What is Icarus?

Daedalus, imprisoned by King Minos of Crete in the Labyrinth, created two pairs of wings to escape. One for himself and the other for his daring son, Icarus. Daedalus warned his son to fly with caution. He feared that the wax binding the feathers of the wings would melt if they came too close to the sun. Icarus did not head to his father’s warnings for he flew about without any reservation. The wax started to melt as he flew higher and higher inevitably loosening the feathers; Icarus fell to his death in the sea below.

It may seem odd that the title for a literary journal at a military academy would be a story that breaths failure. The myth also notices the toil between adolescence and wisdom, much like a cadet’s experience at USAFA. It is important to craft a keen balance of knowing one’s limits and getting out of one’s comfort zone. That is what lies at the heart of this journal. As undergraduate student’s we may not possess the molded talents of an acclaimed author, painter, or creative thinker. Yet, we encourage those who at least give it a try; those who put on their wings and try to fly as high as they can.

What does our project aim to do?

The idea for the project started at the University of Victoria in British Colombia, Canada. Macy, Jacqueline, Deon Dodd, Major Jess Lopez, and Professor Bill Newmiller attended the Digital Humanities Summer Institute to attend classes to learn more about Digital Humanities. Macy was in a class that focused on documenting born digital creative. A question that was asked throughout the week was “why as humans do we feel a need to preserve things?” More importantly, “what is worth preserving?” and “who will find it valuable in the future?”

This project is the preservation and continuation of USAFA’s literary journal. It is an area of the Air Force Academy that often goes unnoticed; the creative literary talents of cadets. Looking to the past, we hope to use the literary analysis of the journals in order to discover and answer questions about the culture of the cadet wing throughout the ages.

Our team will collect every copy of Icarus ever created and digitize the literature in order to analyze the content. Use scanners in the office and academic rooms to scan in every page of each copy from 1965 to present day. Then, using a number of different textual analysis computer programs, we will conduct an analysis of the work. For example, we will be looking for changes in the cadet’s writing around the years when the first class of women entered the Academy. Or, when was the journal taken over and ran solely by cadets. Or, how were cadets portraying the effects of 911 in their writing. The analysis may change as the project unfolds. But that is the fun of the project.

In every interaction with the journals we find something more to uncover. Which, makes us all very excited for the project!

We hope that you follow our work under The Journey! We hope to keep an active blog of our progress and upload our archive work as we move along. If you have suggestions, comments, or questions, please use the Contact page to reach us. We would love to hear from you.