HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) was co-founded in 2002 by Cathy N. Davidson, then Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University and David Theo Goldberg, Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI). After a meeting where numerous educators were expressing anxiety about the diminished role of humanistic learning in the Information Age, Davidson and Goldberg wrote an influential essay, "A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age," that argued that today's new, global forms of communication and online learning are so complex and potentially so revolutionary that they demand a new alliance of humanists, artists, social scientists, natural scientists, and engineers, working collaboratively. The changes in our Information Age require us to think and act collectively to envision new ways of learning that can serve the goals of a global society.
The first HASTAC meeting was convened early in 2003 and we have been meeting virtually on the HASTAC website as well as at gatherings across the country ever since to reconsider how we conduct research, how we organize knowledge, and how we think, learn, communicate, interact, grow, change, and experiment in the face of changes happening faster than we ever imagined possible. Our meetings have included representatives of universities and K-12 institutions, museums, art galleries, music and dance venues, supercomputing centers, libraries, social organizations, minority-serving institutions, private and public foundations. They have taken place in Virtual Reality caves, online, in galleries, on stage, in performance spaces, at community schools, in high-performance computing centers, and even on a bus between Orange County and urban L.A., with a guided tour of the changing social and environmental landscape wrought by globalization and digital technologies.
CATHY N. DAVIDSON is Distinguished Professor of English and Founding Director of the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is also the Ruth F. DeVarney Professor Emerita of Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University where she previously held the position of John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. At Duke, she served as Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies from 1998 to 2006. In this capacity, she had administrative responsibility for over sixty research programs that operated between and among Duke's nine academic and professional schools as well as for innovative programs for research and learning inspired by new media technologies and methods. She continues to lecture and consult widely on interdisciplinarity and collaboration, and on the creative use and critical understanding of new technologies.
Past President of the American Studies Association and past editor of the journal American Literature, she is the author or editor of over twenty books, including several on the relationship between technological innovation and social change. Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (reissued in an expanded edition by Oxford University Press in 2004) is a classic study of the transformation in publishing, literacy, politics, public education, and popular culture arising from the new technology of mass printing in the eighteenth-century. Her case study of postindustrialism, Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory (a collaboration with documentary photographer Bill Bamberger), was recipient of the Mayflower Cup Award for Non-Fiction. The photographs from Closing traveled to museums around the U.S. for four years, including to the Smithsonian Museum of American History where the exhibit was viewed by over three million visitors. With Ada Norris, she edited American Indian Stories, Legends and Other Writings by Zitkala-Sa, the first Penguin Classic devoted to a Native American author and she is also the author of the travel memoir, Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji: On Finding Myself in Japan.
Co-PI of the Digital Media and Learning Competitions, administered by HASTAC and supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, she is also coauthor, with David Theo Goldberg of The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (MIT Press). In 2012, she published Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Change the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (Viking Penguin). Her most recent book is The New Education: How We Can Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux (Basic Books, September 2017). Appointed by President Obama to the National Council on the Humanities and a member of the Board of Directors of Mozilla, Davidson is also the 2016 recipient of the Ernest J. Boyer Award for Significant Contributions to Higher Education.
DAVID THEO GOLDBERG, Ph.D., is the Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the University of California system-wide research facility for the human sciences and theoretical research in the arts. He also holds faculty appointments as Professor of Comparative Literature and Criminology, Law and Society at UC Irvine, and is a Fellow of the UCI Critical Theory Institute.
Professor Goldberg's work ranges over issues of political theory, race and racism, ethics, law and society, critical theory, cultural studies and, increasingly, digital humanities. Together with Cathy Davidson of Duke University, he founded the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) to promote partnerships between the human sciences, arts, social sciences and technology and supercomputing interests for advancing research, teaching and public outreach.
He and Davidson published The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, a summary report of the book The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (MIT Press). He has authored numerous books, including The Threat of Race (2008); The Racial State (2002); Racial Subjects: Writing on Race in America (1997); Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning (1993); and Ethical Theory and Social Issues: Historical Texts and Contemporary Readings (1989/1995). He has also edited or co-edited many volumes, including A Companion to Gender Studies (2005); A Companion to Racial and Ethnic Studies (2002); Between Law and Culture: Relocating Legal Studies (2002); Relocating Postcolonialism (2002); Race Critical Theories: Text and Context (2001); Multiculturalism: A Critical Reader (1994); Jewish Identity (1993); and Anatomy of Racism (1990).
Earlier in his career, David Theo Goldberg produced independent films and music videos (some of which aired on MTV), and co-directed the award-winning short film on South Africa, The Island. With Mimi Ito, he led the building of the MacArthur-UCHRI Research Hub in Digital Media and Learning at UC Irvine, an on-site and virtual research facility designed to promote field-building in the area.