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Saturday, February 29 • 1:00pm - 2:15pm
Applied Digital Humanities: DH, Outreach, and Data Advocacy

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Chair: Brooke Foti Gemmell

Gabriella Soto, "Border Matters: (Dis)assembling the contested border using the tools of digital humanities"
The Trump Administration’s proposed border wall has been a subject of many recent news headlines and ongoing national debate. There is a struggle to imagine what this wall will mean for migrant life and death, for border communities, the environment, and the security of the United States. Will the proposed monumental construction truly “secure the border”, and what does a secure border mean anyways? The near-complete digital humanities website, Border Matters, will allow visitors to explore these questions for themselves in the context of the already complete border wall built from 2006 to 2009 in southern Arizona—the highly traversed region of the US-Mexico border that has been 80 percent walled for over a decade. With the border wall as a starting point to conceptualize the militarization of the border and the strategic logic of border security, this regional case study will serve as a window to explore what those things really mean on-the-ground. Principally, the interactive components of the website will allow visitors to assemble and disassemble the wall’s effects: on processes of border crossing, patterns of migrant death along the border, wilderness land management, and the activities of those who seek to help migrants. The name of the website, Border Matters, is a literal prelude to the website content drawing from the material matters of the border—from the survival toolkits carried by migrants, the water stations created by humanitarian groups, the cleanups of the belongings left behind in border crossings, and the infrastructure of border “control.” This website integrates three elements of digital storytelling: story maps, timelines, and audio-visual content. In this presentation, I will take audience members through the website content, seeking feedback preceding its public launch in spring 2020. 

Jordan McMillan, "Accountability through Inquiry: Tools for Analyzing Understandings of Gun Violence"
We know that gun violence is considered an epidemic in the United States. However, media attention and  
legislative agendas focus primarily on mass shootings, leaving out the greatest sources of gun violence: suicides (that comprise 2/3 of all gun violence) and homicides (that disproportionately impact people of color). Additionally, it is not widely understood that 54% of mass shooting cases are related to domestic and family violence.

The problem of gun violence in the U.S. is clear, but entrenched social inequality influences how the public receives and interprets information about it. My proposed DH presentation topic, Accountability through Inquiry: Tools for Analyzing Understandings of Gun Violence, will address the problem of inequality in representations of gun violence in two ways. First, an ongoing digital exhibit will walk participants through an analysis of gun violence prevention activities and rhetoric from 2012 to present. Second, the project will house a repository of publicly available writings on gun violence alongside a toolkit for teaching methods of content and discourse analysis. The tool kit can be used in undergraduate research methods courses, community engagement programs, or by interested individuals and professionals.

Stefan Schoberlein, "The Movable Project: Archiving and Highlighting Recovery in Appalachia"
This presentation hopes to solicit feedback and engage with fellow DH scholars about the Movable Project, a geospatially oriented platform that hopes to share, highlight, and document stories of recovery from substance use disorder from Appalachia and beyond. The project, funded by the West Virginia Humanities Council and an opioid response grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is currently in its final stages of developed and will go live towards the end of October (an early placeholder draft, before significant redesign, is available on movableproject.org). The first roll-out of the site is focused on usability, advocacy for the recovery community, as well as preservation of the perspectives and voices of people most directly affected by the opioid epidemic. While we’ve had extensive feedback from the recovery community, we’re hoping CTDH 2019 would allow us to engage with fellow DH scholars (especially those working outside of Appalachia) to open up the project to more research-based inquires in the future. Our next grant application aims to not only expand the scope of the archive in terms of content but also turn it into a more explicitly scholarly tool that is more welcoming to questions of distant reading, macroanalysis, and stylometry. We believe CTDH would be a wonderful opportunity to begin this conversation.     


Gabriella Soto

Trinity College

Jordan McMillan

University of Connecticut

Stefan Schoberlein

Marshall University

Saturday February 29, 2020 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
LITC 181