“From Prototyping to Worldbuilding”
Dr. Jentery Sayers, Associate Professor of English and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought, University of Victoria
A Humanity+Technology/CoAD Lecture
Lawrence Technological University
March 25, 2021, 6-7:30 pm
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Abstract: How and to what effects is prototyping a mode of inquiry in humanities research and teaching? In this talk, I survey examples across labs and classrooms and then attend to one project in particular: "Remaking the Reading Optophone" at the University of Victoria (UVic). Dating back to the 1910s, reading optophones converted type into audible tones to give blind readers direct access to inkprint materials. Now considered to be "obsolete," they were foundational to the development of optical character recognition (OCR). With researcher Tiffany Chan, I prototyped past iterations of the reading optophone at UVic to study the labor of translation, which is frequently ignored by historians of media and technology. I conclude this talk by outlining what we learned from "prototyping the past" and how it directed our attention to the practice of worldbuilding.
Speaker bio: Jentery Sayers (he / him / his) is Associate Professor of English and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought at the University of Victoria on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen peoples and the Songhees, Esquimalt, and WÌ±SÁNEÄ† First Nations. He directs the Praxis Studio for Comparative Media Studies and is the editor of Making Things and Drawing Boundaries (University of Minnesota Press), The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities (Routledge), and Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities (Modern Language Association, with co-editors, Davis, Gold, and Harris).
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