DHSI Colloquium Day Conference (Digital Humanities Summer Institute) - Morning

People Documenting Online Lives

  • This is Just to Say I have the in Your : Modernist Memes in an Era of Public Apology by Shawna Ross (Texas A&M)
    • Humanities Commons - the paper is available there. Trigger warning - evocation of people who are known abusers, racists, harassers--not what they've done, but their apologies and what they sound like. William Carlos William "This is Just To Say" was meme-ed on Twitter, blew up in Nov 2017. Proliferation of mashups. Why did this one blow up? Why not his "So Much Depends" which is fewer characters? Why is the shortest story #babyshoes meme mashup with the plums is more popular than #babyshoes alone? Why the surge? Poem's accessibility. Lack of meter and rhyme scheme makes it easy to understand and replicate. Compulsive overeating subject is attractive. Desired consumables - happened between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Wheelbarrow is less seductive than plums. Also people can finally use line breaks in Twitter, which allows for it. 12 line, 3 stanza poem doesn't scan. Replace adjectives and nouns for new poem, which is easily adaptable no matter your purposes. [me: Mad Libs poetry] Created a bot to do first and last stanzas with replaceable nouns and adjectives. 135 character poem, lacks punctuation, Under original 140 character limit. With spaces, just 155 characters so early iterations lose line breaks (with them, 170 characters). What are we laughing at?  The form itself or the deformation of the poem? Stretch form without breaking it is the point. Now mere mention of plums is sufficient - deformation and mashup with other songs. (mashup with Lou Vega's song: a little bit of cold plums in my life/ a little bit of icebox by my side  @thwphipps). Feminist satire with Alanis Morrissette mashup.
    • Other famous apologies format was duo press conference and press release. Hilary Clinton, Spitzer's wife as examples of forgiveness. Without wife, go to talk show. Now apologizers go straight to public which is a problem, because we need to see them sweat, guarantees authenticity. The aesthetic interestingness of "This is just to say" is a lack of sincerity. During flourishing of trope, uptick in public apologies and apology tours. Argument: if we recognize a formula and move on, allow status quo to remain. Need to critically examine when we've identified a template. 
    • Back to original poem: not a good apology. No contrition, no message, apology in deferral. Apology genre is too templated and not templatable enough. Without "I'm sorry," is insincere. Poem exposes insincere apologies, armchair apologies, derivative and unoriginal. Ultimately, re-evaluate performativity of apology as a digital genre. 
  • YouTube Yoga and Ritual on Demand: The Virtual Economics of Hindi Soteriology - Dheepa Sundaram
    • Her research is on anticolonial drama from 1900-1930. A website where you could Skype in for goddess advice; people have been doing online ritual for a long time ("Searching for Salvation" article). What else is online for Hinduism? YouTube videos for all types of yoga. How things are being sold, bought, and marketed in various contexts. [Karma, dharma, darsan, puja - personal worship of a deity, yajna - worship that requires a priest, vedas, tantra
    • How yoga goes online, then how Hindu ritual goes online. 20th century, the theosophical society's idea of yoga as access to "universal religion." Annie Beset was convinced Hinduism was closest to "universal religion." Vivekananda's belief in yoga as path to India's freedom. Aurobindo - Indian revolutionary, his "integral yoga" was shift away from liberation to a scientific system for health and wellness for acceptance in the west. mid to late 20th century : Iyengar and Modern Postural Yoga. 
    • Movement away from religious but move toward health and wellness, occurs during 60s.
    • Despiritualized - notion that none fo these religious practices embedded in tradition are necessary; the teacher becomes the repository of all the knowledge. Shift to teacher as source of knowledge, no more the texts like the Bhagavad Gita or Upanishads. 
    • Vivejananda was interested in distilling patanjali into 2 parts: postures and pseudo scientific spiritual system. Iyengar was concerned with alignment of the body leading to mental and spiritual alignment of body. See film Yoga Inc. Trasnformation of teacher/student tradition. teacher can claim knowledge. 
    • Entrepreneurial nature to student/teacher tradition. Issues of authenticity and authority. idea of patenting yoga. 
    • Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) will include 1500 videos of yoga asanas to prevent intellectual theft. Indian Prime Minister Modi was concerned about theft of Indian intellectual property - over the money (colonized again!) and economics, not the cultural issue. 
    • Whose yoga is it? Debate between Deepak Chopra and Aseem Shukla on yoga's true originals. Lola Williamson--School sued over use of yoga, court ruled that yoga is fine because doesn't have spiritual path. Ramdev has a company called Patanjali named after famous yoga scholar where you can buy Hindu-ized objects. Praise Moves - Christian yoga response to concerns. 
    • the Vedas are a Brahmanical elite text with no relationship to yoga. Why would he replace with this? A fight over sacred space and definition of what it constitutes to be a Hindu. Modi moved in Vedas - not just saying he's couching yoga in Hindu practice, but a TYPE of Hindu practice, the elite kind. It leaves out certain gods and goddesses that are still part of peoples' practice. Priest: ritual is "half power" when not conducted in person in the sacred space, but doing it is important because indicates right intention. Those priests doing online ritual likely in it for the money.
    • Ritual online - the business of salvation. Types of online ritual services. The sites are working as a corpus of literature together. Their about Us pages.  e-puja is interactive, skype, performed on demand. Virtual puja (view on screen anytime). Apps, priests on demand, virtual temple tours, outreach, information, resources, videos, images. Most of sites focused on elite mainstream gods. Everyone can access, so why do we care? Providing Broadway to elide diversity within the practice. Hindu premised on the idea of 333 million gods for 333 million ways to access the divine. there has never been a blanket corpus of literature out there online where you do not find yourself represented. 
    • Transactional nature of rituals (remove bad luck, evil eye, etc). Vedicizing the space. "One stop divinity portal." Elite tradition, Vedic mantras. So you know it's the "right" Hinduism. Focused on things you can get (health, wealth, prosperity). "We will do it for you"-ness. 
    • Importance of sacred space. Mobility of virtual sites. 
    • Towards Hinduism as a brand: opportunity vs freedom to worship. Access vs accessibility - about us pages dont include inclusive langauge for other castes, women, and others restricted from sacred spaces in India, the language is still the lnagauge of the elite. Vedicization compete through claims of Vedic authenticity, not concerned about who is accessing, but convenience. Possibilities for resistance - Tarapith temple, but need to have your own temple bc never be able to add your goddess to any of these sites. 
    • Ubiquitous during Modi's prime ministry. Economic c omponent. Government is using knowledge corpus being produced by these sites to push their own agenda on the ground, sanitized version of Hinduism.
  • The Resemblage Project: Creativity and Digital Health Humanities in Canada - Andrea Charise
    • a) defining health humanities (pedagogy - "toronto's stories of health and illness"), b) digital health humanities meets age studies (defining the resemblage project), c) the resemblage project preliminary workplan and projected outcomes. 
    • What is digital health humanities? instead of big data, use of arts and hum based methods and materials to explore health, illness, disability. Emphasizes highly individualized voices of healthcare users, providers. This is what humanities allows us to access when thinking about health and illness. However as trend of digitization promises to improve health access and patient empowerment, so does it compound the realities of genetic surveillance, digital discrimination, and displacement of human care practices.
    • Critiquing the digital health humanities 3 theorists: Kirsten Ostherr, Olivia Banner, they share a healthy suspicion that the digitization and move toward big data trends in health does little to undermine ideologies that have underlaid biomedicine for some time and may amplify deep seated biases wrt race, gender, ability, etc.  Nehal el-Hadi looks at dissemination of black life and images of black death online as a public health issue and problem. Essay "Death Undone" deep seated inequities in human computer interaction, especially twitter and it's autoplay feature forcing to watch video, cant choose not to, digital consent, health trauma, and perpetuation of those issues. 
    • Critiquing Digital Health Humanities - add health related experiences are increasingly flattened into digital forms even where highlight new health experience communities emerge. That said, DH offers liberatory and optimistic outcomes.
    • project Re*Vision www.projectrevision.ca engaging traditionally marginalized groups in practices of digital storytelling. Faces of Healthcare - digital photojournalism like Humans of New York - diverse healthcare users, providers, researchers, etc. Hashtag #SilenceIsViolence sexual assault survivors in postsecondary context. 
    • "Seminar: Toronto's Stories of Health and Illness" - course was entirely online as were assignments. 
    • Age Studies - critical study of aging, age, and older age, differs from cognate fields like gerontology by emphasizing forms of knowledge not primarily quantitative or clinical. Like DH, one limitation has been its focus and default assumption of white, Western, and female (menopause created interest in womens' aging). Why it needs DH: default settings is misaligned with researchers, student body, etc., others need to see themselves reflected. 
    • Can age studies better reflect or resemble the lived experiences of its learners? DH can benefit from age consciousness. when we discuss older folks' use of tech, we discuss elder vulnerability to online fraud, phishing, dangers of social isolation. Greater age consciousness in DH can enhance. Aesthetic potential of aging is something DH can think more imaginatively about, especially in terms of language of obsolescence and perpetuity - language of dead links, rotting links, bit-rot. Can we bring an age sense?
    • Digitizing Age Studies at UTSC: becgan with redesign of course "aging and the arts" - editing session around digital ageism. Topics - robot caregiving, VR empathy exercises some of the technological issues part of that class. Some aesthetic and born digital class - Stu Campbell, Jane Komori "Embodied Futures"
    • The Resemblage Project - remixing stories of aging. Resemblance, assemblage, age. Affordances of digital approach to age studies. Creation of storybank as a catalyst for accessible and spreadable (Jenkins 2013) creative art works that reflect diversity of aging experience. 
    • Workplan and Outcomes 
      • (Outcomes: development of new undergrad course 'digital health humanities'), student and community capacity building, conference presentations, research ms preparation, grant applications.)

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