Week 1 – Suggestions for the syllabus

by Jen Hoyer

In looking over the syllabus, I’m glad to see Bethany Nowviskie’s writing assigned for week 6. I’m a big fan of confronting the reality of the environmental impacts of digital projects, and while Nowviskie touches on some of this, I’d love to see even material to help us think about how digitization, digital preservation, and digital sustainability is tied up with the climate crisis. Nowviskie references Eira Tansey‘s work with Project ARCC, which plays a key role in this conversation; I also find Stacie Williams’ writing about Sustainable Digital Scholarship really helpful, and Pendergrass et al’s article Toward Environmentally Sustainable Digital Preservation is also a great (open access) read. I think that it’s critical for us to use a lens of climate impact to bring all the nuance we can to conversations about preservation and sustainability of digital work.

In reading the introduction and first chapter of Data Feminism, I was also reminded that part of what constitutes data feminism is re-defining what constitutes “data”; we need to change the terms of “quantification is representation” by broadening the possibilities for representation. In considering the fact that systems of power can only be undone by allowing new forms of data to be represented, and new voices to be heard in new formats, I went back to the syllabus to consider the ways that knowledge is represented in our assigned readings. I’m glad that we’re listening to voices in a variety of forms (video, podcast, academic and non-academic writing; creative projects), but also know that my imagination of what forms we can listen to is constrained by the systems of power that have taught me what to listen to. I’d love to think more about what other formats — performance, poetry, music, visual art — might help us consider the issues we’ll be looking at together.

3 thoughts on “Week 1 – Suggestions for the syllabus

  1. Brieanna Scolaro (They)

    Jen, I appreciate your comment highlighting the idea to move beyond “quantification is representation.” I am new to the digital humanities space but I am part of the Social Welfare program. Something that this term brings up for me is the power and white supremacy embedded in science itself, and thus data . Is an individual’s own account of a racist attack “good enough” evidence in court, even if no video or documentation exists to capture it. Where is the space for the qualitative and the subjective – and can data even truly exist separated out from the humans that created it, managed it, edited it, manipulated it.

  2. Adrianna Rios (she/her)

    Hi Jen! as Brie said, I’m also new to this space. After reading your I’m now curious about the sustainability of digital work. Also, as I mentioned in my post I’m glad that you suggested the use of other formats. I’ve been trying to incorporate visual art into my English papers for years now. It’d be interesting to see how we can incorporate visual art/music to our class discussions and posts.

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