Blog Post

Raising DH Awareness on Campus

This year the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center (IHRC) at the University of Delaware is leading an effort to make the university community more aware of digital humanities.  The IHRC has created a working group consisting of faculty and staff from a variety of departments across campus.  This Digital Humanities Working Group is sponsoring a year-long lecture and brown bag workshop series as part of the effort to raise awareness.  The first workshop, which took place last week, was a “Digital Humanities Sampler.”

Maureen Cech, assistant librarian in the Manuscripts and Archives Department, began the workshop by referencing the Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0 (you can read the 2009 HASTAC announcement about its launch here) to talk about the “changing landscape of meaning making.”  Cech spoke about that landscape in three areas: undergraduate education, graduate education, and the academy and the library.  Cech and Jaime Margalotti, senior assistant librarian in the Manuscripts and Archives Department ended the workshop by showing a diverse range of examples of DH projects and talking about where students, faculty and staff can find resources, including the newly launched Morris Library DH resource guide.

The workshop was exactly as advertised: essentially a digital humanities survey.  About 30 people attended the workshop, though the audience seemed to be composed primarily of faculty and staff. There was a very “low barrier to access,” meaning not a lot of jargon or specialized terminology was used and the wide range of projects was chosen to appeal to the interest and imagination of scholars in varied disciplines and to attendees with various levels of knowledge of DH.

The workshop brought up a couple of questions (the second was posed by Cech in the course of the workshop):

How are colleges and universities, both with and without DH centers, labs, and faculty, working to introduce DH to campus? How are those efforts being received?

As DH continues to change traditional scholarship does it mean re-inventing graduate programs?

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2 comments

Thanks for posting this, Danya. These are great questions, and they are definitely shared by other campuses that have yet to establish a DH presence on capus, like Michigan. Do you know what responses came up during the workshop? And is there a website for the series?

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Chris, thanks for your comment.  Cech's question about graduate programs was treated as a rhetorical question, so no one in the audience actually posed an answer.  I am watching the responses on the new HASTAC forum with a lot of interest.  Even though the question posed on the forum and Cech's question are not exactly the same, they are close enough that I anticipate the answers will be helpful.  As to the question about introducing DH to communities on campus, I'm still hoping that people will chime in.  A couple of HASTAC Scholars have posted some initiatives that they've been involved in and when I get a chance I'll mention them here.

There is no specific website for the series.  The DH Working Group considers the DH Library Resource Guide webpage its home for now, though there is a short introduction and announcement on the IHRC site here.  The last workshop of the series for this semester took place today and convinced me more than ever that there is a need for more introductory efforts.  I'll post more about that experience sometime in the next two weeks.

What sorts of things are going on at Michigan to help establish DH on campus?

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