Evan Young

While a 2018-19 DH fellow, Evan was a senior English and French major at Amherst College completing the Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies Certificate. Evan gravitated to DH because of its potential for accessibility, interactivity, collaboration, and novel insight. During the 2019-2020 school year, Evan was the Post-Baccalaureate Fellow for Five College Blended Learning and Digital Humanities, at which time he supported the 2019-20 cohort of student DH fellows. Desiring a move from theory to practice, his current DH involvement focuses less on exploring what “digital” means (can a piece of writing on paper be “digital” if its structure was influenced by concepts like hyperlinking?), and more on engaging the ways that tools like Kumu, Twine, and augmented reality (AR) technology can be tools for decolonial teaching. Evan hopes to further connect his interests in ecological, social and Indigenous rights activism, literature, translation and adaptation, and DH as he continues his personal and intellectual research.

“All of it is a code anyway”

Augmenting a Literary Web for Almanac of the Dead

The principal objective of Evan’s hybrid augmented reality (AR) project is to invite readers into an interactive engagement of Laguna Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko’s 1991 novel ​Almanac of the Dead​. The project, ​“All of it is a code anyway”: Augmenting a Literary Web for Almanac of the Dead, ​strives to enable readers to more clearly locate themselves within the physical and virtual storyscapes of ​Almanac​ through the conceptualization of knotting as a narrative, structural, and conceptual framing of reality in the novel. Initially conceived as a senior honors thesis in English, the project orchestrates an intellectual framework from preexisting works by Indigenous authors and scholars whose concepts Evan perceives to resonate throughout Almanac. Notable inspiration comes from N. Scott Momaday’s “The Man Made of Words,” Daniel Heath Justice’s book Why Indigenous Literatures Matter, the poetry of Joy Harjo and Ofelia Zepeda, the art of Cecilia Vicuña, and numerous others.

Evan also draws from much of Silko’s own fiction and nonfiction writing in which she implicates the reader within the stories through sensory evocation and embedding multimedia in the form of images. In his own relationship over the past year with Almanac of the Dead, the novel often demanded an investment of Evan’s emotional and physical energy (it’s a heavy book, weighing in at around 763 pages, with small text font to boot). In response to his experience, Evan designed his project to have the primary function as a “seeing instrument,” supplying readers of Almanac with an intellectual tool to help recognize the interrelational webs of meaning present throughout the novel’s storyscapes. In addition to considering characters’ empathetic abilities to imagine more-than-human familial relations alongside notions of fluid Indigenous adaptability and survivance (Gerald Vizenor’s term), Evan’s project examines the reiterations and re-articulations of the imagined “ancient almanac” that features heavily in the novel. Evan analyzes ways in which the fictional almanac’s stories and cultural knowledge adapt, translating and transforming across space-time and across physical, virtual, and digital boundaries of medium.

Evan’s project is a digital project housed on paper. AR videos embedded in printed images throughout the text may be activated through the iPhone/Android app LifePrint.