My Refined Project Idea

  • Project Name
    • The Representation of Anthracite Coal Miners: An Artistic Movement
  • Project Summary
      • “Through analyzing different forms of artistic mediums, I will identify the ways in which coal miners have been represented and the impact of their lives on the anthracite region.”
      • Areas: Northumberland, Luzerne, Schuylkill, Lackawanna, Columbia, and Carbon
        • In 8 weeks, I want to create a multimedia platform that includes artwork, poems/brief stories, songs, monuments, photography, and possibly film representing coal miners. I would also like to get audio clips from citizens from each area in the coal region.
        • I want to use my ideas of social memory and spatial memory while outlining the importance of where the monuments are situated.
        • I think Scalar would be the best platform to display all of my media. I would include forms of text analysis on the poems, brief stories, and songs. I would also like to do some sentiment visualizations with the songs. I want to create some data visualizations as well.  
        • My audience will be the people of the anthracite region. I want to show a collection of the representation of coal miners to the people who chose to remember the coal miners, or those who maybe did not choose to remember (Shamokin).
  • Environmental Scan
    • My project mapping monuments, “Shamokin and Coal Township: An Interactive Map” is the only useful website I could find.
    • There are really no other similar projects, except some authors discuss the representation or do a “study” of the “Appalachian” region.
    • This project will focus on anthracite coal miners, and include an abundance of different artistic representations.
  • Requirements for Development
    • Copyright Concerns: song lyrics, poems/stories, photography
    • I can go to the different historical societies of each region and online databases to find some of the materials.
    • I will need resources on the ideas of social memory. I would also like some books on art aesthetic theory.
    • The coal miners union
    • PA state records: WPA
  • Bulleted List of Deliverables
    • Find at least three examples of each artistic element: artwork, monuments, photography, poems/stories, and songs for each of the six counties
    • Gather audio clips from at least two people from each of the six counties
    • Analyze the representations, using Marx, social memory, spatial memory theories
    • Create a scalar website
        • Include the media components
        • Use text analysis tools on the songs and poems/stories
        • Use sentiment analysis tools on the song lyrics
        • Use theories to discuss artwork, monuments, and photography
      • Critique bad or feteshized representations of coal miners
      • Include a brief history of anthracite coal miners
  • End of Life/Future Plans
    • This project could easily be added upon. One could continue finding different artistic representations in the anthracite region, or begin researching other coal regions of PA or other states. Then, it could be connected with different coal regions from around the world.
    • Also, the monuments could be mapped, like my first research project, and one could research each town individually.

 

As I begin looking over my bulleted list of deliverables and thinking about how I could refine my project, I believe my scope will instead be my media. I will use only three different mediums – written & visual art and newspapers. My area will be the anthracite region broadly conceived and I think I will use the timelines of 1900-1930 and 1970 to present to look at how miners were represented during the height of the coal mining industry and after the fall of the industry. I believe this will not limit my research and not overwhelm me either, since I will be finding information through newspapers and artifacts that interest me in terms of written and visual art.

Recapping Week 1

After months of planning and anticipation, DSSRF 2017 got off to a great start this past week. Our four fellows are full of energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity. One of the things that’s interesting about our cohort is that Tyler and Justin have some background in digital scholarship and digital humanities, while Rennie and Minglu are completely new to the field. Yet they’ve all already shown a willingness to engage in deep discussions with each other about their project ideas, making suggestions about different methods and tools that could be useful. One of my favorite examples of this came when Rennie was explaining his project idea, which involves analyzing player performance and overall team performance in the NHL during the 2016-17 season. He intends to use statistics and data visualization techniques in his project, but Justin also suggested the possibility of analyzing footage from games using video annotation software as another means of gathering data. These kinds of interactions happened many times over the course of the week, and the students have modeled honest, thoughtful feedback with each other.

Week 1 was a bit of a whirlwind in terms of content, and we challenged the students to think deeply about the advantages, challenges, and values of digital scholarship. We watched Miriam Posner’s excellent video, “How Did They Make That?”, which helped us gain a better understanding of how we move from a research question to applying digital tools and methods to answer that research question. And while we haven’t started our in-depth training with various tools yet, we asked students to find a tool (one we won’t be learning) that might apply to their research area and demonstrate it for the group.

  • Tyler showed us Lexos, a powerful tool for text cleaning and basic text analysis.
  • Rennie demoed RAWGraphs, an online suite of data visualization tools.
  • Minglu compared StoryMap JS and ESRI StoryMaps, both which allow for a combination of mapping and other elements.
  • Justin introduced us to ELAN, a multimedia annotation tool.

Finally, inspired by a reading of the Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0, we gave our students 45 minutes on their own to write (as a group) their own digital scholarship manifesto. Their only prompt was these two questions: What are your goals for the summer as a cohort? How will you support one another in these goals? You can read what they wrote on the main page of this website. I don’t want to speak for Courtney, but I was deeply impressed with the thoughtfulness of their message, their commitment to supporting each other, and their openness to learning throughout the process. I think we can all learn something from their closing statement:

“We will fail. We will reject that failure carries negative connotations. We will succeed. We will disagree, and we will become stronger as a group because of this. We will gain knowledge in areas in which we have never before dabbled. Life is richest when we become good at many things, and there is no doubt our lives will be enriched through this program.”

And now we move on to Week 2, when we dive into the world of text analysis and TEI!

The DSSRF 2017 Cohort: Tyler Candelora ’19, Rennie Heza ’18, Minglu Xu ’20, and Justin Guzman ’19, with librarians Courtney Paddick and Carrie Pirmann. Photo courtesy of Ben Hoover.

A Digital Scholarship Journey

As I begin another wonderful dive into the world of Digital Scholarship, I am incredibly happy to be working in part with the Digital Scholarship and Pedagogy department at Bucknell University as a summer research fellow. I was immediately intrigued with this research position because of my consistent work with digital projects and tools. The breadth of digital humanities is immense; projects can range from departments in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, etc. Also, considering digital humanities is becoming a more significant study, there are new developments and platforms for analysis that open up different research questions and interdisciplinary studies.

JFK Memorial

During the summer of 2016,  I conducted research on my hometown, in the Pennsylvania Coal Region. Particularly, I was studying the cultural significances of Shamokin and Coal Township by analyzing ten monuments. As a result, I created an interactive map of the monuments using the geo-spatial plugin Neatline with all of my metadata saved on Omeka. Also, I have worked with the Coal Collections research team, recently investigating the various immigrant groups in the anthracite coal regions of Pennsylvania during the Spring 2017 semester.

I wanted to continue my research in the Coal Region and using monuments as a medium for uncovering historical trends and cultural values. However, for my project during the summer of 2017, I want to add new additional digital tools and expand my scope past Shamokin and Coal Township. Since my previous research is easily able to be added too, I have currently decided to investigate monuments in surrounding Coal Region towns: Mount Carmel, Ashland, Kulpmont, Minersville, Frackville, etc. However, I have to narrow my scope to specific towns, most likely, Minersville and Mount Carmel. Recently, I wrote an academic essay theorizing why Shamokin, notable for coal production, did not have any monuments to miners. Thus, I am looking for monuments to miners in other coal region towns and analyzing their perceptions of miners.

The Hiker

After analyzing other monuments in the Coal Region, I would like to investigate monuments dedicated to miners cross-culturally, if possible. I would like to research miners in Chile’s mining districts and how they are perceived and, if they are, memorialized by the citizens.

While researching monuments to miners, I want to incorporate other depiction of miners too. For example, paintings, poetry, and photography, that reveal the sentiments of community members, whether they were criticisms or romantic representations of coal miners.

(I think adding audio components of citizens from the Coal Region explaining how they view[ed] coal miners would be helpful too)

I am excited to begin learning more visualization techniques, especially Gephi and Google Fusion Tables. I would like to add to my map on Neatline, but I do not want to repeat my previous research. I hope to have informative data visualizations and display all the information in a coherent fashion through Scalar or digital story maps. I have really enjoyed all the meetings and work our facilitators have put into this fellowship and my colleagues advice. I am eager to begin this in-depth project, but I know I need to better define my research question and narrow my scope.