IIT Humanities Department Chats with Carly Kocurek, Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities and Media Studies
What long–lasting effect do you hope students gain from your digital humanities class?
Humanities disciplines in general, do an excellent job of training students to approach texts and topics with a mix of curiosity and skepticism, and to explore new texts with confidence; I want to encourage students to apply that same kind of approach to the tools used for humanities work.
Is there a period of history in which you would rather have been born?
While there are moments in history I would love to have seen—long–past punk and New Wave shows, moments of discovery, and bizarre public spectacles—I have a hard time imagining living in another era. If I had to pick somewhere, I might pick an imagined future where we've actually managed to ensure equal civil rights and civil liberties at a national level; that would be an amazing thing to see.
Why did you become a teacher?
My favorite people growing up were a mix of English teachers and librarians, so it's probably not too surprising I wound up on a related path. It's exciting to help provide people with intellectual practices that they'll be able to use for the rest of their lives.
Is there anything unexpected about Chicago you've discovered since moving here?
Having moved from Texas, I was absolutely delighted to find a respectable barbecue joint just blocks from my house.
What current project and/or research are you working on?
Despite my grounding in digital humanities and media studies, my methodology relies heavily on the same kinds of methods historians have been using for generations. Currently, I'm in the early stages of a project on the history of —feelies,— which are physical objects like cloth maps packaged with computer games, and I'm continuing the work on my book manuscript, which is on the development of gamer identity in the video arcade era. I'm looking forward to spending some more time at the Library of Congress soon. The trade journals there have proven invaluable. They're wonderful resources, but I'm not looking forward to the multi–page paper cuts I tend to get from bound volumes.
Did the iguana's cage ever show up?!
The iguana's cage finally made it to Chicago about three weeks after the rest of the household did. Tweedy, the iguana, is now comfortably settled into his own corner of the basement, and much happier for it. We let him wander the house sometimes, but the cage is really his personal space, and he was pretty anxious in its absence.