Bodies of Information and Data Visualization

In the introduction of Bodies of Information, the author says the significance of field of digital humanities and how this filed can work with politics around the world in nowadays. Some critics say the logic of digital humanities will work for the perspective of neoliberalism and this idea would be served for traditional white male discourse instead of issue of class, gender, and race. What the author wants to say is that this idea would be possible to speak for the feminist perspective. The author explains in the field of digital humanities, the gender fluidity can be found in every aspect. For this reason, the author says that digital humanities would be possible to work with various discourses of political agenda nowadays. The author’s idea on digital humanities is that it has been examined with various disciplines including sociology, anthropology, and other fields. It has allowed expanding the boundaries of the concept of texts and instead of just focusing on an issue of technological sphere, it entails the issues of various political issues. The author discusses various issues on materiality, and values of theory on woman issue. The author also says that this idea of innovation by DH is important, but we also should think about how to maintain this perspective of DH afterwards. This idea reminded me of the article that I read “Using a Feminist Digital Humanities Approach Critical Women’s History through Covers of Black Coffee.’” This article deals with the music record of black woman, and examines the issue of feminism by the aids of digital technology. In this respect, we can find that DH would be able to use for political situations nowadays.

Lauren F. Klein’s article deals with how the examination of textuality can influence the understanding of the meaning of the text. She deals with the letters of Thomas Jefferson which has been sent to William Evans, and from this writings, she explains the relationship between Jefferson and people around him. The method of examining this issue is done by Digital Edition, and instead of focusing on the contents of the texts, it focuses on the extra-textual information to explain the meaning of the text and supports how using technology would be possible to examine the issue of class in that era. What he suggests is that although digital humanities are not yet prepared to answer the humanistic questions, it can actually aids us to decide how to respond to the questions around us. The depiction of arc to represent the frequency of contacts as to Jefferson and his acquaintance seems interesting, as it shows well how the social relationship around him can be examined through the help of technology. She also emphasizes the importance of visual aspect of texts and how this way of looking text can be helpful to understand the issue of race in Jefferson’s writing. Personally, focusing on the materiality of text seems important nowadays. As study on media has been emphasized recently, I want to ask whether this concept would be related to the idea of McLuhan’s study on media. As he also focused on the change of medium and contents of text also can be conveyed through medium, I would like to ask the possible connection between his idea and study on materiality of text.

A Fragmented Record

I too was struck by Klein's article, especially her depiction of silences in the archive, her use of Foucault, and building on last week's discussion of postcolonialism. Her observations on data visulatization, especially her documentation of Jefferson's correspondences with the Hemings, shows the level of relationship that is so often untold and Hemings' work went silent until this rediscovery.

I also can't help but consider the fragments, ciphers, and silences in the archive. This is where I consider DH to have the most important work. As my final project involves correspondences, I can't help but think how I am reshaping the narrative and wonder if I am doing it justice. There are a lot of ways to repeat the sins of imperialism, rewriting the silences narratives again in a voice not their own and I think DH is evolving and trying not to repeat those mistakes, but rewrite fixed silences, show ignored narratives and create the active archive Klein alludes to.

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