Student Reflection – The Commercialization of Emotions (10.1)

By Katherine Mavridou-Hernandez, University of Florida

I began working on this project in the Spring of 2019 and continued polishing it and adding ideas for a little over a year. It all started with my fascination with an individual image and the many formats in which I had seen it used. I wanted to better understand the origins of the image, and the reason for its continued popularity today. Professor Crider’s course introduced me to the concept of the Digital Humanities and opened my eyes to the larger implications of circulation and re-distribution. With the knowledge I gained and the guidance of Professor Crider, I was able to seek answers to my questions and analyze the ways in which the emotions in an image can be used as a form of capital. 

I had always taken an interest in the ways in which common human experiences are used for commercial purposes, but I had never imagined the opportunity to pursue this curiosity. As someone who grew up using digital spaces in my daily life, it was fascinating to study circulation and re-distribution from an academic standpoint. This project really pushed me to analyze writing and question the world around me in ways I hadn’t before. Not only was it challenging to learn a methodology with which I was unfamiliar, but it was also difficult to narrow down the data into patterns for analysis. As my research progressed, I found myself noticing how recent use of the image focused less on the historical significance and more on the marketability of love. I wanted to focus on this and show others how images transform during circulation. 

I feel fortunate to have been able to create a project that allowed me to investigate something I am passionate about. Professor Crider’s feedback and mentorship played a crucial role in challenging me to make the finished product the best that it could be. I’m also grateful for the guidance of the JUMP+ team and their invaluable suggestions. Exploring research-based methodologies in the humanities for the first time had its challenges, but this experience has greatly shaped me as a student and helped to ignite my passion for Digital Rhetoric. 

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