Thanks for Dropping By . . .

Welcome to Day of DH 2010.  This is my first post, and I’ve created an about page, too.

More from me on the 18th!

My Typical Morning

If I can, then I almost always start my day with some reading—usually print stuff.  This morning, that meant selections from Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind, and earlier this week I read Funkhouser’s great Prehistoric Digital Poetry and Suisman’s and Strasser’s collection, Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.  In the morning, I usually read at home, if I can.   And then I take a bus to the University of Washington’s Seattle campus, where I’ve got an office at the Simpson Center for the Humanities.  En route, on the bus, I usually write a few emails, check Twitter and FB, and catch up on a few RSS feeds (always Planet DHASS).    On a really good day, all of the morning’s emailing can be done during the bus trip.  That’s rare, tho.

Right now, I’m on a bit of a writing spree, with a few deadlines on the horizon, so the office on campus looks like this:

Jentery's Office

There are a few overdue books in there, no doubt.

When I settle down with some coffee,   I try to write for at least two hours, often three or four (if I’m lucky).  At the moment, writing = a dissertation chapter.   In the last six months or so, it’s also included writing a book review, a column, and a book chapter for a digital collection; designing/coding a couple of websites; and completing fellowship applications.

So my perspective for at least a third—more often a half of my day—is this:

Jentery's Computer

Indeed, I’m a PC type.   However, I’ll use a Mac for video and audio design.  More in the afternoon . . .

And Maybe an Atypical Afternoon

Unlike my average afternoon, today has been incredibly asocial.  I’ve been writing for about seven hours now and am doing my best to wrap it up.

More on actually working with humans soon.  I swear it happens.

On Working with the Humans

Let's TalkEven though I study literature and the history of technology, I really like mingling with the human types.  Yet today, that was not the case so much, if only because this week is exams week at the UW.  (We’re on the quarter system.)  Given I don’t offer exams in my classes (I rely on the portfolio and project-based approach), exams week is usually uneventful and set aside for some intense writing madness.

So when, where, and how do the humans figure in?  Usually in the afternoons.  Earlier I wrote about my mornings, which typically mix reading and writing.  Alone-ish.  But in the afternoons, I generally transition to teaching, organizing DH-related events on campus, and working a touch off campus, too.

This quarter, that’s meant:

Mix those together in one way or another, add email and those social networks, and you’ve got my typical afternoon.  The day ends around 9 or so.

Staying Sane

Throughout my graduate studies, I’ve maintained a hobby or two for sanity’s sake.  I think if I spent all of my energies on writing, researching, and teaching, then I’d get exhausted really fast.  Not to mention myopic.

The hobbies?  Snowboarding and playing drums for a modest rock act.

Mt. Baker

Me on the Drums

During the winter, I try to go the mountains as often as the schedule will allow (usually on the weekends).  And about once or twice a week, I play music with the friends.  It’s fun.

In the summer, soccer and squash.  I’m incredibly excited to watch the World Cup games this June and July.  The first game begins on the last day of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at UVic.

Other than that, I’m highly likely to end my day with a movie.  Or an episode of The Twilight Zone.  I’ve got every one of them (157 total?) on DVD. Tonite, it’s The Hurt Locker.  Finally, right?

But one more entry before I go . . .

The Average Questions

Over the last couple of years or so, here are the DH-related questions I’ve been unpacking:

  • How do we effectively bridge technical competencies with critical theory?
  • What might a cultural studies approach to data storage look like?
  • For universities that do not have formal DH programs or departments, how does DH function in other departments (like English, history, and media studies)?
  • How, for whom, and why should I produce a digital dissertation?
  • How might those in the humanities think more about collaborative approaches to research, and perhaps historicize and better theorize those approaches?
  • And how does a DH scholar approach sound, its cultural and material histories,  and its preservation, visualization, and curation on the web?

My dissertation, which is a cultural history of magnetic recording (1860-present), picks up a number of these questions.  As for the balance: I’ve just been wrangling with them in the classroom, during colloquia, and through conversations with good friends.

Thanks to everyone who organized and participated in Day of DH 2010!  I enjoyed it, and I hope to hear from you soon.