You + DH = ?

Happy Halloween, CSLS friends!

It has been a very busy semester for Digital Humanists! Vanderbilt University hosted a fabulous THATCamp last weekend, at which Alex Gil presented on the “Asymmetry of Global DH.” The CSLS DH working groups have been very active in their weekly meetings, and last but not least, the Graduate Student Modern Language Association announced its Spring conference on “Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives: Filling the Void.” Megan Myers (a fellow Graduate Student Affiliate at CSLS!) and I co-founded GSMLA last year and are happy to announce our inaugural conference set for April 11, 2015. We have invited graduate students from all over the country to present on how the digital world has enhanced their research and in what ways they use computers to facilitate language learning within the classroom. We are incredibly excited to invite Dr. Carl Blyth from UT-Austin as our keynote speaker!


The personal projects that I’ve been developing within the CSLS working groups (by the way working groups are the way to go – it’s so nice to troubleshoot within a group setting!) are a map of the primary authors from my PhD reading list, and a visualization of direct discourse in the novel Sitt Marie Rose by Etel Adnan. As the program for the data visualization project has been frustratingly buggy (c’mon, Gephi!), I’ll focus this entry on my map 🙂

Francophone Author Map

In the Geospatial Tools Working group, we are exploring Mapbox, a program that creates snazzy, interactive maps. So far, I have coded and plotted points of my authors’ birthplaces, and am happy to find that they are beautifully scattered all across the Francophone world! My next step will be to add images, descriptions, and links to each plotted point in order to give more information on the authors’ life work. For those of you that are interested, I have thus far included the following writers: Etel Adnan from Lebanon, Mariama Bâ and Aminata Sow Fall from Senegal, Simone de Beauvoir from France, Denise Boucher and Louky Bersiniak from Quebec, Andrée Chedid from Egypt, Hélène Cixous and Assia Djebar from Algeria, Maryse Condé and Simone Schwarz-Bart from Guadeloupe, Marguerite Duras from Vietnam, and Werewere Liking from Cameroon.

Lastly, I am contributing to a collective project that is coding Baudelaire poems to create an online version of the Fleurs du Mal for our fabulous Bandy Center here at Vanderbilt. More on that to come…

In the meantime, enjoy this transition into November and keep us updated on your digital discoveries!





Hello, everyone! My name is Raquelle Bostow, and this is my third year serving as a Graduate Student Affiliate in the Center for Second Language Studies. I am a graduate student in the Department of French and Italian, where I work on French feminism. While this is only my second year teaching, I have already fallen in love with the experience of generating relationships and conversation within the foreign language classroom. Currently, I teach introductory French courses, which cover everything from the present to subjunctive tenses and incredible amounts of vocabulary and culture.

 Inside my classroom, I like to create a relaxed and respectful atmosphere where all classroom participants speak almost uniquely in the target language. Everyday students are engaged in writing, listening, reading and speaking activities and are required to move around, converse with classmates as well as the teacher, and practice structures. This year, my department is implementing the “Flipped Classroom” method of teaching, which requires students to teach the material to themselves at home in order to come to class and practice vocabulary and structures. Thus, there is a huge emphasis on communication. I have already noticed an increase in the amount of verbal exchange in my classroom!

 Culture finds its way into my classroom in various ways. Each class starts out with a YouTube video of a francophone artist, allowing the students to jump right into the target language mindset. In order to discover more about French culture, I have students use Twitter, Google maps, and various French websites. In addition to these technologies, I love the Prezi platform as a way to put together cultural and linguistic presentations for my students. Overall, my largest goals for my students are that they become motivated, empowered and enthusiastic about their language acquisition experience, that they discover how using a foreign language is relevant to their own life, either through personal or professional interests, and that they understand and appreciate francophone sociocultural norms while acquiring cultural literacy in the target language.

 So, bonjour and bienvenue, and I look forward to the conversations that this CSLS blog engenders!