Proposed By: Will Kurlinkus and Katie DeLuca
From Joseph Weizenbaum’s shock that the secretarial staff were nightly confessing their innermost emotions to his ELIZA program to Vannevar Bush’s warning that “If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get far in our understanding of the world”—emotion, affect, and non-logos based thinking have always undergirded the digital humanities tradition. Yet, whether out of an eye towards efficiency or a feeling that emotion can’t be critically active, this area has been woefully underexplored. In this session we want to do some of that exploring, by discussing what role emotion (and alternative relationships/ways of thinking about technology more generally) plays in the reception, design, and teaching of digital texts and techs. We especially would like to discuss the ways in which emotional responses to technology are not always simply passive or uncritical states but rather are often a critical, active, rhetorical move for a purpose.
Some starting points of discussion might be:
- Digital spaces as places for the engagement of emotion
- Emotional reactions to technology as signs of a critical awareness of change
- Digital technologies as a place for negotiating and composing community identity, values, and changes
- How technophobia/-philia and the whole gambit of techno-emotions function in our classrooms
A couple texts we like when looking at emotion, tradition, and technology more critically (beyond simply dismissing technophobia and philia) are:
- Donald Norman’s Emotional Design: Why We Love (Or Hate) Everyday Things
- Rosalind Picard’s Affective Computing
- Adam Banks’s Digital Griots: African American Rhetoric in a Multimedia Age
Both Katie and I are coming from rhetorical perspectives on technology and are currently examining ways in which emotional reaction to technologies can be active and tactical sites for community formation. Katie has been studying Facebook memorials set up for recently deceased college-aged students and the way they serve as sites for community formation and grieving in the face of feelings of isolation and passivity often caused by loss. I’ve been looking at how traditional relationships to technology serve as emotionally-charged points of stasis during periods of technological flux where “old” communities encounter “new” digital technologies that sometimes conflict with their ideas of themselves–specifically I’ve been studying the hipster craft revival (especially knitting and digital aesthetics that mimic print errors) as a nostalgic response and re-embodiment of digital loss.