I saw her lift her honeyed muzzle
into the leaves, and her thick arms,
as though she would fly -
an enormous bee
all sweetness and wings -
-Mary Oliver, “Happiness”
For the February 2017 meeting of the Digital Approaches Reading Group (DARG), which I help co-convene at WashU, we explored 58 Presidential Inaugural Addresses as a common dataset — in the hopes of collectively showcasing and experimenting with different DH methodologies and tools. I was personally curious about a tiny word that I suspected might have big(ly?) implications: the word “great.”
The following is a transcript from my paper “Tweets of a Native Son: The Mythology of James Baldwin on Twitter,” which I gave at the MMLA conference on November 12. Huge thanks to Doug Knox from the HDW for helping me figure out how to wrangle Twitter data and to Ed Summers from MITH for generously sharing data, tools, and thoughtfulness.
In Part 1, I explained how I “hydrated” 17 million tweets that mentioned “Ferguson” from August and November 2014 by using twarc and how I generated summaries for these collections (# of tweets and users, top hashtags, top URLs, top image URLS, etc.) using twarc-report. But how and where does James Baldwin fit into the picture?
So my project “Tweets of a Native Son” examines the way that Twitter conversations about Ferguson and the #BlackLivesMater movement invoke the literary author James Baldwin. What’s my archive? How did I build it?
I started this blog largely because I wanted to start sharing some thoughts and updates about my project “Tweets of a Native Son,” a large-scale computational analysis of tweets that mention “James Baldwin” in relationship to Ferguson and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.