Archive for October, 2012

The Future of Undergraduate Digital Humanities: Call for Abstracts for DH 2013:

Next July and the next Digital Humanities Conference might seem very far away (to say nothing of Nebraska), but it turns out that the due date for the call for proposals is right around the corner. Consequently, Kate Singer and I invite 250-word abstracts for a panel on The Future of Undergraduate Digital Humanities. Abstracts are due to the both of us no later than Friday, 26 October 2012.

This project grows directly out of our conversation following our poster presentations at this year’s DH Conference. Just in case particular universities’ accounting departments wanted to know if the trip was time and money well spent.

The Future of Undergraduate Digital Humanities

With the increasing number of digital humanities job listings, postdoctoral fellowships, and graduate programs as well as the swell in digital pedagogy, it seems an opportune time to think closely about how the digital humanities will shape undergraduate education. New jobs and fellowships presuppose undergraduates who have been and will be introduced to conversations of the digital humanities as well as humanities faculty who will teach them. Because such infrastructures are still very much in flux, the digital humanities in undergraduate education is an area that scholars have only recently made inroads into seriously debating (Brier 2012; Reid 2012; Davis and Alexander 2012). This panel considers how our notions of the digital’s role in the humanities might be recalibrated if we make undergraduate education a more central preoccupation. Building on recent, compelling discussions of infrastructure and curriculum for digital humanities graduate programs (Clement 2010; Thaller et al., 2012; Boggs et al., 2012) as well as roundtables on alternative careers (Nowviskie 2011), dynamic new constellations for undergraduate education are emerging from the interactions among new computational methods, classroom spaces, reimagined curricula, and alternative career paths for college graduates.

More than simply creating students to enroll in new graduate programs, introducing the methods of the digital humanities to undergraduates provides opportunities for them to do something traditionally reserved for students in the sciences: original, collaborative research (Blackwell and Martin 2009; Norcia 2008). Working individually or as entire classes, students can experiment with new methods as they are being developed concomitantly by scholars, creating knowledge via new analyses and new approaches. Moreover, digital humanities has arguably brought discussions of pedagogy back to the forefront of academics discussions, with online journals such as Hybrid Pedagogy and The Journal of Interactive Pedagogy and Technology, Brett D. Hirsch’s forthcoming collection Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles, Politics (2012), multiple panels on digital pedagogy at the 2012 MLA (Harris 2012; Berens and Croxall 2012) and a digital pedagogy unconference at the 2013 MLA (Croxall and Koh 2013), Brown’s seminar on TEI and pedagogy (2012), a dedicated track at recent Digital Humanities Summer Institutes (Harris, Sayers, and Jakacki 2012; Jakacki 2013) and several poster presentations at recent Digital Humanities Conferences (Bonsignore et al., 2011; Harris 2011; Singer 2012; Croxall 2012).

This roundtable seeks to broaden and deepen current debates about both the role of digital humanities in an undergraduate education and the possibilities for pedagogy, as digital praxis, to alter how we organize and teach undergraduate students.

Questions that panelists might consider include the following:

  • What are best practices for project-based, research approaches in the undergraduate classroom?
  • What are the most important trends and practices in digital pedagogy across disciplines?
  • What departmental / university infrastructure and support are necessary for a digital humanities undergraduate curriculum?
  • Should undergraduate digital humanities work primarily consist of a computational means of studying humanities or a means of studying digital culture?
  • Is digital humanities a methodology or a topic of study? How can the two approaches be best integrated in the undergraduate classroom?
  • How do we integrate both digital humanities as a computational praxis and also digital culture as a topic of study (Reid 2012)?
  • How do we redesign curricula to incorporate both dh courses and incursions into traditional disciplines?
  • How might we envision curricula to be redesigned in the future with digital tools and digital critical thinking in mind?
  • Is digital humanities something that should be based within particular departments? Or is it something that should be taught across all humanities undergraduate departments?
  • How can we prepare students for work at the graduate level?
  • How does digital pedagogy sit under the big tent of digital humanities?

Please send proposals of 250 words or less to Kate Singer and Brian Croxall by Friday, 26 October 2012.

Works Cited

Alexander, Bryan and Rebecca Frost Davis. “Should Liberal Arts Campuses Do Digital Humanities? Process and Products in the Small College World.” Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minnesota UP, 2012: 368-389.

Berens, Kathi Inman, and Brian Croxall. “Session Proposal.” Building Digital Humanities in the Undergraduate Classroom. 28 Nov. 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2012.

Blackwell, Christopher and Thomas R. Martin. “Technology, Collaboration, and Undergraduate Research.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 3.1 2009. Web. 17 Oct 2012.

Boggs, Jeremy, et al. “Realigning Digital Humanities Training: The Praxis Program at the Scholars’ Lab.” Digital Humanities 2012. University of Hamburg. 18 July 2012. Poster presentation.

Bonsignore, Beth, et al. “The Arcane Gallery of Gadgetry: A Design Case Study of an Alternate Reality Game.” Digital Humanities 2011. Stanford University. 21 June 2011. Poster presentation.

Brier, Stephen. “Where’s the Pedagogy? The Role of Teaching and Learning in the Digital Humanities.” Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minnesota UP, 2012: 350-367.

Clement, Tanya. “An Undergraduate Perspective.” Digital Literacy for the Dumbest Generation. Digital Humanities 2010. King’s College London. 8 July 2010.

Croxall, Brian. “Courting ‘The World’s Wife’: Original Digital Humanities Research in the Undergraduate Classroom.” Digital Humanities 2012. University of Hamburg. 18 July 2012.

Croxall, Brian and Adeline Koh. A Digital Pedagogy Unconference. Modern Language Association Convention. Boston. 3 January 2013. 17 Oct. 2012.

Harris, Katherine D. “Pedagogy & Play: Revising Learning through Digital Humanities.” Digital Humanities 2011. Stanford University. 21 June 2011. Poster presentation.

Harris, Katherine D. “Acceptance of Pedagogy & DH MLA 2012.” triproftri. 14 May 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2012.

Harris, Katherine D., Jentery Sayers, and Diane Jakacki. “Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities.” Digital Humanities Summer Institute. University of Victoria. June 2011 and June 2012.

Hirsch, Brett D. Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles and Politics. Open Book Publishers, 2012.

Jacacki, Diane. “Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities.” Digital Humanities Summer Institute. University of Victoria. June 2013.

Norcia, M. (2008). Out of the Ivory Tower Endlessly Rocking: Collaborating across Disciplines and Professions to Promote Student Learning in the Digital Archive. Pedagogy 8(1): 91-114.

Nowviskie, Bethany et al. “The “#alt-ac” Track: Digital Humanists off the Straight and Narrow Path to Tenure.” Digital Humanities 2011. Stanford University. 22 June 2011.

Reid, Alexander. “Graduate Education and the Ethics of the Digital Humanities.” Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minnesota UP, 2012: 390-401.

Singer, Kate. “The Melesina Trench Project: Markup Vocabularies, Poetics, and Undergraduate Pedagogy.” Digital Humanities 2012. University of Hamburg. 18 July 2012.

Thaller, Manfred et al. “Digital Humanities as a University Degree: The Status Quo and Beyond.” Digital Humanities 2012. University of Hamburg. 18 July 2012.


We Need More Signposts!, A Call for Abstracts and Papers on Alt-Ac Careers

I love my job. I build amazing projects with a great team. I teach courses about all things digital. I collaborate extensively with friends on a wide range of projects. And along the way, I get to rethink what it means to work in and around the academy. My role is part of what has been increasingly called an alternative academic—or alt-ac—career.

Last year, the #alt-academy collection highlighted the wide range of jobs that fall under the umbrella of alt-ac. I contributed an essay on how to go about finding and applying for such positions as well as reflecting on the feelings and appearance of failure that one may (inevitably?) feel on transitioning from traditional academic careers and into a new position. My paper was part of a cluster in #alt-academy dedicated to providing “signposts” for people who were trying to figure out new trajectories, actively working on getting there.

In May of this year, a second Getting There cluster was announced. Like the first, this collection will provide a venue for discussing the pathways one may take to an alt-ac track and provide these signposts for those who are curious about alt-ac. My exciting job has slowed me down in organizing this cluster as I would have liked to. But today, I am formally inviting abstracts for essays and other media that explore “getting there.”

Contributions to the cluster may include any of the following:

  • reflections on the decisions and circumstances that lead or led to alternative academic work
  • the education and training of graduate students
  • consideration of the practices that prepare one to be successful on the alt-ac track
  • suggestions for overcoming barriers to effective preparation for alt-ac work
  • critical essays, personal narratives, or general “alt-ac advice”

While I expect most submissions for this CFP will take the form of original essays, the #alt-academy project welcomes other forms of participation and media: YouTube videos, diaries, materials from panels or workshops, tweets tagged with #altacadvice, previously published blog posts, and more.

Given the participants in the first iteration of #alt-academy, many of the contributions are slanted towards those working within the digital humanities. While welcoming further contributions from those within that community of practice, I am particular eager to see abstracts from those working elsewhere in the academy.

#alt-academy accepts new contributions at any time. However, I know deadlines make it easier for all of us to get things done. As such, please send abstracts by 17 November 2012. Drafts of essays will be expected by early winter 2013 but will certainly be welcome before that point. Individual pieces for the “Getting There 2” cluster will probably be published as they are completed.

Contributing to #alt-academy is a bit unusual. But so is the nature of our work.

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