Cassie Bentley

  • I just love this idea! This would be SO useful!

  • Sarah, something that I might make this project even better might be a comparison/contrast tool to other similar battles from the war? I’m not super familiar with this particular battle or war, but could there be interactive tidbits added that show differences and similarities with others? Or maybe even built-in assessment tools and lesson plans…[Read more]

  • I am so bad at creating things. Beyond my love for writing, I hate having to create anything. I am the epitome of a Pinterest fail. So, with that in mind, it’s probably pretty obvious that this assignment has b […]

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling with budget. I thought about Googling the going rate for things and trying to figure it out that way. That’s pretty much how I figured out the budget for a low-budget horror film I worked on a couple of summers ago. There’s probably a better way and I’d definitely like to hear it! But for now, I’m starting with what I know.

  • Tonya,

    You make several great points to which I can definitely relate.

    I think everyone felt a sense of deja vu in the reading this week. The debate of Digital Humanities is contentious and very well may never end since I think you’re right in saying DH is a transitory term and is so out of necessity. As technology advances and shapes our w…[Read more]

  • Sara,

    I also liked Dave Parry’s explanation. I felt like for the first time all semester (and ironically right at the end) I got Digital Humanities. Parry made the whole concept a little easier to swallow for me, too. When we read Macroanalysis I was concerned about the future of literary analysis and discourse; I couldn’t see how a computer…[Read more]

  • This week’s readings were particularly interesting to me as we begin to wrap up this course. I’ve been thinking lately about how much I will reflect on Digital Humanities as I continue my degree program, in my cur […]

    • “if DH must be constantly defined and defended to prove its relevancy, it doesn’t seem like the field would be long lasting since the bulk of the intellectual power won’t be in developing new programs and ideas, but rather in the endless cycle of proving its worth.” I completely agree, Cassie. As I stated in another reply, I was annoyed that this week’s readings started off as more of the same. As a reader, I’m not sure I would continue reading articles like Kirschenbaum’s if I had to wade through the same debate over and over. I would either skip the section, or skip the article all together. I found this part of the debate frustrating. I like working toward a solution, and so when one isn’t to be had no matter how much I read about it the less inclined I am to continue the inquiry.

      I was also drawn to the photography as art comparison. I’m taking Visual Rhetoric this semester too, and my final project is on photography. Until I started my research I had no idea there was a debate as to whether or not photography is art. It comes down to the idea that photography is supposed to show what is there, unfiltered and unedited, which makes people think it is unartistic. (They leave out the fact that you can use different filters/lenses to alter photos, as well as edit them in both the darkroom (exposure times, for example) or editing software). The question though is what photography brings to the table for art.

    • Maybe growing up in a digital age has made it more difficult for us to really wrap our heads around the true meaning behind Digital Humanities. Thinking about how different education has become because of technology is remarkable. Books, sources, citation, just the accessibility of information has completely changed the way students learn. With the accomplishments of Digital Humanities, it will be interesting to see how much further education will develop and how electronically driven it will become.
      You made the analogy to the photography and it really made me think about the digitization of the texts published before 1923. I think about how greatly this impacted readers. This made so many classic texts accessible to anyone interested in reading them. After those texts were placed online, I began to notice more texts being sold electronically. Now, there are many debates about whether paper books will even be a thing soon. With those thoughts in mind, I wonder how great of an impact DH will have on society and the way we live today.

    • These are all interesting points brought up (Cassie, Katie, Kristen) about the relationship of having to defend and define the field compared to working on it. As someone who’s be observing and participating in the field for a while, and sees how it’s perceived by non-practitioners, let me comment on that a bit.

      To me, this is not an either/or proposition. Observing the field, I’d say that there is, in fact, a lot more energy going into actually making and doing things than to defining things — but the latter is much of what we’re trying to do in this course. The conversation of definition goes on implicitly in most fields, and is usually the subject or subtext of the introductory graduate course in just about any discipline. For example, just about every graduate history program begins with a course on historiography, the goal of which is to have students understand the evolution of assumptions and theoretical approaches to the field; same goes for cultural studies programs, which tend to begin with a course on cultural theory. In each of those courses, there is either the overt or perhaps subtle conversation going on about what fits in the field and what doesn’t. So while our readings may tilt to “definition” of digital humanities, we’re also doing a lot of it. That said, I can see how we might have preferred Kirschenbaum’s piece earlier in the semester.

      Also, while, again, much more energy goes into practicing DH rather than defining it and defending it, doing those activities are still, sadly, necessary. In academia, probably most merit and promotion documents still do not credit digital humanities work the way they do work in more conventional genres (articles, books). In other words, because there are only so many hours in a day, in many units at many colleges faculty are essentially penalized for dedicating time to DH rather than working on peer-reviewed articles. Another example: just last year, I was at a history conference in which a senior scholar, but someone who’s not much older than I am, gave a keynote in which he alleged, among other things, that there’s no such thing as the digital humanities. Not surprisingly, bunch of us either at the conference or following it on twitter pilloried him on twitter for that, but it shows that the attitude still exists.

      Of course, maybe it is that these are necessary activities, but that the real people who we need to be reading such pieces are that speaker and those academics out there who fundamentally don’t understand what’s going on.

      One more thing: as one of those old people who did research, and actually still must do research, in musty archives, I appreciated the contextualization of DH 1.0 and 2.0, and would argue that, just like photography and painting continue side by side, so will these varied methodologies of access and analysis.

    • Which I think add to the question “What does digital do for humanities?”

  • Sarah,

    This is a little unrelated, but I can really relate to your students’ reading abilities. Have you read Book Love by Penny Kittle? That book really shifted my teaching pedagogy and has not only made my teaching much more enjoyable, but has significantly improved the literacy skills of my students. 🙂

  • Emily,

    Sorry for the delay in response! I’ve adjusted the settings to alert me when there are comments on the posts, but it still doesn’t.

    I have been thinking about this idea in application to my current field of education. It’s definitely very similar– lots of reflection and analysis, lot of defense, but, unlike DH in many ways, not a lot…[Read more]

  • Emily,

    I had a very similar thought process in this week’s reading, but I think I took a slightly different stance than you. For me, DH has seemed like there’s more discussion and thought devoted to the inadequacies of the field rather than the production of any quality academic work. This certainly is the ephemeral nature of any field so…[Read more]

  • Hi, Sarah! Thanks for your insightful perspective this week!

    Like you, I was very drawn by the essays on the canon and on electronic publishing. I think of all of the things we’ve read this semester, these essays were the easiest for me to comprehend because they were most closely associated with my career.

    As a classroom teacher, I long ago…[Read more]

  • Tonya and Sarah, both of you really sparked the flow of ideas in my mind!

    First– Tonya, I hadn’t truly thought that much about adaptive technologies and its relationship to DH when reading this. I believe that like everything else, DH should be accessible to everyone, however, up until reading your thoughts, I hadn’t really connected my idea…[Read more]

  • Sarah, I also had a hard time of thinking of DH as “racist.” Like Shanna mentioned, I think the McPherson merely wanted to metaphorize the racial makeup of Digital Humanists, but it definitely made me stop and think. Unlike other forms of literature, which can be greatly impacted by the race and racial experiences of the author, can computer code…[Read more]

    I know it’s not necessarily my turn to post, but I have too many feelings about Macroanalysis to keep quiet.

    While reading, I could not help but think of the beloved, fictional teacher, John Keating. A […]

    • Cassie, this is thought-provoking and certainly worth mentioning. I think the highly personal, emotional nature of literature is important and something we all hold dear, but to me the human aspect of literature is actually that which dictates that we cannot just focus on this type of close reading. I think it is the human element of literature that compels us to use a macroanalytic approach so we can “see and understand the degree to which literature and the individual authors who manufacture that literature respond to r react against literary and cultural trends” (Jockers 28). Literature is tied to emotion, but it is also tied to culture,

      To me, the implications of Jockers’ text are that macroanalysis does not take away the mystical power of literature but rather opens us up to understanding just how powerful, and in how many ways, literature has been and can be. Macroanalysis lends validity to the things we have been saying for years.

    • Here’s the link to the clip Cassie is talking about:

    • Dead MacroAnalysis Society

      I see this to be somewhat true with the microanalysis process. The point that it may be taking away the beauty and art of the work. Man I can’t believe that I this type of analysis as plausible. I believe that we need a healthy dose of both. In order to protect and respect the work, we need to fully understand its intention and historical/cultural/philosophical connection. Also, we need not eliminate the emotional connection that has for centuries supported our narrative and the basis for extensive discoveries in various topics. We wouldn’t know what we know, if we didn’t look deeper into things. Sometime it seems overboard when we break it down too much. Jockers methods seems to be combining the big picture, with the details. A mix of general to specific methods of analyzing and understanding it.

      Sometimes I wish we would just see things for what they are instead of breaking them further into pieces that are confusing. After those pieces are exposed and vulnerable, we can maybe place a viable “label” on them. Does this process ruin the work? Or accentuate it? The more I type the more I struggle with my point of view. The video of Dead Poets Society reminded me that I’m a lover first and a researcher second.
      I guess this is why we post and interact with each other; it creates a thought process that is immeasurable.

    • I enjoyed this post and the comments made by Emily and Tonya. When I think about analyzing literature, close reading, and macroanalysis, it all speaks to who we are as students. When I read literature for academic reasons and pleasure, I find that I enjoy looking to others in order to see their understanding and application. I enjoy reading the text and finding my own connection to the text, and then I like to see what others think. I do think that macroanalysis has changed the way that we are taught literature. I not longer can ask students to identify a theme, that is too easily shared. Now, I ask them to analyze the the theme and pull quotes to support claims. If done creatively, literature can remain personal while also allowing for macroanalysis and larger discussions.

      • Kristen –
        I think you make some great points. I agree with Cassie that the idea of macroanalysis is a little unsettling for the English major in me; however, I think, at times, macroanalysis could be used to understand a larger period of literature. I think that close reading is very important when it comes to an individual book, but when you are talking a large-scale research project for a chunk of time, I can definitely see how macroanalysis could be helpful.

  • Lots of schools in the Central Ohio area have added Khan Academy coding to their technology curriculum for elementary and middle school students, which I think is a great idea!

  • I like the way you explain how microanalysis and close reading work together to formulate a “what” and “why.” It was really hard for me to remember how Jockers said macroanalysis isn’t the only step in the analysis of literature as I read throughout the book. You did a great job explaining how and why they must work in harmony.

  • David! I desperately want your expertise as a history major. When reading this book I just couldn’t buy into the idea of DH. I think I was kind of skeptical all semester, but this really turned me off. Jockers discusses how digital texts are mostly made digital for easier access but we rarely use digital tools to analyze them. Do you think the…[Read more]

  • I agree 100%. The value of understanding these skills is great, even if I don’t think it’s directly applicable to the humanities, but the Python website was not helpful! I even had my brother, who’s a coder, look at it when I was stuck and he struggled because of the wording of the instructions. In comparison, Code Academy was much more user…[Read more]

  • I agree with a lot of other commenters that coding is its own language and deserves to have acknowledgment for the level of education and expertise a coder must have to execute a code properly. I also agree that just because something is created as “doing,” doesn’t make it any less valuable. However, I just can’t view computer code as a…[Read more]

  • Evaluating Digital Humanities has proven to be a difficult undertaking for me. As we’ve read about Digital Humanities for the past few weeks, I think we all have seen how ambiguous and nebulous the field is. I t […]

    • Cassie, good points all around.

      As field (if DH is one), we have a long way to go to come up with a commonly-accepted set of criteria for evaluation. I like your pointing out the LAIRAH checklist (, which is a good start. But of course, like any checklist, it has its advantages and disadvantages. One the one hand, it’s a list of characteristics that a project should have, but on the other, it doesn’t prod us to think about the comparative merits of projects that have met the criteria in similar ways. Another drawback is that it is very much geared to large projects with significant institutional support. For every big project, there are probably scores of smaller ones on a bootstrap. So this is a very tough nut to crack.

  • Sorry! I hit post too soon without having finished my thought. So let me finish now…

    So, while I might not be able to better help you understand DH, take comfort in knowing your not alone! The HTML/CSS is/em> an entirely different language than what you’re used to, and even though I had done some before, it was frustrating for me, too. I…[Read more]

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