Graduate Colloquium

Thursday October 27 / 12:00-1:00 / Sherman Centre


Melissa Marie (emmy) Legge, PhD Candidate in Social Work & 2015 Sherman Centre Fellow

There is type of gendered, conservative, political climate that is often stereotypically associated with technology-oriented digital and physical spaces, which can be problematic for non-normative bodies who seek to enter them. Maker culture and spaces, by contrast, attempt to cultivate a reputation for innovation, creativity, inventiveness, playfulness, do-ocracy, and more. Unfortunately, the political climate described above and the toxicity associated is being echoed in makerspaces. In July of 2016, highly politicized events that I was personally implicated in transpired at Canada’s oldest makerspace, HackLab.TO, that exemplified this complex cultural collision. In this talk, I will describe some of the events that transpired, offer a justice-oriented analysis of these events, and talk about some of the implications.


Thursday November 3 / 12:00-1:00 / Sherman Centre

Ecologies of Gold: Mapping Global Mining in the 19th Century

Mica Jorgenson, PhD Candidate in History & 2016/2017 Sherman Fellow

What does Timmins, Ontario have in common with Ballarat Australia, the South African Transvaal, the Nevada foothills, and the Chilkoot pass in the Yukon? Nineteenth century gold rushes shaped all of these landscapes in remarkably similar ways. As neo-European technology, ideas, and individual people moved from gold rush to gold rush in the nineteenth century, they transported particular ways of using and relating to non-human nature. My research traces mining movements using digitized archival material from Australian, New Zealand, South African, American, and Canadian databases. Using the Timmins/Porcupine region of northern Ontario as a case study I argue that modern mining landscapes reflect tensions between imported mining knowledge and local environments in gold rush zones. Using ArcMap and QGIS I layered historic maps onto modern satellite imagery to explore changes on the physical landscape as mining progressed. This talk will take you through the acquisition, use, and preliminary conclusions of the digital scholarship used for my project.


Thursday November 10 / 12:00-1:00 / Sherman Centre

Digital Storytelling for Impression Management by City Cultural Organizations

Fariba Nosrati, PhD Candidate in Information Systems at DeGroote School of Business

This study investigates a recent advance in information technology, digital storytelling, used by city cultural organizations. Digital storytelling – the modern version of the art of telling stories interlinked with new digital media – is an innovative use of an information system. A digital storytelling information system links different stakeholders to various stories and facilitates the collection, storage, organization, distribution, and communication of stories about a phenomenon in a participatory manner among various stakeholders. For this study, we are investigating the use of digital storytelling by city cultural organizations for the strategic purpose of impression management – the goal oriented process to influence others’ perceptions. Using the “Love Your City, Share Your Stories” (LYCSYS) digital storytelling initiative in Hamilton, Canada as a case study, the use of digital storytelling information systems for the strategic purpose of impression management will be investigated from organizational and user perspectives. From the organizational perspective, the factors that influence the development and use of digital storytelling by city cultural organizations for the strategic purpose of impression management will be examined. From the user perspective, the factors of a digital storytelling information system that affect user impressions of city cultural organizations will be investigated.


Thursday November 24 / 12:00-1:00 / Sherman Centre

The Live Coding Scene in Mexico

Luis Navarro Del Angel, MA Candidate in Communication and New Media

The use of programming languages for the arts and music has been increasing in institutions in Mexico City, such as universities and cultural centres. Live coding, which is the practice of writing code in front of an audience in order to generate creative results – often for sound and image -­ has a community building around it. In the first half of the talk, I will give a brief overview of the history and the artists involved in the live coding scene in Mexico City, and in the second half of the talk, I will discuss the fields of machine learning, machine listening and generative music. Finally, I will bring these elements together in a live coding performance and reflect on networks and human-machine relationships.


Thursday January 19 / 12:00-1:00 / Sherman Centre

Give me your Creative, your Collaborative, your Desirable masses: Critically Interrogating Digital Labour and Surveillance

Arun Jacob, MA Candidate in Labour Studies

We live in a world characterized by digital networks, blurred boundaries, pluralized workplaces, hybrid identities, and highly contested ideological agendas driving complex interactions between diverse local and global discourses. The ways in which the digital labour discourse has been circulated through work and society have had a great social impact on how dominant institutions and workers interact. On the one hand, the labour force is becoming increasingly integrated with burgeoning new information and communication technologies (ICT). On the other hand, correlating the work force’s real-world attributes with traits gathered from their corporate social media interactions make them susceptible to exploitation through data-mining technologies, particularly with respect to the large forces of the surveillance state and capital-market interests. Technological instruments such as data mining, pattern recognition and predictive algorithms have thus come to light as new modes of regulating digital labour.


Thursday March 16 / 12:00-1:00 / Sherman Centre

Data Sovereignty: Building Resilience for Indigenous Water Governance

Kelsey Leonard (Shinnecock), PhD Student in the Department of Political Science, Philomathia Fellow in Water Policy, & 2016/2017 Sherman Fellow

Indigenous Nations as research communities and policy drivers have an inherent sovereign right to define our legacies and outputs. For too long Indigenous Peoples have been subjected to overt acts of biopiracy and data manipulation that contribute to ongoing legacies of colonization. History has made it so that Indigenous Peoples were erased from the page and now we are seeing history repeat itself as Indigenous Peoples are excluded and erased from the code. The presentation explores how climate change adaptation for the management of transboundary waters across Indigenous and non-indigenous communities sits at the intersection of digital technologies and Indigenous Knowledge. The bridge between Western Science and Indigenous Knowledge can be achieved through principles of open data sharing if carried out in a culturally responsive and respectful manner. As such, Open Data presents opportunities to dismantle archaic forms of knowledge production, that privilege Western Science over Indigenous knowledge systems, and allow for Indigenous Peoples to produce and distribute data that is reflective of our unique world view. Recently, the United States of America has begun deleting climate change data from their government websites and Indigenous data housed in open data portals by the federal government are in jeopardy of erasure. As Indigenous guerilla archivists wrestle to protect valuable data it illustrates a larger concern that Indigenous Nations must have sovereignty over their data to ensure this does not happen again given the policy pendulum of settler states. The presentation highlights how Indigenous Data Sovereignty is the authority Indigenous Nations hold under international law, notably the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, to manage the data on Indigenous Peoples, our territories, cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and ways of life.


Thursday March 30 / 12:00-1:00 / Sherman Centre

Making Uganda’s Intellectual History Digital

Samantha Stevens-Hall, PhD Candidate in History & 2016/2017 Sherman Fellow

When sources of historical knowledge are transferred from one medium to another, there are changes to form, content and dissemination. The early historical writings of East African intellectuals were drawn from oral sources and codified in hand writing in the vernacular in the 19th century, then translated into English and typescript by Western missionaries in the early 20th century, and finally are being digitized by scholars in the contemporary period. Ugandan intellectuals were engaged in the process of reimagining history through new contextual forms and methods of expression during the period of transition to colonial rule, a process that is echoed in the 21st century transition to digital scholarship which contemporary historians are engaged in. Digital History is offering new and exiting avenues for the analysis and dissemination of the data collected by historians of Africa in the archive and the field. As part of my tenure as Graduate Fellow at the Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship at McMaster University I am undertaking the design and construction of an online database that brings together digitized and fully searchable excerpts from manuscript sources that are central to my dissertation, many unpublished, in a public access online forum. The project engages with the new possibilities for bringing potentially deteriorating and difficult to access archives of African history to a broader public using digital tools while accounting for the history of cultural theft and unethical removal of documents and knowledge from the continent.