Since 2015 the Swarthmore College Libraries annually run a digital scholarship program entitled the “Lib/Lab Fellows.” Slightly adapted from their website, the Lib/Lab Fellows:
[Work on] collaborative projects that span disciplinary boundaries, that bring networked technologies to bear on conventional scholarship, [and] that demand a critical consideration of just what we mean by “the digital”?
Throughout the semester the Fellows are exposed to:
- Web development and design, plus digital media, text analysis, and/or data visualization depending on time/interests
- Current conversations around digital environments from a variety of perspectives
- Experience with project management, design thinking and tools for collaboration
- Self-directed research culminating in a digital project
As I finished up the spring of my penultimate year at Swarthmore, I came to the realization that – like every other year – I wouldn’t have the time needed in my schedule to participate in the Lib/Lab Fellowship. This was a crushing realization because I was very keen on the projects and discussions that happen during a Lib/Lab Fellowship and, unlike previous years, I couldn’t promise myself that next year would be the year I finally make time in my overstuffed schedule to become a Lib/Lab Fellow.
I reached out to Roberto Vargas and Nabil Kashyap – the wonderful Librarians who run the program – who graciously provided me with all the relevant reading materials and agreed to let me run my own version of the program over the summer. (I mean, what else are you going to do during a global pandemic?) Consequentially, I gathered some interested people from the community and created the 2020 Lib/Lab Summer Edition!
If you’d like to see what sorts of texts we discussed, the syllabus can be found below. It can also double as a reading list.
Note: The syllabus listed below is built on the 2019 Lib/Lab Fellows Syllabus created by Nabil Kashyap and Roberto Vargas. Feel free to check out their syllabus.
Week 1: Back to basics
- Madrigal, Alexis C. “The Mechanics and Meaning”. The Atlantic.
- The Programing Historian: Introduction to the Bash Command Line
- The Programing Historian: Introduction to Jupyter Notebooks
- What is “the Shell”?
Week 2: Power, race, and technology
- Biss, Eula. “Time and Distance Overcome” from Notes from No Man’s Land (2009).
- Powels, Julia. “The Seductive Diversion of ‘Solving’ Bias in Artificial Intelligence.” OneZero.
- Simonite, Tom. “The Best Algorithms Still Struggle to Recognize Black Faces.” Wired.
- Winner, Langdon. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” from The Whale and the Reactor (1986). pp. 121-128.
Week 3: “It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes.” - Sen. Stevens
- Blum, Andrew. Tubes: A journey to the center of the Internet. (2013).
- Doctorow, Cory. “What the Internet Is For.” Locus Magazine (2018).
- Star, Susan Leigh. “The Ethnography of Infrastructure.” American Behavioral Scientist 43, no. 3 (November 1, 1999): 377–91.
- TeleGeography’s Submarine Cable Map
Week 4: Does data dream of visualizations?
- Daniels, Matt. “The Language of Hip Hop.” The Pudding (2017).
- D’Ignazio, Catherine and Klein, Lauren. “On Rational, Scientific, Objective Viewpoints from Mythical, Imaginary, Impossible Standpoints.” (chapter draft) In Data Feminism (MIT, 2020).
- Drucker, Johanna. “Graphical Approaches to the Digital Humanities.” A New Companion to Digital Humanities, edited by Susan Schreibman et al. (2015): 238–50.
- Osman, Jenna. from Motion Studies. PEN Poetry Series.
- Seeing Data: Taking Time With Visualisations
- Szafir, Danielle. “The Good, the Bad, and the Biased: Five Ways Visualizations Can Mislead (and How to Fix Them).” Interactions 25, no. 4 (June 27, 2018): 26–33.
Week 5: Hey, Hey, Listen! (The Attention Economy)
- Alter, Adam. Irresistible: The Rise Of Addictive Technology And The Business Of Keeping Us Hooked. (2017): chapters 4-9.
- Brignull, Harry. “Types of Dark Patterns.” Dark Patterns
- Haynes, Trevor. “Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time.” Science In The News.
- Tufekci, Zeynep. “It’s the (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech.” Wired.
- Tufekci, Zeynep. “‘Not This One’: Social Movements, the Attention Economy, and Microcelebrity Networked Activism.” American Behavioral Scientist 57, no. 7 (July 2013): 848–70.
Week 6: Is the cloud someone else’s computer?
- Branscombe, Mary. “Stop saying the cloud is just someone else’s computer - because it’s not.” ZDNet.
- Donnelly, Timothy. “The Cloud Corporation.” Poetry Foundation.
- Simon, Johnny. “These Beautiful Photos Reveal the Internet Is Hiding in Plain Sight.” Quartz.
- Tung-Hui, Hu. “Introduction.” In A Prehistory of the Cloud (2015).
Week 7: Performing Identity in Digital Environments
- Abendroth, Emily. Exclosures 1-8. Albion Books 4.3. From Eclipse Archive.
- Davis, Jenny. “Identity Theory in a Digital Age.” In New Directions in Identity Theory and Research (Oxford University Press, 2016).
- D’Ignazio, Catherine and Klein, Lauren. “What Gets Counted.” (chapter draft) In Data Feminism (MIT, 2020).
- Explore this page thinking about who is responsible, who is it for, and how it compares to other related interfaces keeping in mind the reading for this week
- Haraway, Donna. “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Feminist Studies 14, no. 3 (1988): 575.
Week 8: Privacy and Surveillance
- Brunton, Fin & Nissenbaum, Helen. “Why is Obfuscation Necessary.” In Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest
- Cox, Joseph. “I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone” Motherboard
- Cyril, Malkia. “Watching the Black Body” In McSweeney’s 54:0134-0146
- Doctorow, Cory. “The case for … cities that aren’t dystopian surveillance states.” The Guardian.
- The New Organs
- Explore the webpage and watch the 10 minute video
- Zuboff, Shoshana. “You Are Now Remotely Controlled.” The New York Times.