Blog Post

Thoughts on Day 2 of the HASTAC 2011 Conference

                The sound atmosphere today was that of fingers tapping on keyboards and tablets as attendees of the conference took notes, wrote blog posts, and tweeted about the conference proceedings. Due to the fact that there is so much to write about, I plan on doing a series of short posts that discuss a multitude of topics, but for right now I want to do a synthesis of overarching topics that have come up today.

First off, here is a snapshot of the sessions and addresses that I attended so that you have an idea of what connections I have been drawing:


Keynote 1 – Cathy N. Davidson, University of Michigan

·          Now You See It: The Future of Learning in a Digital Age
Introduction by Daniel Herwitz, Director of Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan

Keynote 2 – Dan Atkins, University of Michigan

·          Cyberinfrastructure
Introduction by Margaret Hedstrom, University of Michigan

Session E1 (Lightning Talks) – Rackham Amphitheater

·          Blogging and Blooks: Communal Authorship in a Contemporary Context
Staci Stutsman

·          The Future of the Book is Now – A Case–Study
Spencer Striker

·          Rethinking the Dissertation: Experiments and Practices in the Future Cinema Lab at York University
Caitlin Fisher

·          Building and Editing a Born–Digital Volume: Writing History in the Digital Age
Kristen Nawrotzki, Jack Dougherty

·          Massively Multireader: A Networked Teaching of House of Leaves across Five Classrooms
Brian Croxall

Session E2 (Feature Program) – Rackham Amphitheater

·          New Directions in Communication Studies on the Digital Revolution
Elliot Panek, Katie Frank, Julia Lange, Candice Haddad, Amanda Cote

·          The Future of Digital Publishing
Phil Pochoda (chair), Tara McPherson, Dan Cohen, Richard Eoin Nash

Keynote 3 – Jim Leach, National Endowment for the Humanities

·          Digital Technologies in the Civilizing Project of the Global Humanities
Introduction by Cathy N. Davidson, Duke University


·         Opening reception of installation “Loops” by OpenEnded Group


Moving past the general overarching theme of the conference (Digital Scholarly Communication), there has also been an apparent similarity between many of the talks when it comes to the way in which we should be doing the humanities. As I tweeted earlier, the buzz words of HASTAC 2011 so far have been participation, interactivity, community, connection, multiple/multiplicity, and inter/trans disciplinary. All of these words relate back to the keynote given by Cathy N. Davidson as well as some initial ideas that I learned when I first came across the Digital Humanities. In the keynote Davidson discusses the future of learning in a digital age as embracing styles of teaching and learning that reflect the digital age instead of replicating that which came before this age (industrialized rote learning).

The view that the Digital Humanities is about interacting with and building up communities as well as collaborating within these communities has always struck me as the main way in which we have to think about the field. I recently self-designed a major in the Digital Humanities and I have written about the creation of the 21st century reader (a term that I used to explain the ways in which we interact with texts that meld Old and New Media), and all of these words resonated with me as exactly what I have been doing and hope to continue doing in the future.



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