Possible Digital Humanities Projects about Race, Space and Interiority

It’s been two months and six days since my last confession…I mean my last post. It has been awhile since I’ve written and I hope to rectify this, at least for my own sake, by posting more often this summer.  In the time that’s passed, I have continued learning to code through codecademy.com.  I’ve finished HTML and am slowly working my way through CSS.  I must confess that I never knew coding could be fun, but it is and I hope to finish those lessons by September.

I began this blog not only to keep track of my progress in acquiring new skills but also as part of a desire to link a burgeoning curiosity in digital humanities to my academic research interests. Since my interests and even the title of this blog are dedicated to topic of race, space and interiority, I hope in future posts to discuss interiority, subjectivity and selfhood and how we articulate and aestheticize these concepts.

While I connect “interiority” to words like “subjectivity or “selfhood” in the paragraph above, “interiority” in particular interests me because it links selfhood and subjectivity to a location. In the simplest definition(s) of the word, “interiority” refers to being within or inside something, a house or a room or some inhabitable space. It might also refer to somewhere inland from the coast or border or something that pertains to domestic, national issues.  The Department of the Interior may have been named with such a focus on territorial and U.S. internal/domestic issues. Finally, interiority can also indicate something’s inner nature or someone’s internal spiritual and psychological disposition.

So, what happens when we view ourselves as having an interior or an inner self that is private and hidden by its very nature of being internal while also being important to how we deal with the world outside of that internal self? What are the implications of understanding subjectivity and selfhood as founded upon a spatial existence within the body? How does this reflect how we understand ourselves and others in relationship to the spaces we can and cannot inhabit? How do we represent and discuss this interiorized self in novels, TV and film?  How do we reveal and even confess these interiorized selves and why do we do this? What rights does interiority grant us and what rights and/or privileges are denied when this sense of interiority isn’t recognized culturally or legally?

In the next weeks and months I hope to discuss ways these questions are answered and post such findings here.

I end this week’s entry with a link to a post I stumbled upon recently that discusses interiority and space as it relates to architecture, culture and identity and how we define our interior and exterior spaces. Defining The Question of Interiority brings up interesting questions I hope to discuss next week.



Now, Voyager: Beginning a Journey in Digital Humanities

“What should I write about first?”

For a few weeks now, I’ve been asking myself this question as if the perfect post was out there in the world, and all I had to do was wait for it to find me.

After attending my first THATCamp (dc2014!) last Saturday, April 26th at George Washington University, I realized that the perfect first post would be any post. All I had to do was sit still and write it.

As a graduate student at George Washington University’s English Department, I’ve spent much of this last year online looking through databases as part of my ongoing research on nineteenth-century American and hemispheric literature. However, I have also found various ways to distract myself online with everything from Youtube to Twitter to Tumblr, and I have become fascinated by the ways in which people with various levels of knowledge can reach wider audiences and influence and mobilize people. While I understand and appreciate the ideals of the Ivory Tower, I would like to use and present my academic research for pedagogical use to a larger, general audience as well.

Therefore, I have started this blog with one main goal in mind: to learn about and participate more in the world of Digital Humanities. It’s a lofty goal as “digital humanities” lingers in my mind like a lofty, nebulous term. In the next few weeks and months, I will keep track of whatever knowledge I acquire about digital humanities and web development. My goals in acquiring these new skills are not grounded in a need for more money (though I’d love more) or job (though I’d love to have a well-paid one!). I am simply curious and have a lot of questions. Is there a way to translate my research and the connections I’ve been making regarding race, space, and interiority to an online database or site? What would such a project look like? What would I need to learn to make this possible? What would it mean for my research to be public in such a way? I have no answers to these questions right now, but I believe that asking these questions and asserting these new goals in the here and now is a necessary first step in moving forward in any direction.

And thus ends my first post in what I hope will be the beginning of a wonderful journey in learning new skills and getting out of my comfort zone in some fun, frustrating and rewarding ways!