DHIB 2019: Quantified Self

I offered a 10-hour workshop at the Digital Humanities Institute Beirut (DHIB), 4-5 May 2019. It is a miniature version of a course I will be teaching at NYU Abu Dhabi in Fall 2019. The slides are available at Zenodo here.

Brief description: This ten-hour workshop explored elements of the contemporary “quantified self” movement and its claims to “self-knowledge through numbers” focusing on contexts outside of the West/global North. It adopted a data-centered approach to gather, analyze and visualize data about the self in order to evaluate the phenomenon critically.

Preparation for the Workshop: Check out some of the 325(!) “Show and Tell” sessions here.

Requirements: Participants should come with a laptop and a updated smartphone (iOS or Android) with plenty of charge each day.

Outcomes. Participants in this workshop will:

  1. explore basic arguments in the contemporary context of self-tracking and the datafication of human life.
  2. be exposed to relevant issues in information privacy related to device usage and commercial data aggregation.
  3. collect some data about themselves in familiar surroundings
  4. practice data storytelling techniques reusing that data (map visualization, plotting).
  5. discuss to what extent these data reflect their own life experience, or constitute “self-knowledge”.
  6. examine critically the risks and benefits of QS applications for emerging and vulnerable environments.

Breakdown

Saturday 4 May, 0900-1130 — Session 1

  • introduction to quantified self (QS) movement and to its globalization in the public & health sectors.
  • discussion of data privacy, geo-privacy, app gamification.
  • exploration of the data collection capacities of a smartphone / wearable technologies.
  • lunch exercise: observing the data collection apps already on your phone.

Saturday 4 May, 1430-1700 — Session 2

  • exploration of self-tracking apps: their functions, gamified nature, benefits and drawbacks, the exportability of data
  • working with a couple apps to set up (temporal & spatial) data collection exercise for a one day period.

Sunday 5 May, 0900-1130 — Session 3

  • debriefing about data collection: findings and shortcomings.
  • discussion of a few short passages from critical literature on QS and media studies (Maturo/Moretti; Rettberg; Wernimont; Lupton).
  • exporting the data from the apps.
  • presentation of relevant data visualization techniques.
  • lunch exercise: completing your data collection, if you haven’t already at night.

Sunday 5 May, 1430-1700 — Session 4

  • reusing that data for storytelling purposes (map visualization, plotting).
  • wrap up.

For more information, see the bibliography of my forthcoming colloquium as well as the QS bibliography and 325 Show&Tell talks.

Twenty Things to Know about #DHIB2017

Twenty Things to Know about #DHIB2017                                                 

DHIB 2017 (@DHIBeirut, dhibeirut.wordpress.com) is a moment in my career that I will look back on fondly.

I have made a list of twenty things to know about the event that took place in Beirut 10-12 March 2017, ten that I think others will be interested in, and ten personal ones.

  1. It was not the first successful international digital humanities event that has taken place in the Arab region. It was the second.
  2. It represents the convergence of two different Andrew J. Mellon Foundation funded initiatives: the Center for Arts and Humanities at AUB and the AMICAL consortium.
  3. Countries represented at DHIB 2017 were Egypt, UAE, Lebanon, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, France, Switzerland, Greece, Germany and Italy.  These are the countries of the institutions represented.  There were more nationalities present.
  4. It was the first time, to my knowledge, that instructors working in the Arab world–North Lebanon (Balamand), Beirut (AUB), Cairo (AUC)—taught DH topics together in the same venue.
  5. The participants included local universities, research centers and institutes, as well as digital humanities specialists from international organizations: IFPO, OIB and DiXiT, international libraries (Halle) and DH groups (Bard).
  6. Instructors included librarians, full-time and part-time faculty, IT and an English major.
  7. Participants included librarians, full-time faculty, IT, graduate and undergraduates.
  8. The digital humanities conversation has piqued the interest of the Centers for Teaching and Learning in the region and beyond.
  9. The courses on offer represented a spectrum of topics important to our local “big tent”:  Drupal, mapping, 3d, sound, Arabic OCR, Sustainable Text Workflows, Omeka, game design, digital pedagogy, digital editing, etc.
  10. We were able to offer the Institute at no cost to the participants.

 

Ten reasons that I loved the 2017 edition of DHIB 2017:

  1. I witnessed my fellow faculty, instructional designers and students make DH their own.
  2. The mother of an undergraduate student of mine took my workshop to find out what he has been talking about all this time.
  3. My keynote was live streamed and notes for several courses are available online.
  4. I listened to our second keynote speaker Ghassan Mourad, author of the first book about DH in Arabic, speak in Arabic about named entity extraction in Arabic.
  5. We have the best (multi-script) logo of any of the DH events I have attended (designed by @kyraneth). Available here with a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International license.
  6. One of the participants in my mapping workshop grasped the idea of the experimental nature of the DH projectvery quickly.  He went looking for data, dug into my professional website and made a map of my recent professional engagements.
  7. Both the Office of Information Technology and the Library at AUB were actively engaged in the Institute.
  8. The lightning talks were effervescent: bubbling over with practical ideas, obvious cross-institutional partnerships and feasible projects.
  9. Our closing session was held en plein air on the 2nd floor balcony of Fisk Hall, one of the heritage buildings on AUB’s green oval.  I was very pleased with the engagement of the participants.
  10. I learned so much from others.

 

General information on DHIB and DH at AUB : We began with informal events in 2011 that brought together the departments of English and Computer Science at AUB, with the support of some key people on campus who believed in the endeavor.  In 2015 we hosted the first DHIB (documents about that event are archived here). We became part of the Digital Humanities International Training Network in 2015. Other DH institutes have received participants from our institution: Oxford, Leipzig, Victoria.

 

Articles written about DHIB 2017:

AUB Faculty of Arts and Sciences
D
igital Humanities Institute Beirut 2017 – a Review

 

 

 

 

Mapping for the Digital Humanities DHIB 2017

Mapping for the Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities Institute – Beirut in March 2017 (5 hours).
@DJWrisley

Description:

This is a five-hour course that introduces basic elements of modeling spatial data for the humanities, data creation with gazetteers and making simple interactive maps with a symbology appropriate to the data.

Outcomes: 

Participants who complete this workshop will

    • understand the basics of spatial data (formats, types, accuracy).
      gain a basic appreciation for the concept of data modeling
    • learn where they can get spatial data appropriate for humanities inquiry, or how they can create it themselves.
    • gain a basic appreciation of the critical, interpretative side of making a map.
    • experiment with extracting locations from text.
    • appreciate different kinds of spatial data curation (manual, semi-automatic and automatic).
    • use geolocation services on their smartphones to generate some basic data.
    • learn to make a basic interactive map using Carto (and within a web hosting, if skill level permits).

Outline: 

(1) What are spatial data, that is, the data we need to make basic maps?  In what formats, do such data come?

(2) Where can we obtain spatial data? How can we create spatial data?  What is a gazetteer?  What is a spatial repository?

(3) Examples of digital maps projects: Edmonton Pipelines, Mapping Dante, Year of the Riot, Harlem 1935,  London Chatty Map, Slave Revolt in Jamaica, Going to the Show, Mapping the Lake District: A Literary GIS, Linguistic Landscapes of Beirut, Digital Karnak, NYT’s pick, Wandering Rocks, NoSweatShakespeare map, (LOTRLife of Maya Angelou, Novel City Maps), Photogrammar, Literary Geographies of Christine de Pizan, Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery, Mapping the Mahjar

(4) Two hands-on examples:

a. Making a map from a text in three “flavors”:  (1) manually (2) semi-automatically using TopoText and (3) automatically using a basic python script (adapted from here).

b. Making a map using data captured with smartphone apps.

(5) How can we stylize those maps and share them with others?

 

See the other spatial humanities workshops and courses I have given. And this bibliography from 2015.

CFP Digital Humanities Institute – Beirut 2016

Call for Papers/Proposals for Mini-courses DHI-B 2016

Digital Humanities Institute – Beirut
Beirut, Lebanon
18-22 January 2016

Proposals are now being accepted for presentations at a half-day colloquium and for 2-hour/4-hour mini-courses.  Both the half-day colloquium and the mini-courses will take place during the 2nd Digital Humanities Institute Beirut at the American University of Beirut (18-22 January 2016).

The colloquium will be a public event, open to the local academic community. Mini-courses will only be open to participants in DHI-B and will be required for those seeking a certificate of participation.

  1.  Presentations: The colloquium is an opportunity to present digital research and projects in all stages of development for community feedback. Proposals for presentations should range from 250 to 400 words and include any relevant visuals. We are particularly interested in topics related to the Arab world (Arabic language and literature, Arab diasporic studies, Arab-American studies, mapping MENA, Arabic corpora), but any subject related to the wider Digital Humanities is welcome.  Submissions will be accepted from all levels of participants: students, instructional technology, librarians, alt-academics, staff, independent researchers and faculty.  Presenters should plan for speaking a maximum of 15 minutes with ample time for collective discussion.  Only presenters in attendance at the DHI-B will be allowed to present.  Proposals will be accepted for presentations in English, Arabic and French.
  2.  Mini-courses: In addition to the week-long workshop in which each participant is enrolled, there will be another opportunity to acquire digital humanities skills and knowledge.  The mini-courses will be in the form of one 4-hour session or two 2-hour sessions offered over two separate afternoons. These mini-courses should be thought of a crash course for total beginners and they should include some hands-on with focus on a specific digital humanities-related concept, skill or tool.  Ideas we have for this already include a quick introduction to mobile game development, WordPress for course development, an introduction to LaTeX, a fast introduction to stylometry, learning how to use an API.  Proposals for mini-courses should range from 500-750 words.  Please be specific in your proposal about what format you would like (2 or 4 hours), what kind of space you require and provide us with a preliminary course outline.  Proposals will be accepted for mini-course to offered in English, Arabic and French.

Please submit proposals by 1 November by 11:59pm (GMT+3) to dhibeirut@gmail.com.  The program committee of DHI-B will review the submission and notify authors by 15 November 2015.

For more information, contact David Wrisley dw04 (at) aub (dot) edu (dot) lb or dhibeirut@gmail.com.