Blog Post 3/14

Project Updates

Before I got into this week’s readings (which bothered me to no end, by the way) I want to give a quick summation of my project’s progress. Over spring break, I recorded the mock interview which I’m going to work with. As I have mentioned in prior posts, I will be manipulating both the audio and the video recordings of this interview so as to make my subject anonymous. This will become important in my own research as I can still maintain a good deal of the interview’s context and the interviewee’s reactions and emotions, but still conceal their identity. This is crucial to responsible scholarship in politically charged contexts. I am in the process of getting set up with OHMS and software I can use to generate an annotated transcript. To sum up, I am making progress and the project is going well thus far – I will begin actually working with the materials over the coming week.


The first three readings highlight the importance of open access. The first reading listed shows the potential for scholarly application of 3D modeling tools. This topic and methodology are, however, a little out of my wheelhouse. I nevertheless found the use of certain tools to be fascinating. Regarding the second and third reading listed, I saw a lot of possibility for educational opportunity. Certainly, we cannot all travel to Egypt to view the Red Monastery or to the British Museum to view its collections (a particular impossibility for many of those living in regions from which the Museum’s artifacts were stolen), however these 3D renderings at least give some access to the artifacts. Allowing open access to these files may provide the spark for a young mind anywhere in the world to delve deeper, to read, and to think.

The readings about Syria irked me to no end. Certainly, I recognize that both of the scholars were attempting to grapple with epistemological issues surrounding digital scholarship. However, I wonder if anyone in Syria actually cares about “digital colonialism.” I would imagine that a far more pressing issue for Syrians is actual colonialism. The word “intervention” comes up a handful of times in the articles, but never to speak of the extent of the United States’ intervention in Syria. The term and theme of “cultural appropriation” (a term itself misread and “appropriated” from anthropological theory where it originally meant something completely different) emerges far more often. There is no mention (outside of vague passing references) here of the United States’ military intervention in Syria. The immensity of the destabilization United States imperialism is responsible for in Syria goes totally unmentioned here. The absurdity of the deputy mayors’ assertion that “we do not stand for terrorism” (we, of course, meaning the West) goes utterly unchallenged in both articles. These articles were both written in 2016, a year over the course of which the Obama administration dropped 26,000 bombs around the world. That is one every 20 minutes for an entire year. “We” in actual fact not only stand for terrorism, we embody it. That colonialism matters far more than that of a plastic reconstruction of an arch (that may well have not been destroyed had Western powers not fueled the flames of the Syrian Civil War) that religious fundamentalists and pageant princesses parade themselves around.


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