The Five College Digital Humanities Program is pleased to announce that Dr. Jeffrey R Vadala, one of our Postdoctoral Fellows in Blended Learning and Digital Humanities, will be continuing our Five College Digital Humanities speaker series.
Dr. Jeffrey R. Vadala’s talk, “Virtual Reality, the Ancient Maya, and Astronomy” will be given on February 1, 5:30 PM at Hampshire College in Franklin Patterson Hall in the Staff Lounge (upstairs). This event is open to the public.
Among New and Old World ancient societies, the ancient Maya are known to have one of the most complex and precise systems of understanding, tracking, and observing the flow of time. Using maps and mathematical calculations, archaeologists, art historians, and epigraphers have found that these temporal systems were developed through the use of architectural calendars. Over time, these constructions developed into monumental observatories that were used to track celestial phenomena and host political ritual events.
Primarily focused on functional elements of architecture, previous studies produced highly generalized interpretations without considering how ancient Maya people experienced and interacted with both the natural and built landscape’s that contextualized the locations of these observatories. Focusing on the human experience of both the built and natural landscape, this study uses computer modeled virtual reality (VR) 3D interactive simulations to explore how the Maya interacted with their local environment and produced local astronomical knowledge at the Preclassic site of Cerro Maya (formerly known as Cerros). Researchers used fully interactive virtual reality simulations of Cerro Maya to identify two previously unknown early Maya architectural solar alignments. Additionally, by considering how these architectural alignments were transformed as Cerro Maya grew from a small seaside village into a monumental trading center, VR simulations made it possible to explore how local history and astronomical knowledge were produced and experienced differently by the various competing social orders at the time. As astronomical knowledge developed alongside society at Cerro Maya, it would come to play an important role in the development of hierarchy and social organization. Beyond archaeology, this research demonstrates that virtual reality simulations can be a powerful analytical tool for digital humanities scholars that study or explore human landscapes both built and natural.
Contact Jeffrey Vadala at firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more at www.jeffreyvadala.com
The Five College Digital Humanities Program is pleased to announce that Dr. Heather Richards-Rissetto from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be the first speaker to kick-off our Five College Digital Humanities speaker series.
Dr. Richards-Rissetto’s talk, “Are We in the Present, Past, or Future? 3D GIS Explorations of Vision, Sound, and Movement in Ancient Maya Cities,” will be given on December 12th 5:00 pm in N255 at the Integrative Learning Center at UMass in Amherst MA.
Ancient Maya architecture worked in concert with the natural landscape to convey messages of political power, social differences, and cosmological beliefs. Temples, ball courts, palaces, and plazas offered sights and sounds to create synesthetic experiences that influenced daily life and shaped society. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) offer tools and methods to derive quantified and geovisualized data. Digital technologies such as photogrammetry, laser scanning and airborne LiDAR allow us to create 3D models of extant architecture within contemporary landscapes. But how do we simulate ancient cities rather than simply visualize present archaeological landscapes? 3D Modeling software affords us possibilities to reconstruct non-extant architecture but typically requires time-consuming manual modeling. An alternative—procedural modeling—applies “standardized” rules to rapidly generate 3D architectural models allowing simulations of ancient cities based on GIS data. Recent advances in immersive Virtual Reality (VR) allow us to bring these GIS and 3D data into VR environments for cross-disciplinary humanistic and scientific analysis. In this talk, I discuss how the MayaCityBuilder Project is using GIS and 3D data to explore sight, sound, and movement in eighth century Copan—today a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Honduras.
Find out more about Dr. Heather Richards-Rissetto’s work at https://www.unl.edu/anthropology/heather-richards-rissetto
We all have our own rules about deadlines for student work. We are sharing this article, not as suggested practice, rather as food for thought.
Thank you Beth Mattison for posting this podcast and article on varied activity structures to increase student engagement and participation. From the Cult of Pedagogy.
Come to celebrate the amazing work of our colleagues and to discuss critical and engaged teaching!
Apply now to work with Cathy Luna, an experienced faculty writing coach, for a six week online writing fellowship (May 19-June 30th). There is an option to continue through July and August. Contact Kristen Luschen at email@example.com for more information.
Session #1: The art of file-building for reappointment and promotion
Thursday, April 14th, 5:00 p.m. in FPH 108
File-building involves much more that compiling the necessary documents and writing a statement. Come learn about what makes a reappointment & promotion file stand out as well-crafted, engaging, and user-friendly. This session features recent CCFRAP committee members discussing their insights about how to create a robust and well-organized reappointment/promotion file. This session will be relevant for all faculty – from new faculty who are eager to know more about the process to senior faculty who are preparing for a promotion to full professor!
Session #2: Fall 2016 Reappointment Information Session
Thursday, May 5th at 2:00 p.m. in Cole 101
This informational session focuses on the timeline and process for those individuals who will be standing for reappointment and/or promotion in Fall of 2016. While any who are interested may attend, this session will specifically benefit those who would like to consider their preparation and timeline for the upcoming academic year.
Dr. Sylvia Hurtado, one of the foremost researchers in higher education on diversity and student learning (particularly with regard to STEM), will be visiting Hampshire this Tuesday to give the Race Matters Lecture at 4pm. The lecture will address campus-wide conditions that support student learning, critical dialogue, perspective-taking, campus participation and belonging. In addition, Professor Hurtado agreed to give a lunch talk (noon-1:30pm) specifically focused on classroom teaching and advising. I encourage you to take this opportunity to learn about specific strategies and classroom conditions that would support critical and engaged dialogue.
Space is limited to 30 and lunch will be served. If the session becomes full and you would like to be placed on a waiting list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can register at:
Chris Tinson, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, is the 2016 winner of the David Gruber Award for Excellence in Teaching. Professor Tinson’s recommendations described his unique ability to facilitate challenging discussions and utilize student questions to guide learning. In doing so, he provides powerful opportunities for education, healing and student development. He is committed to the well-being of all his students, engaging them with relevant, real-world learning experiences in the fields of African American and Africana Studies. Professor Tinson is continuously innovating his field and teaching, posing the hard questions about race and racism in the United States and internationally to his students and peers. He has also served as a mentor and guide for student activists in the Black Lives Matter movement and the Decolonize Media Collective (DMC).
Karen Koehler, the Marilyn Levin Professor of Architectural and Art History, is the 2016 winner of the David Gruber Award for Excellence in Advising. Professor Koehler received high praise for motivating students to accomplish their best work and for creating a supportive and inspiring community of peers and mentors for her students. She sets high standards and supports her students to achieve their goals. Each of the nominations also mentioned Professor Koehler’s Institute for Curatorial Practice, an innovative program that she created to help both students at Hampshire and others outside of our institution to engage with the field of curatorial studies and get connected to internships and jobs. Her crucial support and mentoring of students extends well beyond their time at Hampshire, as many enthusiastic letters from alumni attest.
Join 5CollDH this Thursday, February 25th at 4:30 PM in Frost Library’s Periodicals Room at Amherst College for another exciting speaker: Ben Chang!
Ben Chang (AC ‘98) is an electronic artist and Associate Professor and director of the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) program at Rensselaer Polytechnic University (RPI). His work explores the intersections of virtual environments and experimental gaming with contemporary media art.
Using materials ranging from immersive visualization systems to modified surveillance cameras, hacked video games, and antique telegraphs, his work brings out the chaotic, human qualities in technological systems.
Chang’s recent projects include a suite of classic games rewritten for the Microsoft Kinect system, a virtual reality environment about remem- brance in memorial of the Holocaust, and “Becoming,” a computer-driven video installation that interchanges the attributes of two animated figures.