If Steve Ramsay says you have to build to be a digital humanist, perhaps we should give it a try.
The Nitty Gritty
You will work in assigned groups to map the movements of characters in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Each group will use Google Earth to create a map of one character: Clarissa Dalloway, Elizabeth Dalloway, Peter Walsh, or Septimus Smith. You will have to read (and re-read) the sections discussing your character very closely.
Your group’s map must include:
- 10-12 “points of interest.” Each point of interest must have 1) relevant quotations from the text, including page numbers for reference, and 2) an image. A point of interest could include (but is not limited to):
- an exact location given in the narrative
- an approximate location mentioned in the narrative
- pictures of historical figures mentioned in the text at that exact or approximate location
- links to audio files, video, or other websites relevant to an exact or approximate location or a particular portion of text
- a description of what prompts narrative shifts; in a stream of consciousness novel, what drives a character’s thoughts can be triggered by her or his surroundings
- At least one path following the movements of the assigned character.
- A historical map overlay
Please note, you must include credits / citation information for images, maps, and other objects that you do not create.
Maps will be evaluated on how well they meet the objectives outlined above, as well as clarity, creativity, organization, attention to detail, and design. You should experiment to make your maps as dynamic and innovative as possible. Use the software’s capabilities to its fullest! In addition to my office hours, you can get technical support by visiting Emory’s Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS) in the Woodruff Library.
Any additions or edits made to maps on Google Earth must be saved in a file. If your group members work separately on mapping, you will need to combine all the map elements into one file before presenting to the class. Make sure files are saved in the “kmz” file format and named to indicate which group the map belongs to. Completed group maps should be emailed to me prior to class on Thursday, 5 February. Your group is responsible for making sure your map is available and ready for presentation.
In addition to tracking places the characters visit, you’ll also be tracking the people with whom they speak and interact. To do this, your group will use a tab on the spreadsheet at http://bit.ly/dallowaynetwork. If a character speaks or interacts with someone—either in the present or their memories, record that person in the second column of the spreadsheet. These should be completed prior to class on Thursday, 5 February. In class we will collectively come up with a scale for evaluating these relationships.
Groups will present their maps in a 15-minute presentation on 5 or 10 February (so be ready to go on the 5th). Each group member must be involved in the presentation of the map. In the presentation you should discuss the interesting things you’ve learned by mapping the novel. You should also report on patterns that your group has found. Your group will have to spend some time thinking about what patterns you are seeing and what they mean in relation to your character and the larger narrative.
Furthermore, each of you will individually prepare a three- to four-page paper in which you reflect on the mapping assignment. Reflection papers must be emailed to me as PDFs before class begins on Tuesday, February 10. Please name your file “last name”-dalloway.pdf (e.g., croxall-dalloway.pdf).
Some questions to consider in your reflections are:
- Did completing this mapping assignment change how I understand Mrs. Dalloway? If so, how? If not, why not?
- What did I learn by completing this assignment that I could not have learned simply through reading the novel?
- What did I learn about the digital humanities in this experience?
- What was my experience of using Google Earth? What were the challenges and how did I or my group overcome them? What are the benefits and drawbacks to using a mapping software program like this?
- What was my experience of working in a group on this assignment?
- What would I change about this assignment to make it more relevant, informative, enjoyable, challenging, or interesting?
Maps and networks will be evaluated on how well they meet the objectives outlined above, as well as clarity, creativity, organization, attention to detail, and design.
Presentations will be evaluated on its clarity, organization, your group’s discussion of what you learned, and whether or not every member of the group participates in the presentation.
Your reflection paper will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis, focusing on your thoughtful dialog about the project.
Clarissa Dalloway (yellow)
Elizabeth Dalloway (green)
Peter Walsh (red)
Septimus Smith (blue)
This assignment was inspired by an assignment designed by Erin Sells. Dr. Sells was kind enough to share her assignment with me (under the terms of a Creative Commons license), and I’ve adapted and expanded it for this class.