THATCamp 2009

Below is my application (which was accepted!) to THATcamp 2009, “a user-generated ‘unconference‘ on digital humanities organized and hosted by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, June 27–28, 2009.”

Many thanks to Jeremy Boggs and Dave Lester for organizing this event!

Discussion Topic: How can digital humanities projects with scholarly significance be designed with the needs of vision-impaired end users at the forefront of consideration while still keeping the needs of vision-enabled end users in mind?
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composition / pedagogy / disability

A somewhat general request: I need pointers to extant scholarship on composition pedagogy for vision- and hearing-impaired students. And if that scholarship takes a historical view as far back as the nineteenth or eighteenth century, I would be especially interested.

Some (hopefully not confusing) background to my question:

  1. The South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind (SCSDB) is quite literally right down the road from my house. Spartanburg, SC is a small enough town that I happen to be friends with the former director of that school, Sheila Breitweiser, and have had an informal conversation with her over coffee about writing and disability, which fueled my curiosity and enthusiasm.
  2. The archives of the SCSDB go back to the mid nineteenth century, and I’d like to embark on a scholarly project using those archives.
  3. The results of that project could be some combination of the following:
    1. a historically-grounded article on the development of composition pedagogy for such students;
    2. a digital archive of the materials currently housed in that analog archive (and perhaps contributed to the state-wide project);
    3. a “best-practices” framework for creating digital archives with the needs of vision-impaired users in mind.
  4. My initial interest in these issues was sparked while in graduate school, when I worked with Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (and several others, while she was a fellow at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities) on developing “DISC: A Disability Studies Academic Community”
  5. I’m fairly new to the fields of composition and disability studies.
  6. My background is in orality/literacy studies and eighteenth-century studies, and I see this as a logical extension of that background as well as my digital humanities training.

Any advice or feedback would be much appreciated!

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Maruca on C18, Cyborgs, Literacy…No, really!


Heads up, y’all, ’cause at some point today, History Carnival XXXVII will appear at Mode for Caleb. Update: Whoomp, as they say, there it is.

And on September 1, I’ll be hosting Teaching Carnival #11. Please tag any relevant entries or gmail me with the links: georgehwilliams. You can tag or send your own entries, or those written by others. I’ll repeat some of the things I wrote before

Any and all topics are welcome, but I thought I’d throw out a call for some specific things, too. Please do me two favors: post an announcement regarding TC #11 on your blog, and email a few bloggers you know who might be unaware of the Teaching Carnival series.

  1. What are you doing differently this year compared to last year? Why?
  2. What kind of preparation for teaching did you get in grad school? Was it adequate? What should have been done differently? How are you preparing the next generation of grad students for the classroom? How does the way you were taught affect the way you teach?
  3. What sorts of innovative writing assignments are you using? I am particularly interested in disciplines other than English, since I believe that writing should be a part of almost all courses. How do you evaluate your students’ writing? Do you use a rubric?
  4. Are your students engaged in service learning? What kinds of connections between the classroom and the community are you making?
  5. How does information technology figure into your teaching?
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My July 4 reading is Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution by Simon Schama.

Video of a talk by Schama at Google can be found here, and audio of a discussion at the Boston Athaneum is available here.

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