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The Future of the Digital Humanities--Feb 2, Join the discussion with Brett Bobley!

The Future of the Digital Humanities

A HASTAC Scholars Discussion Forum, starting February 2 at www.hastac.org

Where do the digital humanities go from here?

Digital humanities is not a discipline.  It is an attitude towards technology across many disciplines.  The changes wrought by the introduction of digital media to study in the humanities are in many ways inevitable--computing technologies have infiltrated every aspect of the academic workplace, even for those who do not think of themselves as working with "digital media."  But they invite pressing questions.  Historians can read more old books than ever before, but without visiting a physical archive or cracking an actual codex.  And, without publishing their findings in print journals. What happens to disciplines built around the book when they no longer need books to do their work?

Joining the HASTAC Scholars for this discussion will be Brett Bobley, director of the Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) within the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).  The ODH's stated goal is "to help coordinate the NEH's efforts in the area of digital scholarship." In 2008, the ODH awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to exciting new projects in the humanities, from text encoding, to interfaces for web access to cultural repositories, to preservation of born-digital literary artifacts. Come join the discussion, moderated by HASTAC Scholars
Kathleen Smith and Michael Gavin, and help decide where the digital humanities should be headed!

Brett Bobley serves as the Chief Information Officer for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is also the Director of the agency?s Office of Digital Humanities (ODH). Under ODH, Brett has put in place new grant programs aimed at supporting innovative humanities projects that utilize or study the impact of digital technology. Brett has a master's degree in computer science from the Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago. In 2007, Brett was recognized by the President of the United States for his exceptional long-term accomplishments with a Presidential Rank Award.

Kathleen Smith is a PhD student in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Germanic Studies from the University of Colorado a Boulder and a master's degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation researches the depictions of early modern German women who assembled large or culturally-significant book collections between 1600-1800, focusing on the ways in which these women represented their own literary activity and how
they fit into the broader context of collecting during this period.


Michael Gavin is a graduate student in English at Rutgers University. His dissertation, "Literary
Criticism and the Print Marketplace, 1660-1763," examines transformations in printed criticism in Great Britain from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century. Looking at a series of case studies from the 1660s to the 1760s, and using a variety of historical methods, Michael argues that printed criticism was used to provide conceptual frameworks for social
relationships that were local and explicitly interpersonal. As a study of how the print medium was used to construct new kinds of social networks, his research offers a contribution to the history of media and culture.

Thanks to flickr user Anne Helmond for posting this image. Please click on the photo for documentation and to see more of Anne Helmond's photostream.

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1 comment

This looks great. May this discussion be as successful as the previous ones have been. I love it that these two HASTAC Scholars (as with a number of other ones as well) are both looking at the early modern period and into the eighteenth century in their work. This will be a conversation for EVERYONE in the humanities, including those of us who believe that, in a decade, we won't need the adjective "digital" because that is what the humanities are and will be in the future. There! I've got my first question to ask Brett.

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