The first American Studies Media Culture Program (ASMCP) event set the tone for our major objectives. Students were invited to hear from guest speakers about the way new media is changing academic and professional work in the 21st century, and to collaboratively debate issues surrounding these new technologies.
Professor Andrew Urban provided a working definition of the Digital Humanities for students using a series of websites. He began with information about the Rutgers University-New Brunswick Digital Humanities Initiative, a graduate student-driven program focused on spreading awareness about the innovative form of scholarship running workshops throughout the academic year piloted by the Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA). He also showcased diverse work in the area including Ben Schmidt’s whale mapping project “Data Narratives and Structural Histories: Melville, Maury, and American Whaling,” a student-generated Google Books Ngram Viewer graph comparing familiarity with Albert Einstein, Sherlock Holmes, and Frankenstein from 1800-2000, Facebook’s Map App; an online exhibition his class created called “Chinese Exclusion in New Jersey: Immigration Law in the Past and Present” now housed on the New Jersey Digital Highway webpage, and a student-based blog project he helped coordinate for the Guantánamo Public Memory Project. Professor Urban invited students to consider how this interactive scholarship influenced our relationship to history in both the public and academic spheres.
To encourage students to begin thinking about how their own work could benefit from joining the ASMCP by taking part in the digital conversation, Jessica Gonzalez complemented Professor Urban’s presentation by informing undergraduates of the resources available at the Plangere Culture Lab (PCL). Housed on the third floor of Murray Hall on the Rutgers University-New Brunswick College Avenue Campus in the Plangere Writing Center, the PCL offers students a chance to familiarize themselves with new technologies. It offers cutting-edge computer software equipped with audio and visual editing programs and tutorial support students can utilize to create blogs, podcasts, and video essays. Jessica, the PCL’s Media Tutor, is available to work with students on a variety of projects Monday through Thursday afternoons and evenings. Please contact the Media Culture Program at MediaCulturePorgram@gmail.com for more information.
The first ASMCP workshop will be held on October 16 at the Plangere Culture Lab in Murray Hall, Room 305, at 6:30PM. All are welcome to attend. We will concentrate on addressing proper content, form, and style when blogging. Our overall goal will be to discern what makes a blog appropriate for professional presentation.