Friday, July 5, 2013

English and Humanities Majors

Alright, I know I haven't kept up with this blog. Shame on me really. It's pitiful. But real life takes over for awhile and...what can you do?

Anyway, that's all in the past. I'm ready to get this blog together. To move things forward!

So here's a post for you to enjoy. It's an article in the NY  Times concerning the drop in the English and Humanities Majors over the course of the last 20 years.

The article details the decline in the English major and some of the speculation as to why this is occurring. From experience as an English major myself I've come to find that a major reason that we could attribute to this decline, is the sheer stubbornness of certain professors unwilling to associate the learning process of the English/Humanities majors with social media/learning tools.

I think this is a big mistake!

I've come to find through my experience at the university level that the English major is a very socially adept major. It's roots are steeped in the oral tradition and have evolved to reflect the current cultural outlooks. It makes sense, at least to me, that social media would have a major foothold in today's teaching of literature.

It just makes sense.

But a lot of professors will denounce this idea and stick, quite stubbornly, to 'traditional' methods of teaching and learning.

But really how traditional are they? Literature evolves, shifts, changes. It's never a constant. There's always something new or different happening. So how can there be one definitive method for teaching? And if professors truly are to understand that literature does in fact shift and change, then why won't they even  hazard to attempt to teach social learning?

It kind of makes those professors a bit hypocritical wouldn't you say?

Friday, June 22, 2012

I promise I'm not dead!

Sorry to all you faithful readers who have waited patiently for me to update this blog as I promised. I confess that this summer has slipped quite quickly by and I've felt so overwhelmed with sorting through things and getting everything situated at home that it's been hard to work up the will and motivation to keep you informed on things that I've learned about the digital humanities and the astounding progress that people are making. I promise that in the next few days I will have updates coming.

Right now I just thought I'd let you know that I'm not dead!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Learning Outcomes:

As part of our final project, professor Burton asked that we individually go through our learning outcomes and figure out our standings within the class. So, here goes!

Learning Outcomes

  • History, Context, Genres and Themes, and EthicsExplain the historical and literary contexts, genres and themes, and ethical dimensions of Shakespeare’s representative works.
  • Throughout my blog I've tried to analyze Shakespeare's works and thoroughly study different aspects of the nature of the Bard's writing. We were required to analyze both sonnets and plays. Throughout class we read the different genres of Shakespeare's plays: romance, tragedy, historical, and comedy. I attempted to experience these different plays in various ways such as through critical analysis of the plays themselves, critical research, as well as different ways to experience such plays. I've watched movies, listened to music and even acted out some of the parts of the different plays. By doing this I feel as though I've immersed myself in the Bard's work more thoroughly and have begun to understand the inner workings of the famous playwright.

  • Secondary ScholarshipDevelop familiarity with key secondary scholarship about and critical perspectives of Shakespeare's works
  • I've tried to incorporate secondary scholarship in my research and digital literacy. The main focus of my research this semester has centered on the digital humanities and how influential they are to Shakespeare studies. I've read several articles on the digital humanities and the contention that many people feel towards them (Stanley Fish for instance). I've also researched Shakespeare studies in the digital age and how significant the Bard is to our modern world.

  • Scholarly ResearchPerform scholarly research on Shakespeare’s works by identifying and evaluating appropriate research sources, incorporating these sources into a well-documented formal academic paper, and formulating arguments based on those sources.
  • I worked on a research paper that studied Shakespeare in the digital age. I contacted several people and researched the ongoing influence of digital studies on understanding classical works such as Shakespeare. I documented several scholarly sources and created a paper that detailed my efforts to understand the concepts of Shakespeare and Digital Studies.
  • 1. Gain Shakespeare Literacy
    Demonstrate mastery over fundamental information about Shakespeare’s works, life, and legacy
    a. Breadth (knowledge of a range of Shakespeare’s works)
  • I've strived to read several of Shakespeare's works. I've worked to understand the Bard in several different ways. I've researched and read comedies, tragedies, romances, and historical plays. I've also furthered my understanding of sonnets, something I was not experienced with. I worked to immerse myself in the entire works of Shakespeare's workss.
    b. Depth (more thorough knowledge of a single work)
  • I analyzed several of Shakespeare's plays more deeply by experiencing plays in different ways. I listening to plays, read plays, I even acted out plays, taking on the role of one of the central characters. I also observed adaptations of some plays in movie and stage forms. I even researched musical adaptations and video renditions of sonnets.
    c. Performance (stage and screen)
  • I attended two different performances produced at BYU. I observed the theatre department's adaptations of the plays, "Love's Labour's Lost" and "The Merchant of Venice" and critiqued them on my blog.
    d. Legacy (history, scholarship, popular culture)
  • I worked to understand Shakespeare's history and legacy in our world. I researched the history of his plays and the context in which he wrote. I also researched how his life influencd his works: The Elizabethan Era played an important role in his subject matter. I also studied how Shakespeare has influenced our modern society. I researched movie adaptations, music adaptations, and artistic adaptations of Shakespeare's works since his lifetime. I posted all of this on my blog. Further, I applied what I learned to a project in my Rhetoric class where I effectively argued the significance of Shakespeare as a pop culture icon.
  • 2. Analyze Shakespeare Critically
    Interpret Shakespeare’s works critically in their written form, in performance (stage or screen) and in digitally mediated transformations. This includes
    a. Textual analysis (theme, language, formal devices)
  • In both my observations of Shakespeare's plays and in my scholarly research I looked for patterns in themes and language. I tried to dissect how genres related to writing style and noted that a characters status within the play determined their speech patterns most of the time. I also tried to look at formal literary devices such as alliteration and how they related to teh entire context of the play. In "Love's Labour's Lost" for instance,  noticed that there was a strong play on poetic structure and rhyme schemes almost the point of absurdity! It was fascinating.
    b. Contextual analysis (historical, contemporary, cultural)
  • I looked at the historical significance of many different plays and how culture influenced Shakespeare's works. "Henry V" for instance was a great play on historical events in Britain's lifespan. The events of the play actually happened and Shakespeare captured the pride of Britain's success. I also looked the style of writing Shakespeare engaged in and how it reflected the cultural norms. Shakespeare couldn't state certain things outrightly about his society, so he was inventive in his presentation to express himself.
    c. Application of literary theories
  • I've tried to research what contemporaris have noted about Shakespeare and tried to understand their viewpoints. I've researched blogs and scholarly articles about Shakespeare, his works, and how their form, structure and they relate to a larger literary history or how they influence the larger literary world. I've also studied how scholarly insight on how Shakespeare has influenced the digital world and how the digital movement is progressing.
    d. Analysis of digital mediations
  • I've done a lot of research on the digital aspect of Shakespeare. I've researched blogs and noted how digital applications are being applied to understanding Shakespeare. I've researched programs that scholars have instituted in analyzing Shakespeare. I've also looked at the digital adaptations that have been made and the various forms of digital presentations people present in the digital sphere such as on Youtube, or through Prezi or blogs.
  • 3. Engage Shakespeare Creatively
    a. Performance (memorization, recitation, scene on stage or video)
  • I worked to perform a part in one of the Shakespeare plays that we were assigned to analyze. I read the role and performed the part at home. I also read portions of plays and sonnets to my family and tried to engage them in the world of Shakespeare.
    b. Individual creative work (literary imitation, art, music)
  • I've researched Shakespeare's works and tried to incorporate that understanding into my music listening. I've listened to adaptions made by musicians and watched performances of such works. I've also documented adaptations on my blog and tried my hand at creatively engaging Shakespeare into my Rhetoric project and in my home.
    c. Collaborative creative project
  • While I worked on my project largely on my own this semester, I also tried to continually engage myself in conversations with my classmates and contribute to their understandings of Shakespeare while at the same time gaining insight from their works. I commented on their blogs and received comments in return. I also to immerse myself into the larger project of promoting the digital humanities and I accomplished this through contacting people who diligently strive to promote this ideal both on campus at BYU and in the larger sphere of things. I also engaged in activities that expanded my knowledge of digital literacy and collaborated with scholars and researchers at THATcamp.
  • 4. Share Shakespeare Meaningfully
  • I've tried to share Shakespeare meaningfully throughout my blog postings, facebook status updates and on twitter. I've really tried to instill in my children a sense of appreciation for Shakespeare and I've worked to display Shakespeare in as many forms a possible. I also wanted to display my blog research to my friends and let them in on what I was passionate about. Also on my blog I displayed my interests in music and the different adaptations of Shakespeare and how they moved me in profound ways. I further tried to display the significance of Shakespeare in our modern day by making the focus of my Rhetoric project on Shakespeare as a pop culture icon.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

BYU's Progress:

As I mentioned before, the Digital Humanities program is still very small and in the process of developing into a grander program here at BYU. However, the university has made significant progress. Here's a link to the blog that is available on current projects and insight to developments on campus:

This blog details several different projects within the digital world as well as prospective projects and tools that researchers are using.

Jarom McDonald detailed exceptional examples of digital studies:

 Folger's Shakespeare Library:

An ongoing project and lecture series on text analysis in Shakespeare's manuscripts.

Nine Rivers and A Mountain:

A simple yet elegant example of using the Google Books API in Digital Humanities.

Collocate Cloud:

This project uses the British National Corpus to establish an alphabetical word cloud that shows
  • (a) how frequently a word appears close to the node word (larger text)
  • (b) how strongly a word collocates with the node word (brighter text)

A second version allows the user to enter two words to find the collocational relationship between them:

Both are part of the SCOTS Project (Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech)
This site projects 3-D renderings of statues from the Roman Forum onto Google Earth making it possible to visualize the civic ritual space that these statues occupied. Click on the crosshairs icon at the top-right of each descriptive panel to walk through the different perspectives. The rendering is somewhat slow, so be patient. Requires Google Earth Plugin.

HyperCities is also developing an extension tool for geotagging texts: Geo-Scribe
"The tool will allow users to create maps of places related to books, and each point on each map will be linked back to specific pages in the books. Users will be able to browse all books that mention a certain time and place, and to browse all the maps created by users that are linked to a specific book. Geo-Scribe emphasizes multiple mappings and multiple perspectives and will add a social, participatory component to the mapping projects that have already been undertaken by Google Book Search."

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection:

This is a growing collection of historical maps made available for detailed consultation on the web.

"The historical map collection has over 27,000 maps and images online. The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century North American and South American maps and other cartographic materials. Historic maps of the World, Europe, Asia, and Africa are also represented."

There are several ways of viewing the maps. For example, you can see the maps overlayed on Google Maps or Google Earth, where you can even change the transparency of the map so you can see both modern and historical maps at the same time. Some maps can even be consulted in Second Life.

Finding the maps for areas you are interested in is easiest in the MapRank Search. Simply zoom in to the location of interest and a list of available maps for that area appears in the right panel.

Home Page:
Mitchell, Samuel Augustus. Map of Europe. 1839. School Atlas.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Let's Get the Ball Rolling...


If you've been following my Shakespeare blog, "Dead For A Ducat" you'll know that my most recent project was to start a blog about the Digital Humanities program emerging here at BYU as well as keep all you amazingly lovely readers up to date on the Digital Humanities discipline on the grander scale. Right now I'm working on moving my content and research over to this blog so that you can see who I've contacted and what these amazing researchers are currently working on.

I'm excited to showcase the significance of the digital world and the contribution this method of study has to the greater scope of humanities studies. I've e-mailed several people and hope to get one of these amazing researchers to be a guest on my blog and give some insight to their current projects and how the idea of the digtial humanities affects them in profound ways.

Exciting right?

I'm also excited to showcase the progress that BYU is making in their adoption of the Digital Humanities program into their university repetoire. I'm going to be the eyes and ears for updates on the university's progress. I hope that I can get you guys excited about all the amazing things coming our way!

Guys I'm pumped!