It’s OK to Call It ‘Digital Humanities’

I’ve been meaning to post something about William Pannapackers’s article “Stop Calling It ‘Digital Humanities’” for a couple of days, but my teaching schedule is stacked towards the beginning of the week, so it had to wait. Now that Rafael Alvarado’s response has appeared as an Editor’s Choice on Digital Humanities Now, I thought I’d set my fingers to typing.

Pannapacker laments the way that pedagogy has lagged behind research in the development of the Digital Humanities His main point seems to be that the identity of the Digital Humanities has developed so one-sidedly around research activity that it is difficulty to transfer to more teaching-oriented institutions, whether that means faculty lacking the resources to engage in Digital Humanities scholarship or faculty wishing to teach something called the Digital Humanities to their students.

Pannapacker is not advising us to give up.* Overall, his suggestions are helpful hints for how to overcome the barriers in certain kinds of institutions. But therein lies the problem. Pannapacker has primarily the small liberal arts college in mind, and he is unconsciously making the same mistake he critiques—proposing that the Digital Humanities be defined in terms of the mission of a particular type of institution.… Read more…

Continue reading

THATCamp Pedagogy

On October 15-16 I attended THATCamp Pedagogy at Vassar College. THATCamp is an “unconference” designed to bring together Digital Humanists and would-be Digital Humanists in a relatively informal format to discuss Digital Humanities issues, methods, tools, and so on (see the THATCamp web site for a better description). The Vassar meeting was oriented towards pedagogical issues.

THATCamps are divided between normal sessions and “Boot Camps”. The latter are the only pre-prepared presentations or workshops at a THATCamp. The first session was a Boot Camp on Integrating Digital Projects into Undergraduate Courses. Here’s a summary:

Rebecca Frost Davis, Program Officer for the Humanities, National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE)

Kathryn Tomasek, Associate Professor of History, Wheaton College, Massachusetts

Digital methods of analysis exert growing influence on the practice of many disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, yet students majoring in non-science disciplines often have little exposure to computational thinking and working with computer code. At the same time, in the curriculum, the Digital Humanities promises significant learning benefits for undergraduates, who need a measure of digital literacy to function well as citizens in the twenty-first century. This bootcamp will present strategies for effectively integrating digital projects into undergraduate courses.… Read more…

Continue reading

The Transition to My New Web Site Has Begun

I am currently transitioning to a new web site based on WordPress. If you are reading this, you have probably found the new web site. Moving from static HTML to a content management system (especially one really designed for blogging) is a challenge. I am trying not to attempt too much too soon. During the transition process, if you are unable to find what you are looking for, please try my legacy web site.

A few words about why I am making the change. Having spent a number of years developing dynamic functions for the English Department web site, I have grown frustrated with the campus web infrastructure, which has been slow to enable server-side scripting and database interactions. If that’s geek-speak to you ; here is what it means in a nutshell: these functionalities allow you to interact with web pages, not just jump from one to the next. That’s all you really need to know. A side benefit is that this interactive quality makes it a lot easier for me to maintain my content, adding and editing as I go along. With WordPress in particular, I get the benefit of lots of work done by thousands of developers associated with the system, especially their design experience (which is my shortcoming).… Read more…

Continue reading