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Saturday, October 29 • 8:30am - 10:00am
#s1c: Exploring LGBTQIA+ Communities through Digital Landscapes

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Bridging the Gap Between University Archives and Diverse Publics with Digital Tools
Elise Chenier and Mary Corbett (Simon Fraser University)

Both oral history and LGBTQ archives have, since the early 1970s, served as tools to empower grass-roots, marginalized communities. As such, they have traditionally been driven by community-based imperatives, as well as community labour. Today, however, in the United States and Canada there are more LGBTQ collections housed in universities than there are in grass-roots archives. The Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony (ALOT) is one such archives. In this preliminary research presentation, I describe our current Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded project, “Bridging the Gap,” which explores how empowering users by making them “first class entities in the system” might bridge the gap between community and university and democratize knowledge. We propose that analyses of forms of user engagement can guide the archives’ development, and in this way provide services, information, and tools relevant and useful to diverse communities, including especially everyday lesbians and queer women.

Inside/Outside the Binary: Teaching the Politics of Data
Jacob Alden Sargent and Christopher Gilman (Occidental College)

At Occidental, we are experimenting with the integration of quantitative reasoning into courses outside of STEM. Students, often without prompting or explicit guidance from faculty, are conducting online surveys, generating data visualizations, and downloading large public data sets in their own research. Given that big data is driving decision-making from the LAPD’s use of “predictive policing” to deploy helicopters, to OKCupid’s manipulation of user experience to study human sexuality, we argue that quantitative literacy — in the form of critical evaluation of how data are constructed and used — is quintessentially humanistic, and thus could be considered a key component of a digitally inflected liberal arts curriculum.

Guided by this programmatic interest in quantitative literacy in the liberal arts, this interactive presentation zooms in on the design process for one inquiry-based course on non-normative gender identities and the politics of counting and classification. The course involves a class-wide research project that designs measures for non-binary gender identities and collaboratively analyzes the gender diversity of the campus. From this singular prototype, we derive some overall principles for the design of inquiry-based courses that aim to cultivate a critical approach to data collection and the quantification of human experience.


Diane Jakacki

Bucknell University


Elise Chenier

Professor, Simon Fraser University
Elise Chenier is a Professor of History at Simon Fraser University and founder of the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony. She has published articles based on her work in online digital archives in the Oral History Review, the Radical History Review, and Beyond Women's Words.

Mary Corbett

Simon Fraser University

Christopher Gilman

Occidental College
Chris Gilman is Associate Director for Design + Development in the Center for Digital Liberal Arts, and Affiliated Faculty in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture at Occidental College. He has a PhD in Slavic languages and literatures and a BA in Russian studies. His professional... Read More →

Jacob Alden Sargent

Occidental College
Jacob Alden Sargent is an Associate Director for Instruction and Research in the Center for Digital Liberal Arts at Occidental College.

Saturday October 29, 2016 8:30am - 10:00am
Room 241 2nd Floor, ELC

Attendees (12)