Guest Editing at Digital Humanities Now While Mourning the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 I spent a particularly difficult week as a volunteer editor-at-large for DHNow. As I write this blog entry, I have gone through several stages of grief in light of Donald Trump’s election. Earlier this year, my family and I took citizenship oaths and were thrilled to be living some form of the American Dream. The excitement of casting my first vote on Tuesday afternoon was soon replaced by shock, denial, and bargaining Tuesday evening. Waking up on Wednesday morning, I felt like I was reliving the feelings I had as an adolescent brown person in New York after 9/11. My mother is a nurse who has coworkers married to cops who advised my father, a traveling physical therapist, to shave his beard to avoid being perceived as being a terrorist. It’s been 15 years and this week I’ve been battling similar feelings of fear, anxiety, and inefficacy at the knowledge that the president elect came into power with messages and endorsements of misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Although I was too dazed and distraught to participate, I am grateful to Dr. Brier and Dr. Rhody for forgoing our scheduled topic in order to allow our class to share our thoughts and feelings on the day after the election. During this past week, I attended a rally at Washington Square Park. I also attended the event “Process/Mourn/Activate” at the Brooklyn Museum hosted by BUFU and the Yellow Jackets Collective. Before breaking up into groups for artists, researchers, healers, and musicians, the hosts set up some ground rules involving checking our privilege, checking and respecting people’s boundaries and identities, and centering the voices of people normally marginalized. I heard a young woman in a beret confess that she and her friends no longer feel safe wearing hijabs. I spoke with some journalists and filmmakers of color who shared in my anguish at the election results. At the same time, we kept in mind another point emphasized by the organizers: “Trauma begets trauma. We’re here to share our skills and resources.”

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 All of this is to say, my judgment and curatorial choices as volunteer editor-at-large for Digital Humanities Now were very much informed (clouded?) by the trauma of the beginning of the week. Like Gregory, I read and referred to  Jenna’s excellent guide on PressForward during my stint as volunteer editor-at-large at Digital Humanities Now. The seemingly endless stream of content I faced was less daunting having her tips to refer to. Fortunately, we were already familiar to the PressForward through our blog. The only difficulty I had with the site was how slowly the stream would load and refresh in dashboard view. In looking at this stream of material, I was struck by how different it was from the curated content of the feed on my news apps or my Facebook which I’m aware is mediated to keep my (determined) interest.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 In nominating content, I tried to select material that would be of interest in light of our readings, discussions, and recent un-ignorable events. Our discussion in the last class touched on how to move forward as DH practitioners, how to become and remain politically engaged and to do work that has relevance and serves as a public good.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Although I am not a teacher, this is an excellent article which promotes the encouragement of humility and support rather than competition in mentorship. Estee Beck and Mariana Grohowski also espouse an ethic of care inspired by feminist philosopher Nel Noddings which “assumes the position of reflectivity, not necessarily reciprocity” echoing the position we were encouraged to assume at “Process/Mourn/Activate.” Janine Morris’s “Watson Session A3: Mobilizing Digital Feminist Rhetorical Theory and Practice” discusses several presentations how we can engage with technology while practicing self-care, reflection, and rhetorical listening. Among the presentations discussed is Kristin Ravel’s “Ethics and Digitality: A Feminist Rhetorical Approach to Social Networking Spaces” which discusses how our social media feeds are mediated and mediate us and urges a valuing of emotional labor. She also summarizes Allegra Smith’s “Please Internet Responsibly: Rhetorical Feminist Methodologies for a Digital Age” which outlines a way of engaging with the internet so that one does not simply cement existing power relations but reflect critically. Her discussion of Smith’s methodology in her research on the male gaze in pornography is a great example of embodied research: Smith recorded herself responding to the videos she discusses in her text.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 I also nominated two articles discussing Pokémon Go. In “Beyond dinosaurs and Pokémon Go: how AR is being used to deliver enhanced educational experiences“, Matt Ramirez discusses the potential of augmented reality features in the fields of archaeology and music production and alludes to its capacity for educating beyond. In “The 2016 Election as Casual Game: Pokémon Go, FiveThirtyEight, and the Paradoxes of the Quantified Citizen“, Elizabeth Losh discusses her participation in the seduction of digital dreamscape provided by Pokémon Go (which dissolves gender, ethnic, and class lines) while simultaneously examining the relationshipbetween game theory and political process. These discussions echo a sentiment attributed to Jane Mcgonigal by the members of the panel discussion, “Preserving the Creative Culture of the Web” that video games have the potential to solve–and I would add conceive of– our world’s most pressing problems.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 By now I’ve read endless reflections on and examinations of the election and how it came to pass. I decided to pass forward (PressForward?) texts that have given me some purpose and direction as a student of DH. Two projects I encountered on Digital Humanities Now, Early African American Film and  Ellas Tienen Nombre illustrate how DH practices can serve to make witnesses of practitioners and audiences to historical events. The Internet Archive is currently calling for submissions to build the  2016 U.S. Presidential Election Web Archive.

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  1. Posted November 17, 2016 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    It was so hard last week to proceed as if nothing had changed. I appreciate your working your personal experiences of last week into your post. <3

  2. Posted July 29, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately things will get worse for American muslims as long as that despot trump is in power

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