The main thing I learned in religious studies 315 that data is much more malleable than one would like to believe. Someone who uses data has to be very careful with their metadata otherwise they can end up painting a maligning portrait of someone. For instance, if you showed crime statistics for an area you could say that one group could be more prone to violence than others, showing a false and harmful narrative. Even if the data is collected from an area that is wrongfully overpoliced. This would then create a false narrative and if used in a predictive algorithm, would persecute people wrongly.
Another thing I learned, is that the metadata used and on a macro level, the metadata given to users shows a company’s inherent bias, this in conjunction with my other class, display that it is very hard for an individual and by extension, systems created by individuals to be without presuppositions and biases. These then reflect in meta data where it is very hard to convey a different way of knowing as opposed to the traditional euro-American post renaissance way of thinking. For example, there exists whole other database offering tailored to indigenous people groups. Utilizing a similar but more niche set of metadata.
The final few sessions were focused on privacy, and I left those classes with a much more revitalized fear of big data. The main concern I walked away with is predictive data algorithms and virtual reality, I will be moving to the woods.
This class has taught me a tremendous amount of useful information about data. When I initially signed up for the class, I assumed it was a lecture class on different religions around the world. I was unaware of what digital humanities even was so I took a shot in the dark and took this class. Overall, I am glad I took this class because it has taught me valuable knowledge on working with data, which in this day and age is more critical to know now than ever before. I have come to understand digital humanities as the look into how humanities around the world are intersecting with ever changing technology. Technology is critical in any facet of structured education, it used for the most basic of task such as turning in homework, to finding scholarly articles on religious texts. Its easy to tell how religious study can fit into digital humanities. Digital humanities has to do with the discipline of humanities and religion is core part of humanities studies. Through Digital humanities, we are able to extract data from specific texts and see how often a word or phrase is used.
Over the course of the semester, I have come to understand digital humanities as the use of data and technology to analyze and present information in different ways particularly in relation to the humanities. One of the things that interested me during this class was the use of technology to study and accomplish things that may not have otherwise been possible. Thinking about the massive projects that we have learned about this semester for example in relation to texts and history and how technology was used to accomplish these projects that would have taken someone too long to do or could not have been done. Before I took the class, I had seen the three-dimensional modeling done with archaeological projects and I thought they were really cool, but a lot of work goes into making them and so learning how they and the many other projects that we looked at during this class were created showed me that some of these projects likely required technology or technology created new ways for the information and data to be presented, visualized, and analyzed.
Religious studies is such a broad field that studies religion but also looks at so many different things like definitions. It taught me critical analysis skills and it relates to so many different fields of study. Digital humanities can be used to study religion and make massive projects possible and present or analyze that information in different ways. The skills learned in studying DH like making charts, graphs, and looking at things like patterns or metadata are useful and can also be applied to so many other projects, classes, and subjects including religious studies.
This course has taught me a lot. To begin with, I was not even sure what “Digital Humanities” was before I took this course. Now I know that in involves a lot of data, and cool interesting displays of that data. Obviously, we learned DH is much deeper than cool interactive images and numbers. I think the biggest takeaway I got was the level of intricacies in data collection and presentation. We read many good pieces about data. I found the readings about meta data to be most interesting to me. I also found learning about the various websites and tools that are used for different DH projects to be extremely helpful in my understanding of the concepts of digital humanities. I feel like I’ve gained knowledge of many different topics in digital humanities that I can go back and explore on my own time after the course is finished (which I can’t say I’ve had the same experience in many other classes). I already had a some interest in digital topics around computer science and the internet so combining that with the study of religion was very interesting. I really enjoyed all the little weird websites that do non-conventional things like the Ai art creator and writer. I also enjoyed doing the projects for this class because they allowed room for a bit of creativity which was something I was not expecting. Overall, this class has given me new interests and pushed me to think more critically about technology and its relationship with topics in religion.
Digital Humanities has been pretty cool this semester and it totally deviated from what I thought it was going to be. At the beginning of the semester, I was genuinely concerned about this class requiring a ton of coding and learning to use applications and software systems that frustrated me in high school when i initially tried to learn them. That was not the case. I had a pretty bad understanding of what DH really was until recently. I think that at least according to my own definition, Digital Humanities is a more advanced approach to the work that has been and is done in the field of religion for as long as its been around. Moreover, I would define Digital Humanities as a more tangible approach to understanding the complexities of academia through the presentation of data that seeks to better represent large quantities of data. I found that I learned all sorts of cool stuff about APIs and Big data, I furthered my ability to do effective research, and most importantly, I learned how to input the things I’ve gathered in my research and put them together in such a way that I would be able to provide some really cool visualizations (I think). The greatest way to argue that this fits into the study of religion is simply to look around the department here at the capstone. For example, the projects we focus on in this class are great examples as they’re directly related to religion. Even further, the department focuses on its podcast and the faculty are undoubtedly critical components of projects like The Religious Studies Project and others like Uncivil Religion which both rely heavily on material derived from the skills we’ve developed in DH this semester.
For my final project I am exploring religious movies and how they are made. Mainly I am looking into who is making the movies, where they are filmed, and who is representing the characters. My question is “Are religious movies accurately portraying people of faith?”. I ask this question because representational ethics is highly debated topic in film and television, this mainly due to concerns of type casting roles instead of choosing actors accurate to the people they are playing. One place I am stuck at is creating a heat map of where the films are shot.
Actors who played Jesus, Moses, Noah, Buddha and more religious figures
The question I am looking at for my project is related to the development and decline of Ostia in the Roman period through the construction, modification, and either destruction or abandonment of buildings in the archaeological record. I am also looking at how building use changed throughout the centuries. In my data, there is a pattern of construction that begins in the 2nd century BCE and grows until the 2nd century CE but sharply declines in the 3rd century CE. During the 2nd through the 4th centuries CE, modifications and buildings being largely repurposed after something new was installed in it, like a hall used for commercial purposes that became a bakery, increased. In the 3rd century CE, several buildings were destroyed or abandoned. There is evidence of a few modifications from the 4th century through the 6th century, but the data is much smaller than in the 2nd and 3rd century. Some of the buildings like the Garden Houses were destroyed in an earthquake during 3rd century but there is evidence that people rebuilt or were still using the building above the destroyed layer in the 4th century.
Dates and the function of the building are always kind of challenging because date ranges can be so large that they sometimes span multiple centuries and for some of the buildings, archaeologists either don’t know what the building was used for or there are multiple debates about what a building was.
For this lab, I choose to visualize the screenplay “The Last Temptation of Christ”. This is a film from 1988, written by Paul Schrader. The visualization is showing the which words are the most used in the screenplay. The largest word signifies the most used, while the smallest word is the least used word. “Jesus” was the most used word with 725 uses. From what I could tell, “turns” is the least used and smallest with 31 uses. Since this is a screenplay, and I didn’t filter out any words, words like “cut”, “ext”,”int” are used frequently as sluglines, but don’t contribute to the story itself, but rather as directions for the filmmakers. Jesus makes sense as the most used word, seeing how Jesus is the main character, meaning his name is spoken a lot in dialogue and used as character headings.
The texts I was visualizing was the eight texts from Tuesday’s class by Dr. McCutcheon. The visualization is called a Mandala visualization and it looks at the relationship between terms and the texts. The closer the document is to the term, the more frequently the term appears within the text. This visualization could establish how often words are repeated within a document and the frequency could be compared between texts.
I took the data from the bulletin and put it back into flourish, and in doing so, I attempted to better visualize which sources were cited by authors and how many times. I was a little bit frustrated because I had similar issues to the ones faced in class where I would copy and paste something incorrectly or include the wrong header.
I think my graph demonstrates to the reader how many sources an author actually uses when writing articles and essays. In gathering research items for this class I was reminded of how much stuff goes into a piece of work that’s to be presented. Hopefully this graph demonstrates something to that effect.