an opportunity for all involved to collaboratively approach new tech and networked media through the perspectives of social justice. Those who are curious about such an approach, or are experienced with it, are especially invited to register.

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Thank You

Microsoft Research

We would especially like to thank Microsoft Research for their generous support of THATCamp PNW 2011. Without their support, the event would not be happening.

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Digital Skills & Pre-Release Prison Education

We live in a society where many simple and complex tasks are initiated in or take place in a networked environment. It has been established that people need to posses information literacy and digital literacy skills if they want be able to be active members of the community. 

Among other things, the United States is known internationally for having the most amount of people incarcerated. Contrary to what some may believe over 90% of the people in prison are released back into the community at some point in time. It is in our best interest to ensure that they are released with the skills and know-how necessary to engage in a technology driven society.

  • I am interested in discussing what can be done to shift the current nature of conversations from one that looks at the introduction of things like the Internet as a threat to one that sees it as an opportunity to equip those incarcerated with skills they will need to complete tasks like finding a job, reconnecting with family, locating social services and the like. 
  • I am also interested in talking about what can be done to increase the amount of research done in prisons designed to understand the extent to which digital inequalities exist.
  • Finally, I’d be interested in develop a list of groups/people who are/should be invested in equipping people in prison with information literacy and digital literacy skills and talk about ways to get them more involved
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A Few Session Possibilities

I’m a bit late proposing topics, but here are a few nebulous thoughts:

* Open source possibilities in academia – alternative publishing and public scholarship meet the necessities of the tenure track

* Digital humanities and accessibility: there’s already a proposal for accessibility and graduate education, but I’d like to talk about how we incorporate DH into undergraduate classes when students may not even have had a computer before arriving on campus.

* I’m newly-interested in using GIS data for teaching historical periods and literature, and would love to hear others’ experience and thoughts.

Categories: Session Proposals | 1 Comment

Occupy Internet: Social Media, Digital Research, and Social Justice

I am interested in engaging a roundtable with folks who are interested not only in using technology to enhance their pedagogical and personal computing skills, but also those who might see it as a viable topic to conduct research/ write something on. For example, I am at the moment fairly interested in the Occupy movement has captured the Internet — an ubiquitous entity that many feel is an effective tool of corporation manipulation — on the global stage. Occupy movements have erupted in the most unlikely places. Across the country in NYC and other cities, and even at last month’s annual meeting of the American Studies Association (ASA), support for the Occupy movement has grown exponentially. Here in the Pacific Northwest, amidst our friends, colleagues, and students, the Occupy movement is spoken of on a daily basis. This spread of support (and criticism) is a direct result of social media networks to thematically link together people in disparate place around the world.

In addition to thinking about how our colleagues and students communicate and spark revolutionary and/ or teaching moments through such media, I am also interested in writing about this phenomenon. Specifically, for example, my dissertation examines strategies that African and Asian diasporas in the US and UK have challenged neoliberal, exclusive notions of “home.” In our day and age, the first thing many of us interact with in the realm of “home” is our homepage — a technological landscape of virtual imaginary that is not completely linked to race, space, etc. And through that portal, we access so many others around the globe, we occupy the internet. So, say in the examples of the Occupy movement, multi-media art, subversive cd ROMS, etc., what are some strategies/ trends in thinking about social justice and its manifestations in the virtual world? Can we come up with paradigms or even a THATCamp resolution that puts forth a hypothesis on how social justice is attained, undermined, complicated, etc. in this particular moment in history and social upheaval?


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Two session ideas

And very open-ended ones, at that.

I’d be really interested in a session, or track, on social justice/tech pedagogy. This might encompass

  • teaching students about using technology;
  • teaching them about studying and analyzing different technologies in terms of the issues they raise for public/private freedoms, etc.; and
  • the challenges and opportunities of using the net to study revolutions, movements, and other social-justice related phenomena.
I would also like to see a session or track on activism that might examine
  • how technology is altering the meaning of what constitutes activism, both positively and negatively. (I’m thinking about how platforms like FB, Twitter, and G+ make it easier for people to declare their stance on an issue,  the problems of too much noise trivializing those declarations, and cases like Lisa Simeone and Caitlin Curran
  • the intersections of activism and academia
I can see how either of these might be blended with some of the other session proposals that have already been posted, like the gender session or the access session.
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Digital Knowledge Forms, Graduate Education, and Questions of Access

Partly because I am a first-generation college student hailing from the Deep Southern United States who didn’t have a computer until I purchased one for college in 2003, I’ve become increasingly interested in the entire set of assumptions, biases, and problems surrounding class within and surrounding the academy. Several things about my history (simply to use an example) put me in a strange position; for instance, I didn’t have access to the web until I left home for university, and my childhood family and friends largely communicate by means other than the digital. In a very real sense, the contemporary revolution (which is how I think of it) in the ways in which knowledge is being stored, accessed, and worked with–and the impacts of those things on learning, both at the university level and in education in general–has largely passed them by. This is, I believe, part and parcel of a larger problem of access to knowledge.

I propose a panel to, rather vaguely I must confess, get together and discuss the thorny nexus of class, technology, and access to knowledge we are being faced with more every day. Speaking solely for myself, I think this could be a productive encounter for several reasons: First, we might begin to get some sort of sense about how many of us are truly digital natives, as so many under 25 are taken to be (I also haven’t a clue what the demographic makeup of this THATCamp is going to be, so this could be fun!). Second, it seems like this might be an ideal way to begin and extend transdisciplinary discussions already ongoing, discussions circling around access to quality education, how that translates into access to higher education, and how both of those impact career potential, socialization of the next generation, etc. Third, it seems like a great idea to (especially) start discussing these problems and how they might impact our own digital work; as a first year PhD student in literary studies and the digital humanities, these are issues I’m beginning to realize I will have to face–or at least should want to. In other words, how can those of us working on the forefront of the changing face of knowledge access equalize that access?

This is quite fuzzy, and I have no idea where it might go! I’d welcome comments, commentary, and ideas, either online or in a session this weekend.

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Social Justice Classes, Technology & Scholarship

As a professor in a Digital Filmamking department I have frequently taught social justice skills to my production classes – asking them to incorporate topics about class, gendered and racial equity into their work.  However, when I teach classes with more of an academic transfer focus, I find it hard to come up with assignments that would allow my students to use technology to create a project without having a significant part of the class centered around teaching students to appropriately use that technology (without formal instruction on how to use a video camera I frequently find that students bring me final films that are too long and tend to not be shot on a tripod, etc.).  So, for a workshop or session during THATCamp, I’d really like to brainstorm ideas with other professors or those interested in teaching, how we can implement different technologies (without just saying with no formal instruction – make a video! Create a website!) in our social justice-centered classes so that students are encouraged to think beyond the reading/writing paradigm for their research projects, but know how to properly, on a basic level, implement the technological tools they are using.  In other words, an exploration of different and simplistic technological tools that instructors can introduce in their classrooms so students can create work that demonstrates their understanding of a concept using that tool as much as it demonstrates a basic technological proficiency itself (and so I don’t have to watch any more sea-sick inducing student videos).

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Trans/forming Technology or: The Gender Session

I’m interested in the potential implications of new technologies for individual and cultural understandings of gender, and for social justice initiatives specifically focused on gender justice. A few topics that seem worth thinking about:

  • The uses of technology in gender-related activism: for example, projects like have used collaborative mapping to provide a resource for those seeking gender-neutral public bathrooms.
  • The impact of “real name” cultures and policies on trans* users
  • Access to alternative gender identifications online:  G+’s provision of an “other” gender category — originally created for privacy purposes — received mainstream media attention in connection with trends towards increased visibility of gender nonconformity. On the other hand, while Facebook allows users to hide their gender in their profiles, it now requires individuals to identify themselves as either female or male. I’m interested in the state’s regulation of gender categories, and it seems like there are interesting comparisons to be made here.
There’s a lot more to consider, I’m sure, but those are some ideas to start.
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