Humanities Visualization — June 10-18, 2019

In this week, I want you to focus on the Capstone Exericse. You do not need to read or annotate any pieces this week. YOU DO have to write a blog post explaining what you've been up to this week.


In this module, we will be exploring the nuts and bolts of visualization. However, we will also be thinking about what it means to visualize 'data' from a humanities perspective. Following Drucker, we're going to imagine what it means to think about our data not as things received (ie. empirically observed) but rather as capta, as things taken/transformed.

It means visualizing and dealing with the intepretive process that got us to this point. What's more, we need to be aware of 'screen essentialism' and how it might be blinkering us to the possibilities of what humanities visualization could be. Finally, we need to be aware of the ways our digital 'templates' that we use reproduce ways of thinking and being that are antithetical to humanities' perspectives.

The following are worth reading on these issues:

I also have a number of pieces of my own archaeological work that I think provide examples of how humanistic visualization can be a driver of interpretation and understanding. For instance, one thing I am currently working on is the possibility for sound to be a better representation of humanistic data. Oh, and by the way: maps are great, but sometimes, maps of ideas are even better; check out this landscape of Folksonomy (PDF downloads in new tab). (If you have any facility with Python, you might like this library that allows you to generate similar self-organizing maps). Since Python 3 is installed in your DH Box, you're all set! (By the way, I find dabapps piece on python very helpful anytime I set out to do any Python work on my own computer.)

What you need to do this week

  1. Work on your project. You have until midnight June 18th to submit it. See the Capstone Exercise requirements. Remember that all supporting files need to be in their own GitHub repository (it is not necessary to share the Canadian war diary files, unless you have created some sort of dataset from them), while the final project itself has to be mounted on your own domain.
  2. Talk to me and talk to each other in Slack. Feel free to collaborate, but keep a record of who does what and how much.
  3. If you missed completing a module, now might also be a good time to finish it (see 2.4 of the course manual)
  4. Use the materials in this module to help make your project.
  5. Write a blog post describing what you've been up to THIS WEEK on your project (your successes, your failures, the help you may have found/received), and link to your 'faillog' (ie. the notes on your process that you upload to your GitHub).


No formal readings are assigned this week. Below you can watch a video of me sonifying a topic model of John Adam's mind.