All in all, I am using these articles to discern how and what can be used within the digital humanities to support some of the work I am doing towards my thesis project on eugenics.
After this week’s class, I wouldn’t mind more in the area of infrastructure studies because I think that has some bearing on my project.
Liu, Alan. “The Meaning of the Digital Humanities.” pmla vol. 128, no. 2, 2013, pp. 409-423.
In general, my interest is in the tools and methods used by digital humanities scholars in the consideration of a small digital project for my thesis. Alan Liu evaluates a particular digital humanities project and attempts to locate it within the humanities overall. It is useful as an example of a clear practice with a specific set of tools and methods used in an attempt to answer a clearly drawn out question. Liu emphasizes the importance of meaning, and this is essential in understanding eugenics. Besides counting and determining a number of texts and associated documents that circulated in the early formation of eugenic ideology, eugenics had a significant meaning that made it accessible. Can digital humanities techniques or methodology help discover correlations of meaning among the large volume of eugenic periodicals, pamphlets, and newspaper articles that circulated? Liu’s review of one particular DH project inspired me and helped see potential in using DH research methods. Of particular interest was what Liu calls Heuser and Le-Khac’ “methodological self-awareness” (411). While they are looking at word use, I am interested in the variety of lexical expressions related to positive and negative eugenics and their persuasive force and longevity. Teleology.
Popper, Karl. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. Routledge, 2002.
Like Rita Felski, Karl Popper looks at the “logic,” or procedures, and the limits of the methods used to assess experimental results and progressive steps involved in scientific discovery and why they matter in the pursuit of justified true belief. He also examines the limit of scientific examination of new discoveries. Popper has some chapters on the usefulness of simplicity in modeling empirical data, which is relevant in DH. There is also an important chapter on falsification, which seems to integral to improving the certainty and verifiability of observable phenomena. In thinking about the comparisons of “objective” science, I think an overview of the scientific method is pertinent to maintaining a methodological awareness. Since there are some within the digital humanities who liken the use of computation to objectivity and scientific exploration, I found Popper’s Logic useful in discerning the validity of some of those claims. Tautological and teleological
Hayles, N. Katherine. How we think: Digital media and contemporary technogenesis. University of Chicago Press, 2012.
Hayles’ chapters on “hyper reading” and attention/distraction and by other means and “technogenesis,” the way society and emerging technologies relate to one another are essential to exploring the significance of relying on machines to complete computation that lie outside of our abilities. People think individually and socially. How do technological advancements influence human cognitive? Can this be a good analogy for the advancement of eugenic thought? Teleological
Drucker, Johanna. “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display.” Digital Humanities Quarterly. Vol 5, 1, 2011, pp. 1-20.
“The map is not the territory.” Yet the critiques that emerge from some DH work believes that the intention and design of models is a direct one-to-one representation. Drucker makes a number of claims I think are based in some misconceptions about the uses of models in science and what humanists borrow from them. She makes some valid points if these claims are indeed true, and it seems like each one must be investigated. In Daniela Bailer-Jones chapter from Scientific Models, as well as in Richard Jean So’s article “All Models are Wrong,” it clear that models are necessary for helping scientists and humanists revise their thinking and re-evaluate their data sets. There are folks who put too much stock in statistical models, but I think these folks are not the designers or users of these models. She makes very good points to adjust models to accommodate dynamic data sets. Tautological
Putnam, Hilary. “The Meaning of “Meaning.” Language, Mind, and Knowledge, edited by Keith Gunderson, University of Minnesota Press, 1975, pp. 131-193.
Wallack, Jessica Seddon, and Ramesh Srinivasan. “Local-global: Reconciling mismatched ontologies in development information systems.” System Sciences, 2009. HICSS’09. 42nd Hawaii International Conference on. IEEE, 2009.
This article focuses on how administrator and local communities describe and report information representing their interests, concerns, and context differ. Wallack and Srinivasan explore the specific incongruities in the information systems designed by a local community in India and the state agency responsible for some of the public works in that area. They claim that there is “information loss” that occurs when the state agency collects information from the local community using its state apparatus and fundamental understanding of what information is relevant. The idea of information loss as a result of the difference between the two information systems seems significant when considering the use of digital archives and databases to preserve indigenous knowledge. It is a useful way to consider how the Eugenics Records Office collected and interpreted the information it received and collected and what information was lost or never considered. The Eugenics Records Office’s information was archived. Is the archive serviceable as instructive of the errors related to its set of premises, or is it keeping it alive?
Cushman, E. C. (2013). “Wampum, Sequoyan, and Story: Decolonizing the digital Archive.” College English, vol. 76, no. 2, 2013, pp. 115-135.
Cushman explains the use of a digital archive as a pedagogical tool for language learners and/or as a means of mediating new interpretations of knowledge production. The Cherokee Nation commissioned the creation and the hosting of a digital archive of Cherokee stories in the Cherokee language. It is part of an immersion program, and it supports “the curriculum of the K-6 Cherokee immersion school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, as one facet of larger language perseverance efforts” (115). She addresses the Cherokee stories and songs section of the digital archive as a means of decolonizing literacy practices by centering around the social practices and linguistic structures inherent and specific to Cherokee and Sequoyan, the syllabary of the Cherokee language. The use of the archive here as a means of preservation seems feasible, and it is highlights the importance of the Cherokee language speakers and cultural stakeholders assist in the design of the archive and privileging Cherokee, Sequoyan, and other culturally important works. Again, this work is instructive in reconceptualizing databases and archives as pedagogical tools.
Christie, Michael J. “Computer databases and Aboriginal knowledge.” Learning communities: International journal of learning in social contexts Vol. 1, 2004, pp. 4-12.
This article problematizes the use of databases to preserve indigenous knowledge. Specifically, it comes to the conclusion that the structure and organization of databases are incompatible with what knowledge is and how it is shared. In the introduction, Christie makes it clear that this exploration was inspired by concerns voiced by an older generation concern a younger generation’s attitude towards traditional knowledge, “Many Aboriginal parents and grandparents, concerned that the younger generation are not growing up with a strong indigenous knowledge/identity, endorse the use of computer databases to store texts, photos, videos, maps, lists etc to help with their work of teaching.” As Christie points out strongly and immediately, “Databases do not contain knowledge, they contain information (ie ones and zeros in particular formation).” The purpose the Yolngu Aboriginal people have in mind is education, so Christie examines the potential of databases being a part of the discursive practices of literacy as explained by James Paul Gee. Christie also examines the specific aspects of Yolngu Aboriginal people’s culture that could be potentially compatible with databases and their internal structures. This idea is useful because perhaps the preservation of materials, especially historically and culturally specific ones, needs to be framed in a similar manner so that they are instructive rather than a display.
Gentner, Dedre and Arthur B. Markman. “Structure Mapping in Analogy and Similarity.” American Psychologist, vol. 52, no. 1, Jan. 1997, pp. 45-56.
The use of analogy is important to knowledge construction. Gentner uses the example of Kepler and his approximations of the influence of gravity through analogy, which are based on his observations of the motion of the planets. Examining the nature of analogy and similarity can provide insight into how to possibly code, TEI, and create semantic text mining programs that can identify analogy and similar, which are often themselves models within scientific controversy. I think this clarification can offer some help in designing tools that search with greater precision. How does a better understanding fundamental structure of language help create more precise tools?
Huijnen, Pim, et. al. “A Digital Humanities Approach to the History of Science: Eugenics revisited in hidden debates by means of semantic text mining.” Workshops at the International Conference on Social Informatics. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2013.
This is useful for my specific thesis project. It is an example of what semantic text mining and various graphical representations can yield for the history of science subjects. One of my primary questions has to do with eugenics and US culture, in particular, seemed to be susceptible to eugenic thinking. Certain materials and methods remain the same. It also was very clear about how the methods were used to produce a particular result. “Digital history is a methodological approach framed by the capacities of these digital tools to make, define, query, and annotate associations and analyze long-term patterns of economic, technological and cultural change.” Their techniques seemed pretty comprehensive, and they employed large databases of material and a very dynamic system to get results (2).
Bailer-Jones, Daniela M. “Scientific Models.” Scientific Models in Philosophy of Science. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009, pp. 1-20.
The discussion of scientific models is useful in discerning the difference in approaches to models in the sciences and those in the digital humanities. There are places where the approaches approach similarity and are compatible; there are other places where there are controversy and contention within the digital humanities.
Mohr, John W., and Petko Bogdanov. “Introduction—Topic models: What they are and why they matter.” Poetics. vol. 41, 2013, pp. 545-569.
Wong, Shun Ha Sylvia, and Peter Hancox. “An Investigation into the use of Argument Structure and Lexical Mapping Theory for Machine Translation.” Language, Information and Computation, PACLIC 12, 1998, pp. 334-339.
Holyoak, Keith J. and Dušan Stamenković. “Metaphor Comprehension: A Critical Review of Theories and Evidence.” Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 08, 2018.
Catrambone, Richard. “The Effects of Surface and Structural Feature Matches on the Access of Story Analogs.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, vol. 28, no. 2, Mar. 2002, pp. 318-334.
Yang, Tze-I., Andrew J. Torget, and Rada Mihalcea. “Topic modeling on historical newspapers.” Proceedings of the 5th ACL-HLT Workshop on Language Technology for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, and Humanities. Association for Computational Linguistics, 2011.
Tangherlini, Timothy R., and Peter Leonard. “Trawling in the Sea of the Great Unread: Sub-corpus topic modeling and Humanities research.” Poetics vol. 41, no. 6, 2013, pp. 725-749.