As one of our class assignments for Visual Research Methods, we responded on our blogs to think about the connections, differences, or potentials for linkages between Digital Storytelling and Digital Humanities. My classmates and I discussed several interesting view points, but it was clear that many of us sensed a gulf between the projects. This gulf that I'm writing about is also a subject we have brought up in class several times, the basic question being “What exactly is the difference between the Hairdresser and Pipe-Man?” We view the digital humanist as being very engaged in a visual research method, but it is a complicated question to ask if the everyday digital storyteller is engaged in a visual research method. On Ryan's blog, a discussion over Ian Bogost's stimulating rant The Turtlenecked Hairshirt brought out several interesting questions regarding the distance between the DH scholars in the ivory tower and the every day people telling stories digitally, and whether or not that boundary should be more porous. Although we all landed in different places regarding this debate, I began to wonder what a horizontal space might look like. Where exactly is, or could be, the contact zone for digital humanists and digital storytellers to meet? For Ian Bogost, it is in the name. “If there is one reason things “digital” might release humanism from its turtle-necked hairshirt it is precisely because computing has revealed a world full of things...It's not the digital that marks the future of the humanities – it's what things digital point to: a great outdoors. A real world. A world of humans, things, and ideas” (Bogost 242). Our professor, Alex Juhasz, also had an idea about bridging this gulf. “Isn't it interesting to know what hairdressers think of Conrad?Might it be cool for you to write your essay to hairdressers and alter their reading of Conrad? Where the points of intersection and the possibilities that arise when we speak and learn both to our communities of insiders and between various communities of insiders?” If the digital points to a real world where humans purge intimate and everyday details about themselves, this is exactly where the digital storytellers are and what they are doing. This is the contact zone for the digital humanists and the digital storytellers, but where exactly can I see this contact? It is one thing to theorize the digital as the bridge that might better connect the Hairdresser with Pipe-Man, and it is another to see the connections. This paper, then, is to locate a few of these areas and try to better understand the feasibility of the projects. Before I start the map, I think it's important to note that I do think that scholars and the work they produce impacts everyone down to the hairdresser. As we read in Debates in the Digital Humanities, DH scholars are very literate and participatory in social media, forums, academic blogs, conventions and conferences. They do have a public presence, however my project is to locate specific digital humanities projects that are designed for scholars and the every day storytellers to meet, collaborate and connect. Next
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