Undergraduates and the Digital Humanities: Presenting the The Stockton Postcolonial Studies Project at Re:Humanities 12

by Svetlana Fenichel

 

In March 2012, I attended the Re: Humanities Conference ‘12 a student-run digital humanities undergraduate conference hosted by the tri-college academic community of  Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore and Haverford.

While at Re:Humanities, I presented on the Stockton Postcolonial Studies Project (SPSP), along with my colleague-researchers Stephanie Cawley (Stockton alumna) and Kimone Hyman (senior) The SPSP is a multi-platform digital humanities project comprised of individual subprojects independently researched and designed by students. in collaboration with Professor Adeline Koh. Each project addresses the subject of postcolonial studies, with current projects focusing on postcolonial feminism. Postcolonial studies encapsulates a series of theories and methodologies that have impacted disciplines as diverse as history, literature, anthropology, sociology and political economics.

The SPSP was presented during the poster session part of the Re: Humanities.  Stephanie, Kimone and I designed a poster which reflected the SPSP as a metaphor for academic translation conducted by means of active  collaboration between the students and the Professor. We argued that the Stockton Postcolonial Studies Project used postcolonial analysis as the act of translation, conducted with the use of academia and digital media, – the languages, by the student researcher, – the translator.

Other students from various parts of the country at Re:Humanities shared their innovating ideas and creative approaches to developing the field of digital humanities into a common tool of learning and teaching on the undergraduate level. Their projects varied from  proposal of a new citing style to the discussion of  advantages of digitizing street art images.  Along with that, we heard interesting presentations by Alexandra Juhasz, an author of innovatory on-line book titled “Learning from YouTube”, and Professor Katherine D. Harris, author of “TechnoRomanticism: Creating Digital Editions in an Undergraduate Classroom.” Both speakers articulated issues like sharing the digital space, quality, expertise, authorship, and possible vulnerability  stemming from public access to the produced work.

We were pleased to receive positive feedback on our work. We were approached by Professor Larry M. Lake , who teaches postcolonial theory at Messiah College, who expressed admiration for the project. Similarly, Katherine Harris and Alexandra Juhasz complimented the structure of the project, in particular the act of student collaboration and project development. We fielded questions ranging from the technological aspect of the project (which digital platform is used, what online resources it incorporates) to more context-oriented inquiries and comments as well as questions about objectives of the project, its ultimate goals, successes, structure, future projections, etc.

I found the Re:Humanities Conference to be a very enriching learning experience. Besides the interacting aspect of it, I highly valued the feedback and multiple discussions that I engaged in with both, students and Professors. My overall perception of the field of digital humanities has been significantly altered, as I became aware of limitless possibilities that the field presents.   Digital humanities are being rapidly integrated into undergraduate curriculum  and are evolving into a useful tool widely used by both Professor and students. Its ability to bridge academic disciplines helps to improve the quality of college education, as well as opens up the pool of endless opportunities for creation of innovative ideas and their materialization.

 

 

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