The UW-Madison English Department has an unusual new strength. We boast a number of faculty working in the cutting-edge world of “Digital Humanities.” These professors invite students to think about writing as a kind of “design-thinking”; they ask them to think critically about the history of media, and they work with them to develop new media fluencies. In recognition of this departmental strength, we have established two prizes, both of which have been made possible by alumni gifts: outstanding digital media projects by an undergraduate and a graduate student. This year’s winners were:
- David Zhang, a senior English major, who developed a project called Hungry for Words, an exciting new website for freelance game journalists. It encourages these writers to turn a critical eye on what’s out there and to report on games and the people who make them. It aims to create an active community of journalists and readers in and around games and the video game industry. David created this site as a project for English 550, taught by Prof. Jon McKenzie. If you have a minute, check it out! http://gohungryforwords.weebly.com/index.html
- Deidre Stuffer, a Ph.D. student studying 18th-century British literature and digital studies, put together an amazing project called Piezoelectricity, a multimodal remix of Lauren Redniss’s book, Radioactive, which was the “Go Big Read” in 2012-13. Deidre remediates Redniss’s story of Pierre and Marie Curie with sound, image, and a computer programming language called “Processing,” which enables users to hear a section fo text and dynamically generate a unique mushroom cloud image. Deidre recorded the soundtrack using a contact microphone of her own construction, and even made piezoelectric crystals, which were discovered by Pierre Curie and are a crucial piece of contact microphone technology. Explore her project here: https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/stuffer/web/digitalremix/index.html
Each year we are offering more courses and more resources! For example:
- Design Lab, a new resource founded by English professor Jon McKenzie: http://designlab.wisc.edu
- Mind-bending courses that ask students to think about coding and media infrastructure as part of the humanities: http://courses.jamesjbrownjr.net/
- The Wisconsin Englishes Project: http://csumc.wisc.edu/wep/
Would you like to support the teaching of digital media in the department? Designate your gift here.