CFP: “Up Close and Personal: Ethical Social Media Research in a Distant and Big Data World”

Dear readers,

Please consider applying to this panel, which is already on the program for ACH 2019. And please, also, share it with anyone you know who works in social media research but might not think their work “counts” as DH. We are looking for a wide variety of topics, approaches, and presenters.

Thanks in advance for sharing and for your proposals! Below is the CFP:

CFP: Up Close and Personal: Ethical Social Media Research in a Distant and Big Data World

ACH 2019, Pittsburgh, PA, July 23-26;

Social media as a field of research is both inter- and multidisciplinary, prompting methodological innovations in data collection, textual and network analysis, through approaches from rhetoric and communication, literary studies and life writing, sociology, new media studies, digital humanities, and critical theory, among others.

We invite paper proposals that instantiate this richness and variation of approach. We seek in particular work that describes and advocates for “small data” social media research that is up close and personal, situated and interested–as opposed to, perhaps, that which is objective, processed, filtered, quantified, and “big.” This panel constructs itself around critical subjectivity and ethical relations between social media researchers and the texts and authors they consider. This panel foregrounds situated knowledges and a generous reading practice that supports the rhetorical or aesthetic aims of the authors producing the texts we engage.

This panel has already been accepted onto the program at ACH 2019; acceptance of proposals for inclusion on the panel guarantees a spot on the program.

We wish to attract the participation of scholars who might not otherwise have applied to a DH conference, from their understanding or experience of the privileging of larger scale, computation heavy, distant or suspicious reading methodologies, or the high barriers to acceptance that usually mark the larger conferences. We also are particularly interested in communities not normally hailed by DH, but whose scholars are producing innovative and, we feel, highly relevant work about online practices in new media studies, critical race and ethnic studies, disability studies, and auto/biography studies, for example. We particularly invite junior scholars, precarious scholars, those new to the field, and minoritized or underrepresented scholars to submit proposals.

Send 250 word proposals to, by April 11, 2019, with response from the organizers on or before April 18, 2019.

(Organizers: Aimée Morrison and Philip Miletic, Dept. of English, University of Waterloo)


Research Creation/Critical Media

Reflecting on DH@GUELPH, “Making at the Intersection” workshop

Although DH@Guelph finished nearly two weeks ago, last week I was busy with career centre work, a committee meeting that led to a quick but intense couple of days revising, and a teaching application. So, despite my tardiness, I’d like to reflect and share some of things that we did in the workshop I attended, “Making at the Intersection,” because it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot!

“Making at the Intersection” was led by Kim Martin, John Fink, and Liviu Pop, and the workshop discussed various strategies of bringing intersectional feminism to maker culture, which is predominately masculine, is ableist, and not a safe space for women and people of colour. We discussed various readings that discussed these issues, not only in the present but as far back as the medieval ages. On the first day, we played with various maker tech available at Guelph’s THINC Lab like Makey Makeys, an Atari Punk Console, and conductive thread. Although I had no sewing experience whatsoever, it was nice being introduced to conductive thread. Over at the Critical Media Lab, we have worked lot with Arduino or I have worked on projects with arduino micro controllers, so playing with conductive thread opened up a lot of other ways of making. Here’s my sorry attempt at sewing with conductive thread:


For the next couple of days, we worked on thinking through collaborative projects that we could do in the workshop. Since quite a few of us were interested in Sound, we started discussing how voice assistant devices (if that’s what they’re called?) like Siri and Alexa are typically coded as a subservient white woman. Although there are limited options to change this vocal setting (my partner and I enjoy the British male voice for our Siri setting), we noted how the white woman’s voice is always default. So, we decided to make a Siri/Alexa-like chatbot for the THINC Lab that would subvert those subservient notions of what chat bots are for. Our chat bot, #NotYerBot, is only chat-based (but I think there are plans to make this voice-automated as well), but was a fun exercise in creating a bot that didn’t respond to your questions, asked you questions, and gave feminist insight, even if you didn’t asked for it. Here’s a snapshot of some of the responses:


That’s just testing out responses to “hello,” but here’s a couple of other responses from our draft:

+ why do feminist dh?
– Why not?
– Is there any other kind?

+ what is interdisciplinary?
– (long pause)
– It’s like playing Twister, but each space is a different academic field! It’s a lot of fun.
– [the wikipedia’s entry on the term]

Following these conversations about unseen labour, we decided to make something that would acknowledge the kinds of unseen labour of people working within the THINC Lab (and, if installed in other places, in workspaces in general). The end product: Accounts Re-see-vable: Receipts for your unseen labour. Using a Raspberry Pi, RFID cards, and a thermal printer, we made the thermal printer generate a receipt for the unseen labour card that a participant would use. Here are some photos to give a clearer picture:


From the board, the participant would take a card with an unseen labour written on it. Some of the examples include “Listened Generously,” “Emotional Labour,” “Advocated for Self/Others,” and “Fielded Microaggressions and plain old aggression.” Then, participants would tap the card against the box (the raspberry pi and RFID reader), and a receipt would be generated out of the printer. The receipt would have the title of the project, what unseen labour the participant did, and a mash-up text of Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto,” lyrics from Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer, Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Sara Ahmed’s blog post, “Confrontation,” and Dani Beckett’s blog post, “100 Easy Ways to Make Women’s Lives More Bearable.”  We included images, too (see above), but some images struggled with being printed out. The result is a whimsical text of feminist wisdom and playfulness to comfort and motivate.

I’m really glad and grateful for being able to contribute to these projects. As much as I love these kind of workshops, it’s rare to collaborate with the entire workshop and develop two fun and functional projects to share with the rest of the summer workshops. Also, since participating in events and workshops and projects at the CML, my time in this workshop have inspired me to approach maker projects (or critical media projects) from various other angles.  “Making at the Intersection” provided me with new theoretical approaches, as well as new applications of familiar tools and new tools to use in future projects!