Eco-Critical DH Discussion Ideas

Time to start posting your discussion ideas!

Here are a few to get you started:

  • Greening Scholarly Communications
  • Using DH to Explore, Expose, and Evaluate Environmental Justice and Environmental Issues
    • See Amanda Starling Gould’s recent provocation for using eco-minded DH in the classroom here: This Week: Polar Bears and #ObamaSelfies: The Critical Intersections of Digital Humanities and Environmental Justice
  • Greening Academic Digital Consumption
  • How Can We Use DH to Unpack Digital Materiality?
  • What is Eco-Critical DH? What Can it Be?
  • Sustainable DH – What Can We Do?

And a few skim-worthy resources, readings, and projects to spur more creative thinking:

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About amandastarlinggould

Amanda Starling Gould is currently finishing her dissertation, Digital Metabolisms: Mapping a Digital Environmental Humanities through Digital Materiality, at Duke University. Her project maps the complex intersections of digital media and the environment, and questions the absence of environmental thinking from digital theory. The project draws out the tangible impacts that our networked digital technologies are registering on the earth to recognize them as critical sites for digital media study. What becomes clear is that the daily use of our weightless, wireless devices becomes ethically-charged with heavy issues of labor, pollution, human health, and environmental sustainability. By rejecting the easy premise of the digital network as purely computational, we see that contemporary digitality is profoundly environmental. Her current teaching and research work investigates digital materiality, the bio- and geo-physicalities of the digital network, digital environmental humanities, environmental justice, digital communication, network ecologies, augmented realities, information architectures, digital publication design, and digital humanities scholarship.

5 Responses to Eco-Critical DH Discussion Ideas

  1. Some more brainstorming ideas: People generally have no way of seeing or understanding the repercussions of their habits and consumptions on places and things beyond their individual and immediate space and perception, despite the global reach and impact of the processes that go into producing the goods of our daily lives. One of the ways in which environmentalists have conceptualized measuring human and individual impact is by measuring or estimating our “ecological footprint”. There are a few apps which attempt to provide some measure of ecological footprint based on individual purchases how might these initial efforts be improved? What else might be done or measured or represented?

    • Imagine, for example, that goods can not only be assigned “carbon units” (to represent their costs), but that you can visualize a map of the locations from which their components were harvested, a timeline of the time needed to (re)generate their base substances, see a graph of the amount of energy needed to extract, process and manufacture it, the type and cost of travel needed for all of the constituent components, etc.

  2. Another topic. It has been argued that environmental sustainability requires a much stronger, deeper and meaningful commitment to place/location than has been facilitated by the commodification of land as real estate and extractable resources. Rather than the use of technology for “virtual reality” — taking us away from the place and time in which we are actually alive — could technology be used to augment our sense of rootedness to a place, to allow us to dig deeper into the ecological vitality and potentiality of it, and become more invested in all of the types of community (biological, cultural and spiritual) that are connected to and imbued with that place?

  3. Social network graphs are enjoying popularity at present. Would it be possible to model at least some of the interdependencies of particular ecosystems in a network graph, making visible what some of these interdependencies are and then ask what would happen if that network were disrupted in some way? What would happen to other dependent species if the mosquito that carries Zika were eliminated, for example?

  4. Digital Humanities projects by definition represent things, especially things that have materiality, and the humanities are largely the product of institutions established by industrialized empires and nation-states. This causes a particular bias in representation and privilege in that cultures that produce more stuff and hence greater environmental impact (monumental architecture, restructuring the landscape, the resource extraction necessary to produce these things …) have greater prestige and visibility. Is there some way in which technology can be used to “write back” against these biases and provide a counter-weight using the intangible cultural heritage of peoples of non-industrial societies and more environmentally sustainable lifestyles?

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