Humanistic Studies

UW-Green Bay

Author: scrar10

What is DPH (Digital and Public Humanities) & Why is it Important?

Student Experience with Digital and Public Humanities: a relatively new emphasis offered at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

For my last blog post as the Humanities Department Intern, I wanted to craft a post that delved into my Digital and Public Humanities (DPH) major. The purpose of this interview is to present information about the DPH emphasis. The questions asked in this interview are from the perspective of students who are interested in the major, want to learn more about what it is, and wish to know how it may be beneficial to them.

 “Digital and Public…what?”

The Holiday Season is a wonderful time to spend with friends and family. Most of us, at this time in the semester, may be relieved and excited for the upcoming and well-deserved winter break. Many of us will retreat home to decompress from the long semester and enjoy our break traveling physically or through reading, working and spending time with loved ones. Of course, around this time of the year, the question arises, from the dear or rarely seen relative, “how is college and what are you studying?” I appreciate the look on my family and friends faces when I give them my detailed list of studies that I recite in one breath, “I am a double major in History and Digital and Public Humanities with a minor in Arts Management with an emphasis in Museums and Galleries.” Naturally, they respond with, “I got the first part of that but what is the second thing you said? Digital and Public…what? And what do you plan to do with those majors?”

The most effective way to illustrate my choice of majors is by giving examples of projects, research, and opportunities that I have encountered throughout my studies. This semester marked the beginning of my junior year here at UW-Green Bay, and I have a number of interesting and mind-expanding classes in history, the humanities, and the arts under my belt. This fall semester, I took my first Digital and Public Humanities course, “Hum Stud 200: Introduction to the Digital and Public Humanities,” otherwise known as the “Packers Class.” In this course, students were introduced to some of the basic skills foundational to the DPH major. A large part of the course was dedicated to learning HTML (Hypertext Markup Langauge),  which is the first step in understanding the language necessary for creating web pages and applications.

The Packers class was a combined class between the Intro Digital and Public Humanities students and the Craft of History (HIST 290) students. Brent Hensel, the curator of the Packer Hall of Fame, co-taught this class with Professors Heidi Sherman and John Shelton. The overarching project of the semester was a collaboration project with both history and DPH students to create an interactive WordPress site that explored the history of the early years of the Packers. This year, the Packers are celebrating 100 seasons, dating back to 1919. We explored and researched the early history of the Packers organization, and the students created very impressive digital projects. There was a variety of different subjects, ranging from the evolution of the forward pass, civil rights in relation to the Packers organization, how the Great Depression affected the Packers, amongst others.  At the end of the semester, our class had the exciting opportunity to present our projects and research at Lambeau Field. UWGB Packers Class

The Digital and Public Humanities students’ basic and fundamental knowledge of technology was put to practice in the creation of the WordPress sites. All of the skills we learned at the beginning of the semester were tested and practiced in the creation of my group’s website. The group that I was in completed our research project on Lyle Lahey’s Packer Cartoons. Our argument was that political and sports cartoons are portals to history. Lyle Lahey was a political and sports cartoon artist that published a variety of different cartoons from 1968 until his death in 2013. For our project, we analyzed and conceptualized a variety of different Lahey cartoons that focused on topics such as Coach Vince Lombardi and Dan Devine, as well as Labor Strikes in the NFL during the 1970s.

My favorite part of our project was creating the interactive pieces that were used on our website. For each Packer theme we discussed, I created a presentation using the software Canva that included the Lahey cartoons we were analyzing and researching. The purpose of these presentations was to show the viewer what key aspects of the cartoon that caught our attention and developed our research. Through our website, we presented Lahey’s cartoons in an interactive way enabling the viewer to take part in our analysis and history. With each page, the viewer is able to make their own conclusions about Lahey’s illustrations while being provided with the necessary historical context. I am immensely proud of what we all crafted, and I am glad that Lahey’s cartoons may be viewed with as much enthusiasm and appreciation as we had. Throughout this class, I not only learned digital basics, but I also gained digital competencies, which has enabled me to think critically about how to use digital platforms for communication, preservation, presentation, design, and analysis.

In conclusion, when my family and friends need clarification on what exactly is Digital and Public Humanities, I have issues giving them a concise definition. To me, the Digital and Public Humanities can embody many different definitions depending on who you ask. I would define Digital and Public Humanities as an interdisciplinary field that uses various forms of media to excite and engage the public audiences about culture, language, the world of history, and the humanities. Digital and Public Humanities students learn how to use different technological tools and methods in order to serve the public. It entails critical thinking, artistic design, and research while engaging with technology appropriately. This emerging field and new emphasis is interdisciplinary and integrates conversations on different platforms. The Digital and Public Humanities have the potential to tear down the long-established “ivory tower” of the Humanities and creates a public platform of relevance and accessibility for anyone.

What other students have to say about the major:

John Werner, a double major in History and Digital and Public Humanities: “Digital and Public Humanities, as a field, is both rapidly growing and highly flexible. It is a critical puzzle piece in moving the Humanities field as a whole into the 21st century as everything [becomes] more digitized, further promoting education by permitting interactivity in what students are learning.”

Brian Domina, a double major in History and Digital and Public Humanities: “Digital and Public Humanities helped me further develop myself as a person and clarify my points of view…enabling [me] to connect to points of view I did not know existed.”

Rachel Bowker (a major in Digital and Public Humanities): “Originally, I was just going to go to UW-Milwaukee to get my masters in Library Sciences because I already have a bachelors in Business Administration. However, I chose Digital and Public Humanities because it I felt like it would be a great stepping stone before going on to the master’s program. Within the first semester, I have learned how to do HTML coding, operate and design a website, and create a Wiki page. All of the projects that I have done I would have thought would only have been in a Graphic Design program. Looking forward, I am confident that the classes and projects that are within this program will help me further my education in Milwaukee and looks great on a resume! I am really happy that I enrolled in this program! All the staff within (and outside) the program is so helpful and knowledgeable!”

Thank you for reading,

Rachel Scray, Humanities Intern Fall 2018.

 

 

 

Podcasting in the Name of Frankenstein!

Phoenix Studios LIVE Event

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On October 17th, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay had their first ever Phoenix Studios LIVE event at the Fort Howard Hall. The event organized by the brilliant Phoenix Studios Producer Kate Farley was a fantastic showcase of the great podcasts that are produced here at UWGB. The hosts and masterminds of the night were Kate Farley and her Production Assistant and  intern from the Communications department, Ntxhee Yee Thao. Phoenix Studios LIVE was a night of exciting and fascinating conversations focused on engaging topics that related to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and horror.

 ALL THE RAGE: “Mob Creation”

IMG_8248The night started with a discussion on “Mob Creation” with hosts of ALL THE RAGE, Dr. Ryan Martin of the Psychology Department and Dr. Chuck Rybak of English and Humanities who is Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. During this podcast, the two discussed what qualities define a “mob”, and how that compares to our common conception of what a mob is (you know, grab your torch and pitchforks, etc.). They cited real-life examples from day to day occurrences and joked about how they themselves could be defined as a two-person mob.  

INDENTED: “Let’s Not Forget Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley”

IMG_8503Second on the night’s roster was the podcast, Indented. Hosted by Krynn Hanold, the English Creatives Intern, Dr. Rebecca Nesvet of the English, Humanities, and Woman & Gender Studies, and Dr. Jessica Van Slooten of the English department and Women’s Gender Studies Program Co-chair from the UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus. During their segment, they discussed the daring and impressive life of Mary Shelley, a woman well ahead of her time.

During the podcast, Dr. Nesvet illustrated an impressive skill that Wollstonecraft Shelley had learned from her father: reading two books at one time. This task was believed to be the best way to compare two books. Dr. Nesvet also passionately discussed how well educated MWS was during a time where women normally didn’t receive an extensive literary education.

IMG_8317As a woman who was ahead of her time, MWS discussed topics of gender roles in a subtle and profound way through her work. Dr. Van Slooten discussed how MWS used gender to defy the values of the 19th century and the expectations of men and women in society. Drawing from Dr. Van Slooten’s expertise in gender studies, she breaks down the gender conceptions that MWS depicts in her writing of Frankenstein.

SERIOUS FUN: “It Came From the Public Domain”

IMG_8446So who is Frankenstein’s monster, and does our vision of him parallel with MWS’ writing? The podcast, SERIOUS FUN! hosted by Dr. Carr with his special guest Bob the stuffed ‘creature’, takes on the topic of legal rights in relation to the image of Frankenstein’s monster. During this interactive podcast, the audience was asked to draw the image that pops into their head when thinking of Frankenstein. Naturally, the audience drew the typical creature (bolts in the neck, flat top head, scar on the forehead, etc.) created by Dr. Frankenstein and not Dr. Frankenstein himself. The image we think of as Frankenstein was first proposed by James Whale’s interpretation of the creature in his 1931 adaptation of FrankensteinCarr delved deeper in the matter to explain the timeline of the copyright of the images of Frankenstein and discusses why and how we have many of different versions of Frankenstein today. 

Bird in the Wings: “Designing Fear” 

IMG_8588The last two podcasts of the evening discussed the construction of horror and how it can invoke joy in some while terror in others. The podcast Bird in the Wings is hosted by Kelli Strickland, the Executive and Artistic Director of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. For this special event, Strickland invited two guests from Thirteenth Floor Entertainment who work on designing the popular haunted house attraction in Green Bay, Terror on the Fox. During this podcast, they discussed what goes into creating fear and how to construct an environment that represent real-world problems in consumers’ lives. Haunted houses are very similar to theatre productions in the way that IMG_8624they are crafted and strategically planned to make the audience feel targeted emotions. Through the use of costume design, lighting design, and the good ol’ fashion ‘jump-scare’, they create an immersive interactive environment of entertaining fear. They don’t stop there; the haunted house cast even communicates to each other about the outspoken fears of the customers to be used against them in their walkthrough of horror. (Quick tip: When walking into a haunted house, do NOT express that you are deathly afraid of clowns, because the employees will hear you, and be sure to get a clown all up in your business)

Psychology and Stuff: “Why Do People Like Horror?”

IMG_8637The night ended on the topic of horror movies, specifically why people enjoy them. The podcast Psychology and Stuff was hosted by senior Psychology student Sammy Alger-Feser, Dr. Jason Cowell of the Psychology and Human Development departments, and Dr. Ryan Martin of the Psychology department. The panel was perfectly weighted with Sammy who is a horror film fanatic, Dr. Martin who just might consider watching a scary movie (given that the film has good qualities), and Dr. Cowell, who is not a fan. Throughout the discussion, they brought up their own personal experiences with horror and went on to explain the psychological processes behind their reactions to this type of film.

Final Thoughts On The Night

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It is impossible to summarize every aspect of the thrilling topics that were discussed throughout the night. Even though each of these podcasts has different foundations in their disciplines, they all found creative and festive ways to incorporate their topics into a fluid overall theme. Phoenix Studios LIVE was a great event to showcase the variety of podcasts that UWGB produces. This night was also an excellent representation of the ways UWGB professors, students, and technical staff have created a common platform for the different departments and areas of study. Through this event, the podcasts were able to reach a broader audience and showcase their individual focus, quirks, and personalities. 

We are very excited to see what Phoenix Studios has in store for us next. If you are interested in hearing the recordings from this event, each podcast will be posting their individual segments from the night and you can find them by clicking here

 

Written by Rachel Scray and Elayna Hartter

Photo Credit: Haley Falcon – Thank you for capturing the night.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s “Environmental Humanities” all about? by David Voelker

“Environmental Humanities” is a new minor emphasis in the Humanities. Starting last year, UWGB offers a minor in Humanities, with an emphasis on environmental topics. In addition to including interdisciplinary Humanities classes, the program also includes courses from English, First Nations Studies, History, and Philosophy.

We often think of environmental problems as scientific and technical problems, so when we think about sustainability, we usually turn to scientific and technical solutions. While science and technology are clearly critical to both understanding and solving our environmental problems, they are two pieces of a larger puzzle. After all, since the 1960s (at least), we’ve had a growing scientific understanding of several environmental crises that are underway, including problems with pollution, deforestation, declining biodiversity, and climate change. During the same period, technologies for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other environmentally friendly measures have expanded tremendously. Yet, arguably, the overall global environment is more degraded than ever before in human history. What gives?

To understand what’s going on, we clearly need a perspective that includes history, culture, and ethics. That’s where the Environmental Humanities come in!

The study of History can give us insight into how and why current environmental problems developed over a long period of time and across vast distances on Earth–and can also help us understand and evaluate how effective various efforts of reform and regulation have been over the years.

First Nations Studies allows us to consider perspectives on the relationship between humans and (the rest of nature) that depend more on respect and reciprocity than on control and consumption. What would it mean, as Potawatomi botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer has asked, to “Reclaim the Honorable Harvest”?

Last but not least, Philosophy helps us think in a complex way about the ethical issues involved in our relationships with the natural environment. What’s the moral significance of a tree or of a disappearing species? Do we have obligations to the environment that go beyond human needs? What do we owe future generations?

Taken together, these humanistic disciplines empower us to ask crucial, big questions, including: When we talk about sustainability, what exactly is it that we are trying to sustain?

For the Spring 2019, we are offering three courses that will count toward the minor emphasis in Environmental Humanities:

  • FNS 224: First Nations and the Sacred
  • History 220: American Environmental History
  • FNS 360: Women and Gender in First Nations Communities

For Fall 2019, we are offering two courses that will count toward the minor emphasis in Environmental Humanities:

  • Hum Stud 100: Living the Humanities: Humans and Nature (with substitution)
  • Hum Stud 400: Humanities Practicum (with substitution)

Click here for more information about the Environmental Humanities program at UWGB, or feel free to contact me for questions. There are a couple of other courses that may be substituted for requirements, so please do check in with me or with the Humanities adviser, Professor Heidi Sherman.

Written by,

David Voelker

Associate Professor of Humanities and History

920-465-2491

voelkerd@uwgb.edu

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