Dr Tara McPherson, School of Cinematic Arts, University Southern California
Scholarship across scales: humanities research in a networked world
This talk looks at the connections and tensions between the “digital” and the “humanities” in order to argue that we need more humanities scholars to take seriously issues in the design and implementation of software systems. Humanities scholars are particularly well suited to help us think through such topics as the status of the archive as it mutates into the database, the possibilities for less hierarchical computing, and the cultural contexts of code. In short, this talk argues that neither theorizing media nor building new technologies is sufficient onto itself; we must necessarily do both.
As a concrete example of the relationship of theory to practice, I will look at the work our USC team has undertaken over the last decade, including the digital journal, Vectors, and the new multimodal authoring platform, Scalar. Our research has always been in direct dialogue with key issues in the interpretative humanities, including discussions of race, gender, sexuality, social justice and power. Can such a dialogue come to shape the practice of software design?
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