Experimenting in the Digital Humanities

For the past several weeks, I have been researching augmented reality with the aim of identifying some of its distinguishing features—“distinguishing” being the operative and tricky word here.

Mapping the Night

Moon with mapping pin

In the early fall of 1975, Susan Alexander Speeth was stabbed to death when walking home alone at night. Her body was found less than a block from her home. In the aftermath of Speeth’s death, feminists cried the slogan “Take Back the Night.” The call remains a rallying call to mourn the loss of what many women has never had: freedom in public spaces. While it’s misguided to assume that most violence against woman looks like the Speeth case, …


Anxiety? There’s an App for That

My students often have to give presentations at the end of the semester, and public speaking is something that genuinely terrifies a lot of people. In addition to building a supportive, low-judgment environment, I try to give them a few tips for public speaking and how to approach it with minimal anxiety, but this deserves an entire course in itself. And while it’s normal to be nervous about speaking in public, sometimes this anxiety turns into full-blown panic. If that’s the …

Augmented Reality and Smartphones: Friends or Foes?

A hand is holding up a smartphone that shows an AR-app in use. The screen looks like the camera mode is on, but there are three translucent boxes overlaid on the streetview, which show the names of three locations on a German street that have free wifi, as well as their wifi's signal strength and the walking distance to each location.

Pardon the spatial-rhetorics wordplay here, but I am increasingly getting the sense that the topic at the center of this locative media research group—augmented reality—feels simultaneously like unfamiliar and familiar territory. I have spent a substantial amount of time researching and reflecting on locative media, especially thanks to my time in Dr. Casey Boyle’s Fall 2014 course “Spatial Rhetorics and Locative Media.” There we’d often discuss the ways in which mobile technologies affect perceptions of embodiment and place, and, as …

Mapping Patriarchy

hoop cross stitch reads: "a woman's place is in the house and senate"

At the center of feminist politics we often find physical spaces. Consider abortion clinics, prisons, restrooms, universities, and homes: each space a site for a struggle for safety and autonomy, each space an example of how patriarchy uses space to project an illusion of stability. An ideology that casts women inferior depends on the production of spaces where women are subject to violence. If patriarchy is only workable only insofar that gender hierarchies seem natural and, therefore justified, destabilizing spaces is a crucial step …

Does Augmented Reality Diminish our Humanity?

Google Glass

Augmented reality, still in the nascent stages of technological development but quickly gaining traction, attempts to alter the way we interact with the world as we know it. Ideally, devices and apps that help to “augment” our reality will help us accomplish tasks that we wouldn’t be able to accomplish otherwise. The Google Glass experiment is probably one of the most famously publicized recent attempts at bringing augmented reality to the general population through wearable technology.

Introducing our Spring 2016 Research Priorities: Augmented Reality

Google cardboard headset on a table

Like last semester, our Spring 2016 Priority in Locative Media is Augmented Reality. Mobile interfaces—including but not limited to smartphones and wearable devices—allow information and sensory experience to be layered over the physical-geographic world, mediating and supplementing users’ perceptions of ‘reality’, space, and place. Given the increased prevalence of such technologies and intense recent interest in rhetorics of space and place, such additions to the lived environment afford rich possibilities for rhetorical scholarship and instruction.

Finally Augmenting the UT South Lawn Statues

Image shows a crowd watching the Confederate Flag be lowered outside a building with columns.

At the start of the 2015 fall semester, we (the Augmented Reality Research Group) sat down to decide on our project. Several recent events in the news over the past year had influenced our decision. On June 17th, Dylann Roof, a white twenty-one-year-old male, had just shot and killed nine African Americans, including a state senator, during an evening prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Church, one of the oldest African-American churches in the South.

Crowd Sourcing Augmented Reality

Recently a new augmented reality app called Capsule came to my attention. It is intended to be an augmented reality social network based on location. Having an unique moment while walking somewhere in the city? Take a photo or video, put it into a capsule and drop at the location where it happened. Other users of the app will be able to see the moment you recorded as they walk by the same location, hours or years later.

Digital Lesson Plan Open House: Augmented Reality

To Our Usual Readers, In lieu of a conventional blog post, and in preparation for the 2015 DWRL Digital Lesson Plan Open House, this post summarizes a lesson on augmenting a physical space to better understand arguments about the rhetoric of space — in this case, the DWRL itself (how meta!). See ya next post! The Augmented Reality Team