In this introductory post I am going to tell you a little bit about myself, my research interests, and the sources of my enthusiasm for Praxis and Prism.
So, let’s start with the basics: I am currently a third year graduate student at UVa’s Department of Sociology. Though, as a sociologist, I am trained to think scientifically about the social landscape, I also have a strong connection to the humanities. I have a B.A. in music (with a focus on vocal performance) and a M.A. in musicology (focus on research and scholarship). Given my background, it might not be surprising that I specialize in cultural sociology. This means a lot more than an interest in applying social theory to culture or the arts. It means that I am interested in the way that culture shapes our thinking, constrains or enables action and agency, and structures our experience of the world. More specifically, I am interested in the way that the available scripts (you might also say logics or frameworks) within a culture structure our way of making meaning and making truth claims.
My interest in the Digital Humanities really began when I attended the interest meeting about Praxis last spring. Hearing the 2011-2012 team talk about Prism quickly got me excited about the research possibilities of the Digital Humanities. Where most data sets available to sociologists provide demographic information and perhaps basic information about opinions or attitudes, a tool like Prism would allow us to get a better handle on how people think through and make meaning from texts–something that is very difficult to get at through traditional survey methods. Although Prism clearly has other potential (I am also enthusiastic about the way it could be integrated into the classroom) , I am hoping that the coming year will prepare me to incorporate some of the innovations of the Digital Humanities into my own research.