My So-Called Afterlife

The Afterlife Will Be Digitized – The Ringer

One artist imagines how the internet will change our perception of death At age 10, Gabriel Barcia-Colombo mummified his 5-year-old sister. He moved most of the furniture out of the living room, affixed a camera to a tripod, and - dressed in a flowy blue tunic - methodically wrapped his sibling in toilet paper.

I originally referred this post to my department head to let him know I am still alive. Here is what I wrote:

The Afterlife Will Be Digitized – Who says they ain’t no humanities jobs? Afterlife Documentarian!

“Sent this to my students via our class hashtag #wkueng100. This may seem flip….but it isn’t. File this under job descriptions that haven’t yet been written, but are already being filled. That’s the kind of job that doesn’t have much competition. Wedding photographer in reverse–afterlife narration now in Virtual Reality!”

That’s digital humanities, folks.

Artistic Choice: the Nature of Digital Call and Response

Luke started the whole thing at his website with his ‘breath’taking nature photo.


I followed with this response using Pablo on Twitter.

Kevin followed with his response on Twitter. Not sure what Kevin used to create his response.

The next step of the exploration, a little adhoc adventure into how and why we respond to others, the digital call and response, using NowComment as our platform.

Digital Humanist


The quote above comes from a short interview with Laura Braunstein who is the Digital Humanities and English Librarian at the Dartmouth College Library.  Something shifted a bit inside me as I read this, as if to say, “Maybe I am one of these folks,too.”

Braunstein defines her role in this relatively new discipline as :


Resource person



That definitely clicks for me. I have always considered myself a learning concierge.  I love the working class, democratic appeal of asking the question, “How can I help you?”

I get no deeper satisfaction in my work as a writing instructor than providing directions to cool, clean, safe watering holes to my learners. And I am always looking for new resources, new oases.

I love to collaborate.  That is something I have had to grow to love.  I think the best piece of advice I ever got on this subject was from Alan Levine: if you can’t answer a question after 20 minutes of trying, then find help.  To me this means finding a collaborator. A co-laborer.  This very broad definition of collaboration is one that I am comfortable with.

A faculty colleague who I really respect has asked me to collaborate with her graduate students in our Writing Center at Western Kentucky University as a digital humanist. She may not know that is what she asked for and is getting, but I am very grateful she asked and truly excited to co-labor with her and her students.  It is quite likely that I will get more out of it than they will.  In fact, the selfish part of me counts on it.

I am a promoter, too, just as Braunstein says she is.  I promote a point of view that is relentlessly pragmatic as regards tools: if it doesn’t help my co-laborers seek, make sense of, and share with better effect at that “intersection of technology and human culture” then fuggetaboutit.

Identity mystifies me.  One minute I am a writing instructor and the next I am a digital humanist.  I feel a shift in stance. And with this shift comes slightly new views, new blindspots, new desires.  If I am very lucky, I will be able to smoothly glide from one outlook (instructor) to another (digital humanist).

What a difference taking a few minutes in the morning to slip on a new set of goggles for viewing the world, a virtual set, programmed by me and not someone else.

Thanks to Laura Braunstein and her interviewer, Joshua Kim. I want to know more about Digital Humanities so I am going here.  You come, too.