The problem with bringing back blogs is that Twitter is still the distribution platform. I never bothered to put analytics on this website, because to do so would be to give Google the ability to further spy on my readers and that kind of defeats the purpose of blogging in 2k20? It’s sort of like becoming a vegan and then exclusively eating vegetables from mega-corporate farms, or getting really into quinoa without attending to how you’re destabilizing Peruvian foodways or something.
I haven’t written much on here the past year or so because I’ve been directing all my writing energies toward the dissertation and other platforms (yes, some real publications, but also—mostly Twitter). I don’t really expect that to change much in the foreseeable future, but as I did just get to a pause point on my first chapter, and as I’m still in the research phase of my second, I have some time in November to push out a few blog posts. Since I’ve tried to make an effort to document my dissertation process on here, I thought I’d walk back through the c. first year or so of writing.
A friend once told me that your dissertation prospectus should be the best piece of speculative fiction you’ve ever written. An advisor concurred, observing that the prospectus is a necessary fiction that one can only hope turns out to be a useful one. In any case, given that some folks seemed to have benefitted from me sharing my qualifying exams list, I thought it might be useful to share at least the abstract to my prospectus, with a few thoughts about the mapmaking process that writing such a document entailed.
Setusko Yokoyama, Purdom Lindblad, and I started up a digital studies / digital humanities writing group this semester through the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, where Purdom works (and where I frequently haunt, playing Seadragon on my advisor’s old Apple II). The purpose of this writing group is essentially peer pressure: to guilt all of us into putting our butts in seats and getting along with the damn work of putting words on a screen. My task for myself during our first session today was to get back in the swing of blogging and put up this post reflecting on having gotten through my qualifying exam process.
There comes a time in a doctoral student’s life wherein they have to qualify to keep going on toward a dissertation. Usually it takes the form of an exam on a comprehensive list of materials. I find these lists useful and interesting not only for how they frame a field of inquiry for a person’s diss, but also how they function as snapshots of what academia looked like for a particular student at a particular time. In assembling my list (my exam’s in September), I found other folks’ lists immensely helpful in thinking about scope, framing, and blind spots. Maybe you’ll find mine to be too.
Today is my last day as Five College Post-Baccalaureate Resident in Digital Humanities.
On August 24th, Ars Technica reported that Twitter (the corporation) cut off API access to Twitter (the database) for a number of websites. These websites, Politwoops and Diplotwoops, were dedicated to archiving and displaying tweets that the official accounts of politicians, diplomats, and other governmental agencies tweeted and then deleted. From Ars’ article: