I have enjoyed the weekly meetings for this fellowship. We talked about digital scholarship and the labor involved. The weekly meetings are helpful in holding us accountable and offer a space for us to talk about our progress, how we are feeling, and the issues we have encountered in our projects. I really enjoyed the recent meeting where one guest talked about the politics of digital scholarship and the pros and cons of using social media as a scholar. Academia Twitter has received a lot of attention. Many junior scholars and graduate students have used Twitter to build their public profiles and establish networks. On the other hand, institutions have used Twitter to surveil their current and potential employees. People on the lower academia ladder, such as untenured faculty, adjunct and graduate students are especially vulnerable to the consequences of this surveillance. I have heard from many junior scholars and grad students that they try to refrain from expressing their criticism of the university and/or views that the institution may deem “too radical” before they receive tenure. This phenomenon is dangerous to academic freedom and activism in today’s political climate. It is ironic that the University of Iowa has informed us – faculty and graduate students – that we cannot interfere with our students’ views on their personal social media accounts when their peers bring it to our attention, even when they are discriminatory against a specific racial and ethnic group, potentially putting students of color in danger, while universities have the power to pressure and censor us. It is also interesting that Twitter could be a great platform to build connections as well as to ruin one. We talked about how sometimes Twitter is not an ideal space for nuanced and in-depth discussions and miscommunication often happens. The guest shared their experience that online bullying and trolling can happen with a random tweet or heated debate.
I have been working on writing the code using scrapy API and experimenting with python, and it is surprisingly going well. Of course, I have encountered many roadblocks – bugs, crashes, and deadlocks, but the successful results from each step are very rewarding to see. It is also nice to have the support and resources going through the process. I plan to continue to sharpen and practice my coding skills to build a feminist digital archive for my dissertation.