Category Archives: DH Project

Fifth Piece of the Puzzle

The text I would like to use in my final project is  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Since I am interested in having students examine history as a memory, combining local with national and world history, the story of a young pilot would allow students to look at these aspects through a personal narrative. His story combines the personal with the national and extends the commentary to broader historical questions.

Students will examine the text through close reading, asking questions, collecting quotes, and keywords. They then will research other places in the war, listen to interviews with WWII veteran pilots, and read transcripts to ask questions and draw conclusions regarding the effects of the war on the war and on the home-front from the perspective of the pilots and the people who remained home.

Fourth Piece of the Puzzle

Select an image or video file that is related to your final project idea. Post it in your blog and describe why you chose it and how it might be difficult for students and others to make sense of.

The image I consider using as part of my  final project is the photo of a young 16-year-old German boy being captured. He was an German anti aircraft soldier of the Hitler Youth.

This photo appears on the World War II Pictures in Details blog that hosts hundreds of WWII photographs from around the world. However, the photo also appears on the Rare Historical Photos site. I chose this image as an introduction into the war and its uncommon and uncomfortable details. Students will be reading Unbroken, learning about the U.S. presence in the war not just from the political stance, but also from the human perspective, and they will be considering how it connects to their hometown and its flight training school. I feel that this image will first parachute students in the middle of the events of the war.

Step 1: Students will be asked to examine the photograph and create their own details  and narrative of it. I will ask them to think about, Who is on the photo? Where was it taken? Who took the photograph? They will then share and discuss their findings. I anticipate that students might be confused about the identity of the young boy. However, if they guess his German uniform, they might have a variety of explanations of why he is crying. Dating the photo might also be difficult, although if students study the timeline of WWII, they might place the photo toward the end of the war.

Step 2: I will ask students to revise their narrative based on the discussions they had after the first look at the photo. Then I will provide them with a variety of clues to expand the narrative. At this point, it would be interesting to see if dividing the class into four groups and giving a different set of clues to each would make a significant difference in the outcome of the narratives. I might ask each group to formulate one common narrative they agree on as a group.

Step 3: Groups  will share their narratives and as a class discussion, we will discuss and decide which one seems most likely. Then, I will share the websites and the full story with students along with a few more of the photos taken of the same young boy, which in turn will create the final discussion of the photo. I am interested in hearing how after viewing the other photographs, they would consider adding on to their narratives.

Step 4: Student will write a reflection on the process of thinking about the image and what assumptions they may have had. I will be interested in seeing how their historical thinking manifests in viewing the photo from the understanding of the present and perhaps reflecting on how they would have behaved or made choices of their own. Also, I would hope to see their thinking as they consider living in Germany during WWI in contrast to looking back on it from the 21st century. Additional questions might be reflected upon: Does the fact that the boy is crying make him seem more innocent? How would students’ opinion of the boy be different if he were resisting, showing anger, or smiling?

Step 5: Students will write a journal entry or a letter home from the boy’s perspective in which they relay the events leading up to the photo being taken.

 

Mapping Dubliners – Two Gallants

For my Digital Humanities final project, I wanted to work with a text of a literary classic to see how DH can interpret, re-visualize, or present a new perspective about a book that has been analyzed by many scholars. Dubliners  by James Joyce was an easy choice since it takes the reader to a multitude of locations within the stories told. In Joyce’s words: “My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis. ” (Letters, vol. 2,134)

Dubliners is a collection of 15 stories that depict a variety of characters as Joyce paints their portraits of life in the Irish capital. He focuses on both children and adults of the middle class: housemaids, shop girls, clerks, teachers, students, swindlers, and businessmen. Through these moments of experiences, Joyce holds up  a mirror for the Irish to observe and study themselves. Joyce’s stories not only allow us to peek into the homes, but also reveal the hearts and minds of these Irish whose lives as they intermingle through the space of Dublin reflect its spirit. The subtle social and cultural connections create a sense of shared experience and evoke a map of Dublin and its life. The story of “Two Gallants” from Dubliners provides the most locations in the entire book, so I started there.

Methodology

I began by reading  the digital copy of Dubliners available in Project Gutenberg and marked the locations mentioned in the story of “Two Gallants” using Diigo, which allowed me to save a list of locations.

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VOYANT

I have uploaded the story into Voyant to see the text around the street names. Also I was interested in the various association of characters to places and spoken or narrated words.

Viewing the Cirrus function, it became evident that Corley and Lenehan, the two characters wondering around the streets of Dublin are of the utmost importance of the story. These two names have topped the list of words most frequently appearing.

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Next, I have explored Voyant’s “Links” tool to examine the connections of the two main characters and their actions or the most common words linked to their names as a way to conjure meaning.

I was interested in further looking at Corley, since his name came up the most – 46 times. The “Bubblelines” function provided me with a linear graph of the name’s frequency, which is more applicable when we think of how stories are told in a similar fashion. The “Trends Graph” gave another view of Corley’s appearance in the story.

Using an Excel spread sheet, I have assembled the dataset including names of characters, locations (the story names streets, squares, lawns, colleges), longitude and latitude of those locations, and added the action or dialogue taking place.  The coordinates finder site allowed me to search up those numbers, which after I organized and listed in Excel was able to upload into CartoDB and Palladio.

CartoDb’s wizard function in the Map View allows the dataset to visualize over the map of Dublin showing the locations mentioned in “Two Gallants.”

The Cluster function of CartoDB shows the actual locations on the map of Dublin. By hovering over the points, the name of the character and the action that had taken place at that location in the story will appear.

CartoDB Heat map gives a progressive look at the movement of the characters in the story. It is projected over a night map of Dublin,
which makes it visually more relevant since the story takes place at night.

Analysis: this project shows the very beginning of how DH might explore literary texts with a variety of purposes. My project ends here with questions and possibilities for further steps:

  • How to continue?
  • What can be gained?
  • Who might be interested?
  • What more can we learn about the characters?
  • How have these locations changed?
  • Should the project expand to link photographs of the locations?
  • Should the information include what sorts of activities happen in those areas of Dublin today? Do they differ from the activities during Joyce’s time?
  • Would crowdsourcing be a useful contribution to the project?
  • As a different approach or addition to the project, a twenty-first century Dublin could be constructed and linked to Joyce’s Dublin as it appeared in 1914.

Other Projects on Mapping Dubliners