After wrapping up a wonderful day yesterday and going to sleep at 9:30 pm after a few rounds of Mario Kart, I started Day 2 refreshed and ready to have my mind blown once again. The first discussion started with Data Visualization as led by the lovely Mia Ridge, but one of the main things that summed it up was probably a quote Mia posted by Michael Friendly stating that data visualization was ‘…showing quantitative and qualitative information so that a viewer can see patterns, trends, or anomalies, constancy or variation, in ways that other forms -text and tables- do not allow’. She also discussed the problems inherent in DV and the tools available. I’m sure as I learn more about the Digital Humanities (or even just as I blog more), I’ll use these tools more and more often. She also brought up that computer programming is important because when we analyze our data we need to know how the programs reached their conclusions, not just assume their validity.
Example of data visualization
I was then forced to skip the 2nd discussion in order to drive some friends to the airport. I came back in time for lunch, where we had sammiches. Each person talked about various tools they used in their research and presentations, Amanda Phillips talked about using ImageJ in order to compile faces from video games to examine how races and genders were generalized (white males had bigger chins, whites tended to have more variation in faces, etc.). Suzanne Scott talked about using ComicBook! in order to help students engage and create their own products, and I learned about Omeka from Tassie G. and hybrid Omeka and Scalar projects from Jackie. There are so many resources out there, and I’m surprised we aren’t introduced to more of the in school (or maybe I’m just not taking classes that use them). Apparently some people started retweeting my blog post from yesterday, which was slightly nerverwracking 😛
The final panel was about Fan Studies, which once again made a noise like this over my head. We looked at the Journal of Trans formative Works, which Suzanne described involving ‘modeling accountability to communities that are being studied (aka fans)’. How to legally protect, archive, and theorize fanworks. All of you interested in this should check out FanLore, all of you not interested in this should CONTRIBUTE ANYWAY BECAUSE THEY NEED MORE CONTRIBUTORS ❤ kthxbai. As described by the site, FanLore is ‘a collaborative site by, for, and about fans and fan communities that create and consume fanworks. Here, you can read about fan activities, fannish vocabulary, and the histories of fan communities — and add your own voice, memories, and experiences to our collective story.’ So I’ll say it again, IF YOU ARE IN A FANDOM, CONTRIBUTE We also talked about Henry Jenkins, the godfather of fanstudies, fake geek girls and the fact that female fans have ALWAYS EXISTED (duh), and moving from being consumers to being producers.
I’m really honored to have met all of the fascinating scholars that attended this unconference, and I hope to keep in touch (or at least stalk their blogs). I really hope this repeats next year, it was an experience I won’t soon forget. I’m sorry if I missed anything at the conference or misunderstood anything, and if you are reading this and you were at the unconference, I’d love to hear your thoughts, or you can check out my About Me page and hit me up and the numerous places I frequent. Maybe I’ll see you guys at the next Research Slam.