Spring ’17 brought the Reynolda Campus not only blooming flora and gentle mists but also two DH Kitchen events.

In late March, Carrie Johnston, Digital Humanities Research Designer at ZSR library, presented a talk entitled “One Map, Four Ways.” Johnston’s talk demonstrated ways in which digital tools can both enhance and limit humanities research and pedagogy. Using ArcGIS Story Map, Knight Lab StoryMap, Neatline, and Prezi, Johnston highlighted software that can facilitate spatial thinking, and the particular affordances of each tool. Through visualizing the same project across multiple platforms, Johnston considered the sometimes frustrating yet often productive paradox of using digital tools to facilitate humanistic inquiry.

The following month, Monique O’Connell, Associate Professor in the Department of History, presented a talk entitled “Visualizing Venice in the FYS: Reflections on an Experiment.” O’Connell’s talk built on Johnston’s “One Map, Four Ways,” as well as on Kristin Lanzoni’s April 2016 DH Kitchen presentation, “Wired! and Visualizing Venice: Digital Art.” In “Visualizing Venice in the FYS,” O’Connell reflected on the digital assignments of the first-year seminar “The Floating City: Public and Private Life in Venice,” which she has taught twice, in Spring 2015 and Spring 2017, experimenting with digital assignments in both iterations.

O’Connell noted,

Few cities can match Venice in the sheer volume of visual representations of the cityscape. Since the medieval period, visitors to the city have been captivated by its unique form and described, painted, mapped, etched, photographed, and filmed the city from every conceivable angle. This flood of representations makes Venice a perfect subject for a class that explores interdisciplinary representations of the city and asks students to create their own representations.

In addition to outlining the assignments, O’Connell reflected on the costs and benefits of digital pedagogy in the context of the FYS.

DH Kitchen is a series of informal meetings that brings faculty and students together to workshop specific digital humanities (“DH”) projects-in-progress or to engage in discussion about open topics and questions pertaining to the digital humanities. The meetings are intended for DH novices as well as more experienced practitioners in the digital humanities. So, if you are interested in all things, some things, or anything DH, grab your laptop and join us in the kitchen over the coming academic year!


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