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DH at the intersection of research, teaching, and advocacy

Reading through the proposals, I realize that my interests in DH intersect three related areas: research, teaching, and advocacy.

Issues of advocacy and research have been raised here (for instance, Katy Meyers, jbecker) in terms of how to deal with faculty who are suspicious of–or outright hostile to–colleagues working in the digital humanities. As the newly-minted digital humanities faculty liaison for our humanities center, I need to advocate for those engaged in digital humanities-related research. One issue we are already confronting is how to deal with tenure and promotion criteria for digital humanities work. In my experience, faculty wary of digital humanities scholarship are often attached to two long-held assumptions abut the nature of humanities scholarship: 1) that it is or should be the work of one brilliant author laboring alone, and 2) that this work, to be considered significant scholarship, must be peer-reviewed in traditional ways (university press or journal manuscript reviewers). For some, digital humanities seems to be about collaborative work thrown up on the Web without any apparent vetting. So, what systems of review could be established that would recognize collaborative work and how might that work be peer-reviewed? These questions are also closely related to Roger Whitson’s UnPress proposal and Cassie Good’s ideas about Web sites created in support of traditional print publications.

My other interest is in the use of digital humanities technologies in teaching and student research. Like sarah.werner, jeffrey mcclurken, and others, I want my students to participate in the creation of knowledge through the manipulation and presentation of data. Some of this might be formal work, such as the Omeka research project idea of thowe, or more informal dialogue both in the classroom (Mark Sample’s better backchannel might be very useful here) and outside. Learning outside the formal classroom is of special interest to me: I want learning and thinking about course content to continue beyond the classroom context. So, where might I/we start to implement these ideas in teaching undergraduates? What skills do students need? When does learning to use technology run headlong into the requirement to teach specific content? Could a course project be crowdsourced to the students in the class? I expect students to be able to use a word processing program — can I expect them to be able to build a basic Web site? Or does this just take precious time away from teaching content? (I’d like to think the use of digital tools enhances the content and its comprehension, but maybe I’m wrong.)

And now, I ask myself, is there a specific proposal embedded in my verbiage? Looks like I might be proposing two sessions:

1) a session in which those interested in DH and research/advocacy issues describe and discuss their experiences with how their DH projects have been received by colleagues, how various institutions incorporate (or not) specific tenure and promotion guidelines related to DH projects, and other related areas of concern.

2) a session in which those interested in DH and teaching describe and discuss what they’ve tried with students, what they might want to try, what has worked with students and what hasn’t, and why.

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  1. ethics, power, advocacy, technique | THATCamp CHNM 2011

    […] « DH at the intersection of research, teaching, and advocacy […]

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