Busy week

The GlobalOutlook::Digital Humanities Community has had a busy week… and it is only Tuesday!

As Alex Gil reported to the globaloutlookdh-l mailing list this morning, the MLA conference in Boston proved especially fruitful.

This year was particularly exhilarating because of a confluence of factors. This year’s president, Michael Berubé, received a standing ovation for his impassioned presidential adress in defense of adjunct faculty. DH continued to be on the rise, showcasing now active detractors. Finally, the world of digital scholarship is opening up to the idea of a true internationalization as a cadre of bright minds debates race, gender, sexuality and the digital archive bravely and productively….

The purpose of these talks was to open the conversation, of course. I was happy to learn that Cathy Davidson and HASTAC have already begun plans to host their annual conference in Peru, with the collaboration of digital scholars from South America. We are planning to meet virtually in February to see where our efforts overlap, and hopefully begin a collaboration with them with graduate students as the main focus.

I also had a chance to have a long cup of coffee with Geoffrey Rockwell, of DH fame. We talked about possible collaborations with 4Humanities, who as some of you may remember, started a ‘correspondent’ program in 2011 to learn more about digital scholarship from around the world. We will continue those conversations with Geoffrey and Alan Liu in the days to come. Hopefully we will have some good news to report back to you.

The big issues facing us this week are establishing a more formal administrative structure to help oversee the many exciting new connections and more fully integrate ourselves into the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations (ADHO) infrastructure. Stay tuned for announcements on both these fronts in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, if you are working on projects that help promote contact among researchers, institutions, and students in High, Mid, and Low Income Economies, please consider letting us know and joining our Special Interest Group.

“There’s no Next about it”: Stanley Fish, William Pannapacker, and the Digital Humanities as paradiscipline

In a posting to his blog at the Chronicle of Higher Education, William Pannapacker identified the Digital Humanities as an emerging trend at the 2009 Modern Language Association Convention.

Amid all the doom and gloom of the 2009 MLA Convention, one field seems to be alive and well: the digital humanities. More than that: Among all the contending subfields, the digital humanities seem like the first “next big thing” in a long time, because the implications of digital technology affect every field.

I think we are now realizing that resistance is futile. One convention attendee complained that this MLA seems more like a conference on technology than one on literature. I saw the complaint on Twitter.

The following year, he was able to say the discipline had arrived.

The digital humanities are not some flashy new theory that might go out of fashion. At this point, the digital humanities are The Thing.  There’s no Next about it. And it won’t be long until the digital humanities are, quite simply, “the humanities.”

As Pannapacker noted here and in yet another posting on the topic, these observations were met with some unease in the discipline. Some resented the perceived implication that the digital humanities were new; others were concerned about his observation that the field was beginning to take on the trappings of previous trendy topics, most notoriously the cliquishness and focus on exclusivity thought to be characteristic of “Big Theory.” Read the rest of this entry »


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