The process of generating metadata for these digital objects was one that I found especially challenging. It was not the actual labor of it so much as the sensitivity and precision I tried to bring to this process, which was tempered by the knowledge that this material was someone’s property. By property, I mean much more than simply having physical custody of the object: these documents are the sum total of a community’s history, a record of violence acted upon them, upon their bodies, and being asked to extrapolate from that history “subject terms” or “descriptions” was a process with which I struggled throughout this class. With that in mind, perhaps my process is not one that should necessarily be emulated — perhaps it was too cautious or mentally laborious to be of much use. However, I do think that offering a multitude of approaches to working with this material might potentially benefit the SCL or at the very least that is my hope in detailing my process here.
Remarkably for such a central part of our lives, we stand for the most part in formal ignorance of the social and moral order created by these invisible, potent entities. Their impact is indisputable, and as Foucault reminds us, inescapable…Each standard and each category valorizes some point of view and silences another. This is not a bad thing—indeed it is inescapable. But it is an ethical choice, and as such it is dangerous—not bad but dangerous.
What kind of ethical choices are we making and/or what kind of ethical questions should we be asking ourselves?
In what ways are women an absent presence in the film? What did you see as the overall effect of the manner in which black masculinity, black male role models, and the black family were discussed in the documentary?
Any digital tool or platform that allows for an exchange to take place (whether it is a social exchange, an exchange of data, the sharing of research etc.) has the potential to facilitate “collaborative scholarly work.” We spent much of last class discussing the inadequacies of certain social media sites and how frankly, most attempts to co-opt them for scholarly use can read as unproductive or contrived in some way. I have been considering this question over the last few days and am not sure I have fully fleshed out how to combat my skepticism towards social media and academic practice. Rather than allowing my ambivalence to limit the potential relationships that might exist in the intersection between the two, I’ve tried to reconsider these sites and services in a more charitable, optimistic, and productive light. Below I have listed several social media platforms and the ways in which they might benefit a collaborative, academic exchange:
Before answering the explicit questions posed in this prompt, I’d like to devote some of my response to addressing the issues Dr Noble raised in her essay and the larger issues implicated in a discussion of technology, the hegemony, and the inscription of gender, racial, and socioeconomic identities.
Though I initially dismissed the spectral presence of “speculation” in Hartman’s Venus in Two Acts (believing I was under the influence of my own recent engagements with speculative fiction, the speculative turn, the speculative solution to the problem of correlationalism), she explicitly names it towards the end of her piece:
Is it possible to exceed or negotiate the constitutive limits of the archive? By advancing a series of speculative arguments and exploiting the capacities of the subjunctive (a grammatical mood that expresses doubts, wishes, and possibilities), in fashioning a narrative, which is based upon archival research, and by that I mean a critical reading of the archive that mimes the figurative dimensions of history, I intended both to tell an impossible story and to amplify the impossibility of its telling (emphasis mine, 11).