academia, UCSB

The Mean Reds of Week 10

It hasn’t actually been that long since my last post, but it seems like ages since so much has happened and much will be happening in the next few weeks  (why does it feel like I write that a lot?).

The last week of February saw the successful design charrette for the Transliteracies RoSE Project. What initially seemed like it would be a long and nervous day for me (so many respected names in the digital humanities in one room!) turned out to be incredibly exciting and fruitful day of presentations from our project leader (Alan Liu), programmers, research groups, and research assistants. It was great to finally put faces to the disembodied voices of graduate students, many of which came from all over the UCs, that had been present at our meetings all year, and to see everyone’s hard work presented in such a well-received, and stream-lined manner. The feedback we received from our amazing guests and respondents were equally critical and thoughtful and delivered in the most constructive way imaginable. I think they will really help us to re-consider some of the directions that we may choose to pursue with this project.

We got tremendously positive compliments on the event, and many thanks to the great team of people, especially the other project coordinators, Lindsay Thomas and Chris Hagenah, for making the event run so smoothly. We’ll have one last meeting next week, and *fingers crossed* that we can move forward with this in some way shape or form!

Last Thursday, March 4, was the Day of Action at all the UC campuses and across the country. At UCSB, there was a well-attended rally (which I attended) with highly impressive, very eloquent speakers (both graduate, undergraduate, staff, politicians, etc.) who came out and spoke (incited rage, boosted solidarity, and then some!) about the current budget crisis and it’s ridiculous effects on the students, faculty, and staff of the UCs, community colleges, and the K-12 education in this state. In addition, there was heated discussion and condemnation of the recent string of racist and homophobic incidents at different UC campuses. And that afternoon there was a march Downtown. It didn’t really compare with other marches across the state that shut down freeways, but for Santa Barbara, it was damned impressive!

Who know what these rallies and marches will accomplish, but the current state of affairs cannot continue. The cost of an education in this state has doubled since I started at UCSD in 2000. Faculty and staff are taking pay cuts, staff are being laid off left and right, and our security as students and educators becomes more precarious every day. Something’s gotta change, and soon.

Later this week, my frolleague, Amanda Phillips, and I will be presenting a project on the “networked novel,” “Flight Paths.” The project itself uses several tools to look at networks in a collaborative on-line writing project. “Flight Paths” has proven to be a fascinating example to look at, since its authors originally solicited feedback and contributions via the CommentPress system and this played out quite differently from the ways it’s been used by theorists and academics like McKenzie Wark or Noah Wardrip-Fruin. I admit we didn’t know much (or anything) about the text or the creative process that went into making the final product, aside from a recommendation from a professor, and we’ve had several surprises along the way, including some misgivings on the part of the class instructor. We’ll see how this turns out…

This Saturday, March 13, I’ll be attending the THATCamp SoCal unconference in Los Angeles with my fellow UCSB digital humanist, Amanda. I’m not quite sure how this will unfold, but I’m looking forward to meeting other people interested in the same subjects and getting some dialogue going.

Here’s my vague little blurb about what I’m hoping to be able to talk about with other people:

I’m interested in the “vast narrative,” the “transmedia story,” or how different texts in various media can contribute to a larger cohesive narrative, and how these narratives can have particular relevance for activism or education (possibly for issues of labor and migration). These different media can include literature, film, television, graphic novels/comic books, digital sites, social media, etc.

And this excitement will be followed by a mini-vacation (to be full of reading, film viewings, and writing), then a presentation of my initial dissertation prospectus (gah!), and my first seminar in Chicano Studies on immigration and labor. Woo!

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