Aishat Aloba

Motion-based applications, such as Exertion games (games that combine physical activity and play), are becoming increasingly popular among children. Exertion games have been widely utilized by researchers to improve children’s motivation to participate in physical activity, since children are likely to spend more time engaged in sedentary activities [1]. Furthermore, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise activity [2]. A major challenge faced by researchers in the field of exergames is that children are not motivated to use these games after the initial novelty of the game wears off. The aim of my project is to improve children’s motivation to exercise using exertion games by improving their interactive experiences within the games. Prior work has found that that the precision of motion recognition systems used in exertion games is associated with increased immersion in the game [3]. Therefore, I plan to improve the effectiveness of motion recognition systems in recognizing children’s motions. Currently, my approach focuses on distinguishing children’s motions from adults’ motions in order to understand the motion qualities that are unique to children. The ultimate goal of my project is to improve children’s willingness to participate in exercise activities in order to satisfy the recommended number of hours that children should engage in physical activity.


  1. Jane Gould. 2013. Consumer Insights: Nickelodeon’s “Story of Me.” Retrieved August 30, 2017 from
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “How Much Physical Activity do Children Need?,” 2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 09-Sep-2017].
  3. Jasmir Nijhar, Nadia Bianchi-Berthouze, and Gemma Boguslawski. 2011. Does movement recognition precision affect the player experience in exertion games? In International Conference on Intelligent Technologies for interactive entertainment (INTETAIN ’11).

Andrew Jenkins

The Technosphere working group’s “How have technologies shaped our lives, and how do we draw on them to meet 21st century challenges?” grand challenge question invites inquiries into the ways that technology channels human perception and forms practices.  My research interests run along parallel rails by seeking to read the texts of Margaret Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson through the lens of nineteenth-century science and visual culture.  My project focuses on astronomy and the profusion of telescopically-mediated stellar figures these authors borrow, alter, and invent.  As science challenged established discourses like religion for authority, the public was left to amalgamate new and disturbing information—magnitudes greater voids in the cosmos unveiled by stellar parallax, an invisible planet (Neptune) lurking at the edge of our own solar system discovered via the new method of statistical prediction, and monstrous shapes emerging from the nebulae like the one in Orion.  The cultural work of basic metaphors like orientation, centrality, spheres of influence, and concepts like ‘heaven’ came under pressure.  This group of authors, as a result, sought to work through and use these new ways of seeing and thinking about the cosmos in what can now be recognized as a type of prehistory to our own Hubble-inflected relationship to the unseen totality of the known universe.

Conference paper accepted at the 2019 Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts conference in Irvine, CA, November 2019.  Conference website:

Conference paper abstract:

“Starry Ether and Nebulous Transcendence: Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Scientific Vision in Poems”

In responding to the ways in which speculative practices tangle with utopic, communitarian, and transcendental ideals, my proposed conference paper will address Ralph Waldo Emerson’s engagement with optics and astronomy in his first volume of poetry in 1847. The paper draws upon a dissertation chapter in which I contend Emerson goes beyond just casual allusion to and incorporation of concepts drawn from astronomy and optics and instead offers a causal theory that points to a material process of transcendental inspiration akin to spiritualism’s use of the ether as a basis for ‘contact’ with departed souls later in the century (cf. Moffet’s “Swept Over an Etheric Niagara” JLS 2015). I balance this abstracted theory against its practice, particularly a passage from his journals in which Emerson laments his inability to make direct contact with his “holy fraternity” of friends leading him to state “But so the remoter stars seem a nebula of united light, yet there is no group which a telescope will not resolve: And the dearest friends are separated by irreconcilable intervals,” a sentiment that stipulates the necessity for a connecting medium. In proposing a mechanism for his utopic form of individual, momentary transcendence—by no means permanent with the fleeting instances of revolutionary inspiration zapped from mind to mind and spirit to spirit (cf. Mastroianni’s “Moods and the Secret Cause of Revolution in Emerson” chapter of Politics and Skepticism in Antebellum American Literature)—Emerson is attempting to co-opt popular excitement surrounding astronomy’s nineteenth-century discoveries by offering a genre- and natural history-inflected version of the inductive method and in the process reclaims literature’s constitutive function in public meaning-making.

Anastasia Pantazopoulou

The Intersections Doctoral Student Mini-Grant has afforded me so far the opportunity to participate in the DH@Guelph Workshop, The Work that Stories Do in the World:  Digital Storytelling for Research, Education, and Change which was held in May 7th-10th, 2019 at the University of Guelph, in Ontario Canada.

The Workshop gave me a hands-on experience with the possibilities that digital storytelling offers in research, education, and especially in shaping individual and communal identities as a form of community engagement, a key point of my own research. During the workshop I was also trained in using the Final Cut Program to edit digital stories and work on my own digital story having spent a day writing my script, recording it, and taking footage.

You can find my digital story, which “narrates” the story of Helen of Troy (mostly as presented in Euripides’ tragedy, Helen) through a series of questions and statements that reflect on the impact of space and rumors/opinions/labels on one’s identity, in the following video:

Chuan Wang

My main research question is about how the Chinese people consider the status of “mobility” and “immobility” (or “non-mobility”) when responding to state narratives and social transformation in China. Empirically, I propose to collect narratives from people who work for the Chinese automobile industry. The case of people working for the automobile industry specifically tells various stories of a transforming China through people’s imaginations of their economic, social, and political possibilities, which are closely tied to the state narrative. 

Supported by the Intersections doctoral student mini-grant, I attended the 2019 Oral History Summer Institute at University of California, Berkeley. It was a very helpful advanced methodology workshop. In the one-week workshop, I have learned how to plan and structure an oral history project. Moreover, I have learned various practical skills and techniques to conduct an interview. Because the workshop also offered daily small group practice, it was also a very valuable opportunity for me to present my project to different groups of people who are not familiar with my research topic. I received many fresh and creative feedback from them that helped me to improve my research project.