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Thanks to Sean Hauze, Polly Card, and James Frazee for organizing such an amazing event! The CSU Immersive Learning Summit hosted attendees from 23 California State University campuses as well as industry leaders. Special thanks to Ethan Garcia and his crew for creating this awesome video about what we are doing at SDSU. A special shout-out to my students David San Juan and Dwayne Wilkes who are featured in this piece.

Augmented Reality in the Classroom

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Two days ago, I was privileged to share how I am incorporating VR and AR into my Humanities 409 class with San Diego State’s Center for Teaching and Learning. This journey began last year with Dalton Salvo’s invitation to experiment with Virtual Reality, and has evolved into a Humanities class that now has “lab time” built in.

We use VR and AR to physically to explore theory and to practice responsive critique to examinations of middleware. Below is a snapshot from one of the course syllabi.

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These explorations allow for social constructions to be interrogated in innovative and improvisational ways. By incorporating dedicated time in class to experimentation, and students reflecting on those experiences, I hope to collect data that will help create a new structure to specific Humanities classes-a format that supports Digital Humanities experiential learning and students’ ability to express their ideas.

Virtual Immersive Teaching & Learning

Yesterday was my first prep day experimenting with the capabilities of AH1120 that will be basecamp for Humanities 409 [Honors]. The course, entitled “The Future”, engages with speculative, pop-ontological, and techno-anxiety inducing sci-fi to explore the broad spectrum of realities presented in visual as well as written narratives, and to critique the social constructions of bodies and spaces in futuristic narratives. Last year we had the privilege of being introduced to VR thanks to Dalton Salvo (Ph.D. candidate, U.C. Irvine), who was creating his M.A. thesis in Virtual Reality and generously shared the experience with my Humanities class and many others. The experience of VR connected the course’s theory work in the exploration of reality from Jean Baudrillard, Lewis Carroll, Alan Turing, and Albert Einstein (to name a few). It gave the students a physical space to engage with theory, ultimately providing an active learning experience. To view my student’s Jessica’s Vlog reflection, please click here.

Thanks to the hard work and innovative ideas of Rudy Arias, Sean Hauze, and Polly Card from ITS, VR has become a present actuality in the classroom and beyond at SDSU. Not only do we have access to VIVE, but Rifts, Hololens, and 360 Cameras. AH1120 now operates as an interactive learning space AND a lab. With this capability, our class can continue engage in discussion with digital visualizations operated through 5 screens, iPads, and airplay but also pivot gears and dive into physical explorations of social constructions, testing boundaries and borders of contrived realities.

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HACKING American Culture

Humanities 370 students this summer dissected historical narratives to explore intersections of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. Utilizing scholars such as Deborah Root (Cannibal Culture), Linda Williams (“Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess”), Edward Said (Orientalism), Karin L. Stanford (“Keepin’ It Real in Hip Hop Politics: A Political Perspective of Tupac Shakur”), and Gwendolyn Pough (“Seeds and Legacies: Tapping the Potential in Hip Hop”), students created deformance critiques containing images, music, and analysis.

HACKS are digital learning activities that I developed in 2014 for History 110 students at San Diego State University as a Teaching Associate. The HACKS have been archived and are linked to upper division Humanities classes and are integrated into Layered Student Research. New HACKS from American Culture this summer are also part of the archive, making them accessible for new examinations this fall in Humanities 409.

American Culture (HUM370) goes totally ONLINE this Summer!

Day 1 of Summer Session 2 begins at SDSU today and we enter our virtual interactions via ZOOM, Tumblr, and WordPress to engage with 20th-century American Culture.

Source: American Culture (HUM370) goes totally ONLINE this Summer!

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Kurt Cobain @ the PCA/ACA

I am totally thrilled that the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association is hosting its convention right here in San Diego! On Thursday, I will present my current work on Kurt Cobain, which is rooted in previous research conducted in my M.A. thesis, and encompasses new examinations of masculinity and queered performance as expressions of radical feminism.

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Title: Kurt Cobain: Inverting American Masculinity in Grunge
Kurt Cobain is notably grunge’s most famous figurehead to both rock fans and consumers of mainstream media outlets. His name alone invokes a tempest of tragic memories, iconic performances, as well as visceral criticism and conspiracy associated with Courtney Love. Twenty-five years after Nirvana released their now multi-platinum album Nevermind, Cobain still graces covers of magazines, is heard on the airwaves, and remains the subject of popular inquiry. Unfortunately, the continued quest to sustain the masculine ephemerality of the rock icon by commercial conglomerates imprisons Cobain’s true identity as a radical feminist. Scholarship and rock journalism have done little to change the established masculinist narrative of Cobain and grunge which further entombs his feminist legacy. This multi-modal presentation strives to exhume Cobain’s identity as a radical feminist who performed powerful critiques of late 20th-century masculinity structures in the United States through grunge. Cobain’s creative use of circus culture, Camp, and gender subversion were violent and poignant expressions of radical feminism intended to devalue American masculinity. This project cross-examines the commercial masculinist memory associated with Cobain and grunge by analyzing primary source interviews of those closest to Cobain and critiquing mediated and live performances. Through the deployment of Speech-Act Theory, Feminist Musicology, and Queer Theory this project highlights the successful inversion tactics of Kurt Cobain to distort constructions of American masculinity and heterosexuality.

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