Week 6: Reflection

I was initially very anxious about metadata and the issue of representing material digitally in  away that is very conscious of the goal of the SCL. In so my approach to each object was somewhat slow and cautious, but a method that I honestly believed served me well. I began by reading the object for the most relevant content and attempting to understand the purpose and message of said object. After that I began filling the basic tabs of title, creator, date and type. Once those were finished I would brainstorm both subject terms and a description which I would edit after a second rereading of the item. In so the decisions I was making were ones I now feel comfortable with as there was also a continuous return to the vocabulary terms we generated as a group. If I had to estimate a time frame for each object I would say it was anywhere from 30-45 minutes. There were definitely a couple of materials that I was a bit apprehensive about and reviewed multiple times in an attempt to ensure that I had done the information it contained justice. I attempted to stays as accurate and close to the text as I could, but overall I reviewed the materials all on separate occasions and as a class made alterations based on the consensus on the vocabulary.  The items without a title were simply given a brief description regarding type, prevailing topic and creator. I personally found each and everyone of the readings to be helpful as many of them placed Watts in the necessary context that would permit us to approach this project with a certain degree of awareness. In addition to those I found the articles discussing Digital Humanities and counter histories very impactful as well as the combination  ultimately spoke to the project we are attempting to lay foundations for. 

Week #5: Classification and Ethics

We are making the ethical choices of describing material in a way that is not only findable, but somewhat disassociating it from the narrative that was and continues to be associated with Watts ’65. As with anyone making decisions on the the manner in which something is classified there is no way in which to not be subjective and this is largely where the ethical questions come in. We must ensure that we do not encode the material in a way that is counterproductive to goal of the library. We can only strive to be very conscious that what we are doing is indeed placing an opinion or connotation on a work or material that will be made available to others and which will coincidentally be read a certain way because of how it has been labeled. This level of responsibility is daunting and I believe none of us what to misrepresent the community for which this material is largely being sourced for or perpetuate the negative and inaccurate narrative that is displayed in some of these works. An issue I run into then is describing the material that is an inaccurate or highly biased representation for how do I list what it is (for example an article describing Watts 65 as a senseless riot) without perpetuating that narrative? I sometimes feel as if a disclaimer is necessary and maybe tags could be implemented in this way. 

Week #4: The Family Unit

The lack of female presence in the film speaks largely to the larger trend of Black Nationalism which seemed to in part be centered on the re-appropriation of the Black male body and therefore Black masculinity. This topic makes me recall the image of Huey P. Newton which also serves to assert male masculinity for the Black Panthers and consequently works to negate or silence the Black woman. The film in a similar fashion rejects the female voice by focusing on that of the male. In retrospect this is very interesting as one can be led to believe that the uprising was merely a “fight between males”. Yet no one both in this situation or in something as the Black Panthers ever focuses on the fact the the Black woman facilitated the work the males within the Black Panthers did and that in many was they were active participants and supporters. Although these male centered power movements were problematic they were also distorted to reimagine Black masculinity as a threat and therefore a sort of behavior that needed to once again be oppressed. 

Week #4: Evolving Social Media

Our last discussion garnered a lot skepticism with regards to the usefulness of online social networking sites. Despite the sentiments that many of us expressed I do believe that as technology continues to become more influential and sites as these are more normalized t something such as Twitter can be converted into a space of collegial and communal discussion. The notions that these spaces are devoid of an academic atmosphere have more to do with one’s own personal use of them than their actual capacity. With that said, I would venture to say that at this point I view Twitter more as a place for ephemeral group work. As the discusion #digped demonstrated there are people utilizing the site for reflection and brainstorming, although the success of the conversation can be questioned I think the intent is clear and rather positive. There is an attempt and a move towards appropriating social media sites and platforms into the academic sphere. The article “What do Girl Digs” does a good job of showing how a social media platform can succeed at this task.

Week 2: Baldwin and Noble’s Look Into Systems of Power

In The Fire Next Time, Baldwin asserts that the “white world” has formulated a mythology revolving America. Yet this mythology is one whose falseness the Black man is aware of although his countrymen (white world) has yet to come to that realization. For his (white) identity is embedded in that mythology and consequently so are their notions of blackness and to reveal it as such, to admit the mythology is just that, that it is a lie, a falsehood, to renege on what they have defined as blackness would be to give way to the factors with which they conceptualize whiteness. To expose it all as a lie would be to destroy the very foundations of the white identity. It would be an erasure of America and consequently of whiteness. Yet Baldwin seems to suggest that only this would allow for Blacks to emerge from the state of invisibility that they have been condemned to and therefore provide for a mutual state of freedom. Yet the erasure of this mythology is therefore highly problematic for whites for once they are devoid of this binary and the mythology of what America is, with this mirror that reflects only the self and no other what would be seen? I think both Baldwins and Noble’s works speak to issues of representation and the manner in which mythologies are created to serve one group. The systems that create them then gain and maintain power by marginalizing others and Noble demonstrates the manner in which our current society contributes to that. Noble’s research on Google demonstrated how it facilitates and allows its biased searches to be thought of as neutral and how this perpetuates negative representations and essentially the silencing of Black women.

Week #1:Counter History

Hartman states, “…by re-presenting the sequence of events in divergent stories and from contested points of view, I have attempted to jeopardize the status of the event, to displace the authorized account, and to imagine what might have happened or might have been said” (11). In many ways the Jet article is doing exactly this, it is attempting to displace an authorized account. It serves as a counter history to the Times article because it is a revisiting and revision of the accounts otherwise told of Emmet’s murder. One can easily see the differences in the articles from the language utilized to the images or lack thereof. The Jet article disrupts the narrative most notably with images that offer everyone the opportunity to, in a sense, reconstruct the past by looking into the casket.