5CollDH Inaugural Lecture Series: What Is At Stake?

The Five College Digital Humanities Lecture Series for the 2014-2015 academic year explores politics, poetics and urgency in the study of digital cultures.
Collectively, our invited lecturers are concerned with interactions between the human and the machine, and the stakes of those interactions on human expression, creativity, consciousness, and liberty. Questions of interactivity, and how interactive modes of (critical, creative, scholarly) engagement transform our relationships to larger sociopolitical issues are embedded into scholarly and artistic endeavors on some level.
Our speakers have crafted lectures on their most urgent thoughts, hopes, and frustrations regarding the contours and study of digital/network cultures. Lectures may be as expansive as examining the borders and frontiers of the digital humanities, or as concentrated as using a current project as a case study to explore a larger issue. What are the freedoms and limitations, the crucial issues, the moments of genius and failure, that are embedded in the digital and the humanistic? What is at stake?

 


Digital Selves in Phantasmal Media

On April 1st, Prof. D Fox Harrell gave a talk at Amherst College to students, faculty, and staff from the Five Colleges that explored the effects of sociocultural “phantasms” on computational medias. The lecture engaged questions of difference and representation embedded in gaming models from the level of the algorithm to the level of immersive environment.


Head-and-Shoulder Hunting in the Americas

On April 1st, Dr. Posner gave a talk at Amherst College to students, faculty, and staff from the Five Colleges that explored how lobotomies were performed, documented, and validated in visual and medical cultures. The lecture engaged questions of public health, remembrance, and the ethics of digital media testimonies.

 
 


 
 


Digital Humanities as Restorative Social Justice

On October 29th, Prof. Angel David Nieves gave a talk at Amherst College to students, faculty, and staff from the Five Colleges that explored the building of a multimodal information environment to discuss cultural practices of remembrance, reconciliation and empowerment in the South African township of Soweto. The lecture engaged the ethics of 3D historical avatar modeling, digital testimonies and witnessing, and GIS reconstructions of contested spaces in the decades that have followed and echoed South Africa’s apartheid.


(Un)loving Mechanics

On November 21st, Prof. Edmond Chang gave a talk at Smith College to students, faculty, and staff from the Five Colleges that explored the possibilities of creating a queer game and playing a video game queerly. The lecture engaged questions of embodiment, avatar customization, and confrontation in gaming environments in order to interrogate modes of ‘algorithmic normativity.’

 
 


 
 


Textual Fundamentalism and the Digital Humanities

On December 3rd, hari kumar gave a talk at Amherst College to students, faculty, and staff from the Five Colleges that explored the ways in which texts might be decolonized through performance methodologies. The lecture engaged questions of race and knowledge production in contemporary culture, with the aim of ‘decentering’ Western textualism both inside and peripheral to the academy.


Is a Critical Digital Humanities Possible?

On February 19th, Prof. Roopika Risam gave a talk at Amherst College to students, faculty, and staff from the Five Colleges that explored the implications of postcolonial studies on the digital humanities.