BCNM is proud to announce the recipients of its Summer 2015 Research Awards!
Kiera Chase is a PhD Candidate in the Joint Doctoral Program–Special Education at the Graduate School of Education with a Designated Emphasis in New Media. Her dissertation develops and refines cognitive-science theoretical models that illuminate challenges and opportunities in children’s development of mathematical concepts. Her scholarship is theory driven yet practice oriented—the process of creating educational technology serves as a context to consider, apply, and modify existing pedagogical frameworks. Her projects are thus focused on authentic didactical problems. She operates in the disciplinary domain of Secondary Mathematics with an eye to offer accessible instructional activities to both formal and informal learners, teachers, and families. She is particularly interested in universal design so as to reach marginalized sectors of the population and not only mainstream clients. Over the summer, Kiera plans to collaborate with technology designers to develop a tablet application based on her educational-research dissertation project, Giant Steps for Algebra (GS4A). GS4A seeks to contribute to two fields of study: the theory of educational technology and pedagogical architectures for conceptual learning. She hopes to contribute synergistic solutions to effective ed-tech design aligned with core curriculum. GS4A evaluates a pedagogical innovation for mathematics learning, in which a curricular unit is parsed into level-based game flow. Students construct virtual models of algebra problems consisting of fictional narratives.
KC Forcier is a PhD candidate in Film and this summer plans to mine British and French telecom company archives as she explores the “videophone” through history. The idea of simultaneous visual communication – of a videophone – has long captured popular imagination. Over the twentieth century many attempts were made at introducing such a technology, and yet each iteration – from the earliest working models appearing in the 1930s to as late as the 1990s – was generally considered a commercial failure. A media archaeological approach to the history of this “failed” (and now, in the digital era, finally “successful”) technology will offer critical insight into the less-known backstory of a now ubiquitous mode of moving image culture. In pursuit of a transnational perspective on the history of the videophone, KC will undertake original archival research on the attempts made in France and England at developing and releasing a videophone. The proposed investigation into the various histories of the videophone will provide crucial insight into the relationship between telecommunications technology and moving image culture, which will have broad implications for research on issues of proximity, intimacy, and simultaneity in media.
Ms. Grace Gipson is a 2nd year doctoral student in the African American & African Diaspora Studies program with a designated emphasis in New Media at the University of California Berkeley. Grace’s area of research interests center on various representations of race and gender within black popular culture specifically in comic books, Afrofuturism and comic books, and performances of blackness. Her current research project includes offering a historical and cultural analysis of the visual aesthetics of Afrofuturism via the mediums of graphic novels and comic books, and their connection/linkage to the African Diasporic Imaginary. This summer, Grace will attend a two week intensive Black Europe summer Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands. During the institute, she will engage in a project that interrogates the Black European experience and its engagement with comics, Afrofuturism, and social justice. She will question how social justice can be obtained through digital and print art from the Black European point of view, and how can we create spaces and platforms to (re)claim African diasporic narratives. At the conclusion of the institute, Grace will present her work at a concurrent comic book conference “Comics Interaction,” which aims to explore the possibilities of tensions of reading comics as a form of “world literature,” comics and translation, and comics as literature. She will also spend time in Lambiek, Europe’s first comic book shop. This shop has been hailed as a hallmark in the world of comics since its opening in 1968. Her overall aim is to obtain deepen the understanding of knowledge production and the aesthetical and sociological phenomenon of Afrofuturism and its relationship to comics as a medium to shine light on alternative (historical) narratives which challenge (pre)existing modes of perception.
Andrea Horbinski is a PhD candidate in History studying the origins and history of manga (Japanese comics) from approximately 1905-2012. She argues that manga is best understood as a form of sequential art which, while created in Japan in the early 20th century, was hugely influenced by cinema and comics from abroad as well as by indigenous artistic predecessors. While the few English-language histories of manga available begin in the late 1940s with the work of Tezuka Osamu, Andrea notes that the story of manga after World War II ignores its prewar roots, and this foreshortening has the unfortunate effect of occluding manga’s transnational origins. Andrea positions manga in its context among comics and bandes dessinées in order to evaluate local conditions in Japan more accurately, and to understand how different factors in each country produced different outcomes and developmental trajectories for each medium as part of the global history of modernity and comics. The summer research fellowship will support her archival research in the Kansai region of Japan at Kyoto International Manga Museum, the Tezuka Osamu Museum in Takarazuka, and the Osaka City Archives. She is hoping to study prewar manga magazines and the personal papers of Tezuka Osamu.
Nicholaus Gutierrez will attend the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria. At DHSI, he will take a course called “Project Prototyping for Beginners with Ruby on Rails,” which is designed to introduce students to important basic skills involving web project development: HTML and CSS, the Ruby on Rails application development framework, and developer tools like Github and Heroku. This course will help Nick develop skills essential to his future research. As an interdisciplinary scholar in Rhetoric and BCNM, his aim is to provide a perspective on digital media that can bridge the gap between the technical side of Digital Humanities work and a theoretical understanding of digital objects as cultural objects. This involves writing programs to assist in research and pedagogy, but also thinking critically about code as a form of writing, how markup languages like HTML and CSS structure design, and the aesthetic and ideological influence this might have upon the people using the software. Nick hopes to put what he learns into practice immediately through service to the New Media Working Group and and his own scholarship. He is hoping to rethink the fundamental assumptions and practices in humanistic scholarly work by employing the digital modular, less linear modes of academic writing.