Thinking Digitally Institute

Hi all!

The Digital Humanities kicked off the summer by hosting its first ever Thinking Digitally Summer Institute. The DHC team and many other dedicated library staff members collaborated with humanities and social science faculty members to develop syllabi for Barnard’s Thinking Digitally requirement. The Institute took place on May 26th through May 28th over Zoom, with asynchronous tutorials available through Canvas. 

(Faculty and Staff discussed readings together over Zoom)

The faculty members came from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines, with different levels of experience and comfort with technology, so each person had unique perspectives to share during conversations about how to think digitally in the classroom. Faculty participated in discussions about what thinking digitally means and what digital pedagogy entails, they learned how to use digital humanities tools such as Hypothes.is, Twine, and Scalar, and they developed and scaffolded digital assignments. As they explored the capabilities of digital technologies for use in their classes, faculty members expressed feeling “liberated” by the productive frustration of being a student again and their experiences learning in the institute shaped the ways they viewed pedagogy, scaffolded their assignments, and developed syllabi. 

As a student, I enjoyed seeing the amount of work and caring that faculty members put into developing their courses. And at the same time, it was fun to watch their experiences as they became students again and explored an unfamiliar subject. Seeing the different ways in which faculty learned material, viewed pedagogy, and developed their courses made me want to take all of their classes.

All in all, the Thinking Digitally Institute was a week of growth, constant questioning, and reflection. Faculty members came in with big ideas, and while they expressed frustration at times, they were eager to grow and develop skills in order to expand the limits of pedagogy in the classroom. 

Thank you to all the faculty members who participated: Pamela Cobrin, Vrinda Condillac, Abosede A. George, Kim F. Hall, Elizabeth Hutchinson, Cecilia Brun Lie-Spahn, Maria Eugenia Lozano, Monica L. Miller, Laurie Postlewate, Wendy C. Schor-Haim, and Dugyu Ulla. 

A special thanks to all of the library staff who provided endless support during the Institute: Elana Altman, Rachel James, Sophia Junginger, Joscelyn Jurich, Marko Krkeljas, Vani Natarajan, Annabelle Tseng, and Diane Zhou.

And finally, thank you to the TDSI Organizing team: Jennifer Rosales, Melanie Hibbert, Alicia Peaker, Kaiama Glover, Miriam Neptune, Taylor Faires, Miranda Jones-Davidis, and Sondra Phifer.

Summer Fellows Blog 6/18: Pamela Phillips

I have lived in public housing for the majority of my life and experienced first-hand how the negative images and perceptions of public housing communities and residents can invoke feelings of shame and embarrassment because of the way media influences public discourse. The communities are portrayed as breeding grounds for crime and drugs and the residents are often characterized as people who don’t work, are lazy and want to live off of the government. Much of what mainstream media writes about public housing often has a negative tinge; focusing primarily on the conditions of the buildings, mismanagement of the properties, government disinvestment, and the impact of concentrated poverty. Residents are sought for comment mainly to add authenticity to reported claims. Rarely are they asked to provide a counter-narrative or about anything other than the housing stock, as if there aren’t whole lives being discounted. It is a personal and professional goal to bring residents’ stories into the light, paint these developments with an air of community and hope and highlight public housing as a stabilizing force in urban communities.

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Summer Fellows Blog 6/17: Kimberly Springer

Can’t a document live? Developing an Online Black Feminist Digital Archive

Social movement researchers and social historians have come to realize that to tell the story of recent histories previously left out of the historical record, we need but ask the people who were there. We ask them the basic who, what, when, where and how of what they did to create social change. But we’re also taught to inquire after their archive: “Do you have any photos, flyers, documents?” We’re encouraged to add to the historical record through interpreting their words, but also to seek material objects that can be added to an archive for future versions of our inquiring selves.

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Summer Fellows Blog 6/14: Celia Naylor

The Rose Hall Great House has been immortalized not because of Jamaica’s slavery past; rather, it signifies for most local Jamaicans and visiting tourists alike a haunted house, in which the ghost of its most famous mistress, Annie Mary Palmer (née Paterson), roams the grounds as the “White Witch of Rose Hall.” The most renowned plantation home in Jamaica located in the Montego Bay area, it has become a popular wedding venue and tourist destination attracting over 100,000 visitors per year. It also vividly represents one telling example of how popular fascination with slavery distorts reconstructions of slavery in the present day. Based primarily on Herbert G. de Lisser’s 1929 novel The White Witch of Rosehall, the contemporary Rose Hall tours neglect the stories of enslaved people entirely. Instead, visitors leave with a titillating story about Annie Palmer; and, the names and experiences of enslaved women, men, and children who labored at Rose Hall remain unspoken, unremembered, and unmemorialized.

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Summer Fellows Blog 6/14: Katherynn Sandoval

Hello, welcome to my first blog post. My name is Katherynn Sandoval, I am a current undergraduate student at Barnard College. This summer I am working as a Summer Research Fellow at the Digital Humanities Center. I will be conducting research on immigration and education. My research is focused mainly on the integration of transnational immigrant students into U.S. colleges and universities. Through an extensive literature review on higher education and immigration policies, as well as student interviews, I hope to uncover and address the challenges immigrant students face in getting a higher education degree.

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Summer Fellowship Stories: MTLC tour!

Summer Fellows sit around a long table in a room lined with bookshelves full of zines.
Our Summer Fellows get the FYI on DIY from Deputy Zine Librarian Jade Levine.

Yesterday, the DHC Summer Fellows convened for a tour of the Milstein Center, led by Miriam Neptune, Post-Bac Sylvia, and student worker Miranda. Our Fellows all have such diverse and interdisciplinary research interests and projects, we knew they would benefit from hearing what the Milstein’s many centers and departments have to offer. 

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Summer Barnard Inclusion Grant Fellow Corinth Jackson

Corinth Jackson (BC ‘20) is a rising senior at Barnard College majoring in Urban Studies with a Specialization in Architecture. This summer, Corinth is working with the Archives & Special Collections Department and Digital Humanities Center (DHC) to research Black student life at Barnard. Corinth has several goals for the project, but at the moment, she is attempting to collect all of the names of Black students on campus. She hopes to make information about Black Barnard students more accessible. Through the collection of archival information about students on campus gathered digitally and physically, she intends to use different mediums to display the information. Corinth hopes that this project will shed light on what being Black at Barnard means and hopes that each medium can serve as a resource for the Barnard community.

Corinth’s research is supported by a Barnard Inclusion Grant written by Barnard Archives and DHC staff. Her fellow fellows are Katherynn Sandoval ’21, Kimberly SpringerPam Phillips, and Celia Naylor