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19 February Journal: The Labor of Digital Humanities

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 The breadth and depth of the list of workshops for this year’s NYC DH Week articulates one of the first questions this class addressed last semester: “digital humanities: singular or plural?” Not only were the workshops on established fields like digital editions but there were also ones on emerging fields like physical computing and (in the age of the surveillance state and now Trump) information security. The digital humanities do seem increasingly plural. Kathleen Fitzpatrick addressed this question herself in the 2012 edition of Debates in the Digital Humanities when she argued that we can best navigate the “creative tension[s]” in the field by letting the field “remain plural” (Fitzpatrick).

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 More importantly, however, for the purposes of this semester’s class, NYC DH Week displayed an overwhelming amount of skills to learn, or decide not to learn, in order to work within the field. While revising my proposal, for example, I tried to limit the deliverables to those that required proficiency in skills with which I’m most comfortable like project management and front-end development. This proved almost impossible—any nontrivial digital humanities project requires the individual devising it to delve into unknown territories (databases and outreach campaigns in my case). This, in turn, introduces us, as graduate students, to a collaborative type of academic labor that remains both ad hoc and committed to a singular goal. It is collaborative because no one individual can master all the skills required to deliver a project. It is ad hoc because the individuals collaborating on the project must decide who will learn which required skill to which level of proficiency. Yet it also remains committed to the singular goal of the project itself. This labor ultimately breaks with the scholar-in-the-library vision we often associate with the humanities, and it seems to demonstrate the plural nature of the digital humanities themselves.

Work Cited

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. “The Humanities, Done Digitally.” Debates in the Digital Humanities, U of Minnesota P, 2012, http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/30.

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  • Welcome to Digital Praxis 2016-2017

    Encouraging students think about the impact advancements in digital technology have on the future of scholarship from the moment they enter the Graduate Center, the Digital Praxis Seminar is a year-long sequence of two three-credit courses that familiarize students with a variety of digital tools and methods through lectures offered by high-profile scholars and technologists, hands-on workshops, and collaborative projects. Students enrolled in the two-course sequence will complete their first year at the GC having been introduced to a broad range of ways to critically evaluate and incorporate digital technologies in their academic research and teaching. In addition, they will have explored a particular area of digital scholarship and/or pedagogy of interest to them, produced a digital project in collaboration with fellow students, and established a digital portfolio that can be used to display their work. The two connected three-credit courses will be offered during the Fall and Spring semesters as MALS classes for master’s students and Interdisciplinary Studies courses for doctoral students.

    The syllabus for the course can be found at cuny.is/dps17.

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