Author: tim00001

New Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities and Media Studies

graduates-4555027fc37869a5The first brainbytes blog of the spring semester serves as an announcement: UCONN has a brand new Graduate Certificate! Welcome back. Pending final approval by the Board of Trustees, the Humanities Institute is pleased to announce a Graduate Certificate in DHMS. This certificate will supply interested graduate students with crucial training and with marketable skills and approaches for careers within and outside of academia. As the initiating director of this certificate, I am providing a summary of the contents below.

Need for the DHMS grad certificate

The UCONN grad certificate in DHMS is unique insofar as it is fundamentally interdisciplinary: it will not be solely oriented, as certificate programs are at other schools, towards digital humanities methods, research, and practice, but also towards integrating media studies as an interdisciplinary and international field of critical inquiry and theory. It seeks to enhance the talents, interests, and success rates of our humanities graduate students entering the academic job market, as digital humanities and media studies research and scholarship has proliferated across North American campuses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as internationally. In addition, employment opportunities for graduate students with training in digital humanities and media studies have increased in non-governmental organizations, libraries, museums, and other public and corporate entities as such training is often closely linked to public humanities.

Educational Objectives of the Graduate Certificate

The certificate prepares students to conduct humanities research with digital tools by providing digbookparticipants with the knowledge about same tools, about methods, and, importantly, about theoretical issues central to the interfaces between digital humanities and media studies. These may include: text analysis, data mining, visualization, geo-spatial inquiries and mapping, multimedia and digital storytelling, hybrid and digital publishing, information or knowledge design, network analysis in combination with the history of media, media archeology, media aesthetics, media theory, media philosophy, digital cultures and game studies.

Outcomes include:

  • a DHMS Portfolio (see requirements below)
  • a deepened and theoretically sound understanding of the interfaces between Digital Humanities and Media Studies
  • an in-depth practical and theoretical understanding of the humanities in the digital age as they apply to sectors within and beyond the academy
  • an understanding of and experience with collaborative practice in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts as such practice applies to research and teaching with digital tools

Course Sequence and Educational Objectives

The Graduate Certificate in DHMS for graduate students enrolled in CLAS or Fine Arts PhD or MA/MFA programs will require a total of twelve credits: 3 credits in one of the core courses, two 3-credit electives, and one 3-credit independent study, working on the DHMS Portfolio.

Electives (students take two electives and one independent study, with 3 credits each)

Electives will be chosen based on the student’s major field of inquiry, her/his departmental home, and her/his dissertation or thesis research, in consultation with the student’s PhD or MA/MFA advisor and the director of the DHMS grad certificate. One of the courses as well as the independent study can overlap with the requirements in the home department. Other courses might qualify as electives if they meet the following criteria: electives should deepen the student’s understanding and theoretical and practical application of DH and Media Studies and facilitate her/his direct translation of these skills and knowledge to her/his scholarship.


DHMS Portfolio

dig_scholThe DHMS Portfolio serves as an independent research project, realized alongside and as a product of the independent study and culled from work accomplished over the course of working on the DHMS grad certificate. Students should be able to communicate the intellectual rigor and theoretical foundations of their project. They should also address some of the evaluation guidelines put forth by the Modern Language Association, the American Historical Association, or the College Art Association, as listed below:

  • describe the process underlying creation of work in digital media (e.g., the creation of infrastructure as well as content) and their particular contributions
  • describe how work in digital media requires new collaborative relationships with clients, publics, other departments, colleagues, and students
  • explain and document its development and progress and its contributions to scholarship
  • include colleagues and take advantage of opportunities to explain how your work contributes to the scholarly conversation in on-campus forums, professional meetings, and print or online publications
  • consider process as a form of scholarship and as a valid, even essential, part of knowledge creation

The final product must be publicly accessible on the web and include examples of the student’s work as well as how the project contributed to the student’s growth as a scholar (process writing). The portfolio must include a short statement of purpose.

More information on the application process and certificate details will be available on the DHMS website. The first core course, “Digital Humanities, Media Studies and the Multimodal Scholar” (LCL5020), is on offer this semester. Feel free to ask questions, share with colleagues, and join in on the conversations and events at DHMS in 2017!

 

 

Jennifer Terni, Associate Professor of French (Literatures, Cultures, and Languages)

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-1-20-12-pm1. What initially intrigued you about research/teaching in digital humanities or media studies?  

My interest in media studies is a longstanding one and is no doubt rooted in my inter-disciplinarity.   My MA in history was about the ideological valences of one of France’s most successful early pulp fiction writers, Eugène Sue.  Working on Sue forced me to consider the problem of distribution and audience. I realized from correspondence about him that different groups had very different investments in Sue’s work. Because of the difficulties of describing reception, the explanations of these differences were often uncomfortably reductive (class interest, commercial distraction for the masses, etc…).  As I developed a potential subject for my Ph.D., about the ways in which theater was rooted within Parisian cultural networks, I realized that what I was really after was to imagine new ways to account for and describe these differences.  This is how my Ph.D. project evolved into a much broader study of early mass culture.  The research has led me, over the years, to explore the countless ways that media in the 1830s, ’40s and ‘50s transformed how people were positioned—and positioned themselves—in terms of a reality that was increasingly defined by large numbers of other people. And though it is true that media could be a weapon, what we find when we look more closely was that it was more often—and very self-consciously—a resource that helped people to make sense of how they were being redefined as individuals and as collectives.  The active investments of individuals in media as well as in countless other practices that media helped support played a major role in propelling the rise of a culture increasingly defined by scale.

2. Has entering the DHMS realm changed your approach to research and teaching in general? If so, how?

This past semester I taught a new graduate course on 19th-century media.  It would have been impossible to give this course even a decade ago, since it was built on the shoulders of major digitized archives including Gallica at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Hathi Trust, and ARTFL, to name but a few.  To make use of them effectively, however, I had to build an extensive website as a platform from which to organize the many primary sources that we explored as a group as well as to give a picture of what 19th-century media would have looked like. What is more, I tried, as much as possible, to get the students to experience what it would have been like to consume media in the 19th century, for instance, by reading a pulp fiction novel in installments in a newspaper.  This experiment was more successful than I could have hoped.  What is more, occasionally I sent the students to the Dodd archive to encounter 19th-century artifacts more directly (illustrated newspapers, daguerreotype, stereoscopes, photographic technology).  The impact of those encounters was intense in large part because the students had been engaged with primary sources throughout the semester: they had seen the exploding variety of media forms in the 1800s, but also knew firsthand how even very disparate forms were interconnected. They had also read theoretical and historical articles that helped them think about what kinds of cultural work these different genres and platforms were performing.  Touching the actual artifact was meaningful because to them it was already embedded in a web of references and ways of thinking about media, but also because it contrasted with all of the digital content they had been using throughout the semester.  It was thus doubly a material encounter with material culture.

3. You have three (commitment-free) wishes to receive support for your research/teaching in DH or media studies: what are they?

  1. I would love to get support for teaching students how to conduct big-data research on historical sources and to also become critical about the strengths and limits of such research.
  2. I used a digital lab for this graduate class.  It was essential to the conduct of the course.  Each student was seated at a desktop computer.  We often looked at things together in class (illustrations, plays, newsprint, exhibition sites, audio and early film recordings) either as a group or did individual research on a question that was raised in class in real time (this is where the website I built was indispensable as all the resources we needed were centralized and accessible).  Making sure such classrooms are available was essential (and it was, it turns out, a struggle to find such space especially for a graduate class).
  3. I put in a good hundred hours building my website.  Some support for this would have been great too.

4. First struggles and successes: do you have any best-practice advice?

  1. Imagine your course as an overall process of active engagement and experimentation as opposed to being about a set of materials or themes.  Organize it it in terms of activities versus readings.
  2. Try to step out of your normal reflexes in designing your class.  As I got more deeply into the selection of my materials, I worried about the quality of individual samples — their canonicity in other words.  It finally dawned on me that this was exactly the wrong approach.  Letting the students be exposed to media more randomly and giving them tools for engaging with it meaningfully was far more useful pedagogically in terms of the development of their critical and interpretive skills.  They learned how to make fine distinctions between medium, platform, genre, device, formula, topos, so they actually learned to become better readers in a literary sense.  Even as they became increasingly fluent in these distinctions, they also became aware of how much, especially after the 1830s, the development of one genre and platform affected the development of others, even if they did not seem to share obvious affinities.
  3. Do not worry about the interest of any one artifact.  It turned out that the students were interested in everything, precisely because it fit into a whole web, both at the level of 19th-century media production, but also in the conversations we were having about it in class.

5. How would you like to challenge yourself in DH or media studies? Or what is a project you most seek to realize?

To learn about a new media form as a tool for teaching, but even more as a subject for research.  This applies as much to 19th-century media as to the latest platforms.  I am most invested in considering the problems media raises and solves in terms of communication, cognition, socialization, cultural impacts.  I am always interested in mastering new digital tools to be able to create new learning environments (while noting that in many of my classes I have a “no computer/phone” policy).  Ideally, I’d love to happen upon a question in my research that might lead, organically, to being able to develop a meaningful crowd-based research project. qa

Interested in Digital Humanities? Then Find Your Way to Victoria, by Marc Reyes

dhsi-1For students interested in the digital humanities (DH), it can be difficult to know how to jump into such a wide and varied field. Sure, there are books and blogs, but for those ready to get to work, there is a dearth of formal training or established DH institutions. To those budding digital humanists, my advice is to find your way to Victoria, British Columbia.

Amid the beauty of Canada’s Pacific coast and the harsh Brutalist architecture of the University of Victoria (UVic), Victoria is home to the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), the largest North American gathering of digital humanists. Since 2001, hundreds of scholars, from a variety of humanities disciplines and academic backgrounds, converge every June on UVic for weeklong courses that combine the best elements of a technology conference, an accelerated seminar, and a DIY-workshop. And this past June, I was among many like-minded scholars ready to take my digital humanities enthusiasm to the next level.

I first heard about DHSI from Twitter (follow them @DHInstitute) in spring 2015 and contacted Digital Media & Design Professor Tom Scheinfeldt to ask what he knew about the program. Tom informed me of DHSI’s sterling reputation as a structured, yet relaxed environment for digital humanists to meet, collaborate on projects, and learn the latest in digital pedagogy. Besides course offerings, there are also dozens of presentations, lectures, workshops, and roundtables on numerous DH-related subjects. One reason I was attracted to DHSI was that I was tired of reading about DH or imagining the projects I could build; I was ready to find a place that would teach me the skills necessary to function as a digital humanist. And because DHSI happens in the summer, I could devote a full week to my DH education without conflicts from coursework or my teaching assignment.

dhsi-1Once I decided to attend DHSI, I applied via their website and selected my course preferences. There is no guarantee you will be assigned to a course you request. The program’s foundational courses – on coding, digitization, and text encoding, etc. – fill up fast so I advise you to submit your application as soon as you can. I submitted mine in early fall 2015 and was fortunate to be enrolled in one of my requested courses: “Building a Professional Identity and Skillset in the Digital Humanities.” I chose a professionalization course because it can be difficult for graduate students to keep track of all the different online career platforms that exist (Academia.edu, ResearchGate, Google Scholar, LinkedIn, etc.) and how to make the most of them. Today students regularly hear that they need an effective online presence or multiple presences, but what does that mean, which platform is the most effective for humanities students, and how do students know they are producing quality online representations of themselves and their work? With these questions in mind, I selected this course believing it would provide guidance on improving my online presence and assist my long-term professional goals of teaching at a university or working at a presidential library.

Depending on the course, your class size could be anywhere from five to twenty people. The 2016 professional identity and DH skillset course was on the small side with eight students enrolled in the class. For my first time at DHSI, I appreciated working in a smaller seminar where I could have more one-on-one time with the course instructors. And my course colleagues could not have been more friendly or enjoyable. Most of them were History or English graduate students, and all of them were excited about transforming their respective projects – whether it was a dissertation, a writing program, or archival work – into a layered piece with digital dimensions or a wholly work of digital scholarship. My colleagues spoke of building websites that would serve as interactive versions of their CVs where potential collaborators and employers could experience the type of writing, research, and teaching they can produce. The course also benefitted from the involvement of the librarians, game studies researchers, and returning students enrolled in the course who could speak to the ways their institutions and businesses were changing because of the latest developments in digital technology.

Over five days, our course covered plenty of ground. On day one, we examined how we are currently viewed online (whether its through a department website, institutional affiliations, and social media) and how our work can become more searchable. I came away seeing my online presence as another version of an “elevator pitch” where I convince someone unfamiliar with my work of its significance in a short period of time.   Like a honed presentation, your online profiles should give interested parties an engaging yet concise overview of what you offer as a scholar.

On day two, we set up Academia.edu accounts, created or refined LinkedIn profiles, and learned how to deploy Twitter for both personal and professional uses. Twitter is usually my preferred social media account, a space where I share random thoughts or my latest attempt at a joke. During the course, I challenged myself to see how my Twitter account could also be a space for sharing articles connected to my research, ideas about how future history departments might run, and how contemporary issues relate to my area of study (U.S.-India foreign relations). Day three discussed how scholars are increasingly using podcasts as a way to reach humanities audiences and how blogging should be an integral part of a student’s writing portfolio. Whether it is through a personal site or collaborative blog calling for submissions, blogging in the academy is a great way to sharpen your writing chops, gain publication experience, and ruminate on topics in and outside your research.

The fourth, and last full day examined the type of grants and fellowships that await digital humanists, both before and after the PhD. In countries such as Canada, Great Britain, and Germany, U.S. and other international scholars are eligible for numerous prizes designed to promote DH scholarship. During this session, our class examined grant writing and fellowship application opportunities and how perspective committees might view our research topics. Working from Dr. Karen Kelsey’s (author of The Professor Is In) grant writing template, each class member put their own research topic and questions to the test to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of our projects and hear constructive feedback.

By Friday, our class concluded with presentations of what we accomplished. In just a week, some of my colleagues created personal websites through Squarespace, Wix, and A Small Orange to showcase their skills as writers, researchers, and archivists. Others left with new ideas about developing half-written/half-digital dissertations or creating app versions of their thesis. As for me, I overhauled my LinkedIn profile, created an Academia.edu account, built an About.Me page, fashioned a Wiki about books I am reading for my comprehensive exams, and started blogging again through WordPress. Because of my time at DHSI, I have a better online presence that demonstrates my abilities to a variety of audiences and a stronger sense of the skills necessary to thrive in the digital humanities.

I can attest that my professional growth happened because of what is possible at DHSI. Having the time and space to learn and adopt the latest digital skills, in a relaxed but structured environment, is an opportunity more graduate students should experience. Since returning from DHSI, I have told anyone and everyone who would listen about the benefits of attending the program. And I hope, that with each passing summer, the University of Connecticut sends a growing contingent of digital humanists to Victoria and their experiences are as rewarding as mine.

Marc Reyes is a doctoral student in the Department of History at the University of Connecticut. He received his B.A. in History from the University of Missouri and his M.A., also in History, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His research investigates the United States and its interactions – diplomatically, economically, and culturally – with India. Marc is a Multicultural Scholars Program Fellow and has presented his work at local, regional, and national history conferences. This semester he is assisting Professor Tom Scheinfeldt’s DMD course, History of Digital Culture. You can follow Marc on Twitter @Marcus5F9.

*DHSI/Uvic/Victoria, BC photos courtesy of Matthew Reeves, doctoral student, University of Missouri-Kansas City

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Goodkin’s Odyssey is coming 9/29 – and it has everything to do with digital games and digital humanities, by Roger Travis

You may well be surprised to hear that the way towards finally welcoming the study of videogames into the fold of digital humanities lies through Homeric epic and Platonic philosophy. I’m hoping, though, that a marvelous recomposition of the Odyssey by classicist-musician Joe Goodkin, in Schenker Hall at 4pm on Thursday, 29 September, will help me convince you. You might as well come just for the outlandishness of my proposal!

 

Travis

First of all, Joe’s work, of which you can find a sample here at his website, charms above all because of how honestly and straightforwardly it reawakens the bardic tradition that gave us the Odyssey (as well as the Iliad, Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, and the Homeric hymns in which are found some of your favorite stories about the Greek gods). All the things I’ll try to suggest in the talkback Joe is kindly allowing me to inflict upon him, about how digital games provide their players with the opportunity to do what Joe does on a gamepad rather than a guitar, shouldn’t get in the way of the simple observation that Joe has done it in the same way the bards did: he learned the rules and he played the epic game the old-fashioned way, alone with a lyre in front of an audience with a right to expect to hear something relevant to their own lives.

That’s mythmaking at its finest, purest, and most moving. I don’t want digital concerns to get in the way of that act of performance any more than any practitioner of digital humanities wants to obscure the ancient, fundamental questions that only humanists can ask. Joe’s Odyssey, like the Homeric one, concerns the struggle to learn what it is to be a person. The most dramatic of returns home from war emblematizes the essential problems of identity we all face every day—how do we present ourselves on Facebook? In a department meeting? At our own homes after a long day of battling our instructors, our students, our colleagues? It’s not for nothing that Plato, trying to solve those problems another way, had a love/hate relationship with Odysseus.

To find someone like Joe recomposing the Odyssey according to his new version of the Homeric ruleset, however, seems to me too good an opportunity to pass up, to share with students and colleagues here at UConn the essential connection I’m always on about—the thing that makes the interactivity of digital games, as well as that of the many digital-rule-based practices in which we engage these days, like social media on the one hand and experimental forms of art and literature on the other, a way to use digital means to study our traditional humanistic domains.

Plato saw that the political performances of his peers in classical Athens were like meaningless contests in a cave full of shadows. Videogames and social media encode the rules of those contests in digital form: posting on Facebook is a performance within the same cave, just like killing virtual aliens. The works of the Homeric bards, the works of Joe Goodkin, our Facebook posts, and our videogame playthroughs all become susceptible to a new, digital kind of reading in which we examine them as performances within the possibility-spaces created by their rulesets. In the terms of the questions of identity I posed above, how many different ways do the rules of Facebook or World of Warcraft let us present ourselves? How does the encoded digital portion of their rulesets make the choices they present differ from the choices Plato gave his cave-dwellers?

travis

My own current work concerns the affordances of interactive storytelling, and what we can learn about them from the way Homeric epic got transformed by the famous authors of the Athenian Golden Age—Aeschylus, Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato. My point is that they played the Homer game just as Joe Goodkin plays it now, and I’m hoping we’ll all be able to hear more about how to keep doing that, whether by analog or by digital means.

 

 

 

 


Roger Travis is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Literatures, Cultures & Languages and of Digital Media and Design in the University of Connecticut. He is a founder of and contributor to the collaborative blog Play the Past. Roger also works on developing and studying a form of game-based learning, practomimetic learning, in which learners play the curriculum as a role-playing game wrapped in an alternate-reality game. He has published on Homeric epic, Greek tragedy, Greek historiography, the 19th C. British novel, and digital role-playing games and first-person shooters including Halo, BioShock, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and World of Warcraft.

As We Think: Designing Knowledge in a Maze of Hardware, Software, Middleware and Wetware

computerlibTwo weeks ago, I featured Jeffrey Schnapp’s video on Digital Humanities where he mentions emerging genres within DH that “don’t look like anything we are familiar with.” The go-to concept here has become knowledge design, a kind of humanist merging of information design, graphic design, and communication design. In truth, the more conventional – and boring – term would be scholarly communication. There’s no debate, however, that the changes communication is undergoing are profound.

Seriously: we are at the point of an epistemological turn in our digitized cultures. How do we gain, analyze, and disseminate knowledge? How is knowledge curated and archived? How do we translate ideas? How do (not only Western) notions of creativity, imagination, and production evolve and change in a multi-media environment? It is the task of the humanities to contribute to the shaping of new knowledge that is not accessible only in print and linear forms.

Ok, then. How do we do that? This scholarly-communication-cum-knowledge-design question presents, actually, a poignant issue for DHMS perspectives. Media studies scholars have engaged these design challenges for a while now, with Katherine Hayles’ how we think (2012) announcing that the “Age of Print is passing” and that we better acknowledge the accompanying changes in our wetware (aka neuro-network). Her title, of course, is a play on a much older piece by Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think” (1945), in which he describes the concept of the “Memex.”

The Memex, then, foreshadows Ted Nelson’s “hypertext,” coined in 1965. And his Computer Lib/Dream Machines already in 1974 emphasized the use of computers for knowledge design, decidedly a creative process in collaboration with audiences and through open access.memex

So knowledge design is not new. The end of books is not near. The humanities aren’t dead. But we are finding ourselves in the non-linear, multi-media, digitized universe of scholarly communication that appears to scream Nelson’s “You can and must understand computers NOW” at us. So as we may scramble somewhere between hardware, software and wetware, reaching for the comforting book or printout, it’s the middleware I find particularly interesting.

In 1986, the media theorist Friedrich Kittler declared that “media determine our situation.” Johanna Drucker and Patrik O. Svensson, based on their just published “The Why and How of Middleware” (2016), would argue that “middleware determine our knowledge design.” Whether it’s PowerPoint or Scalar or Zotero, middleware presents a “set of mediating and remediating protocols,” compelling us to look under the hood of the platforms we use as their design is set up to structure our thoughts. “At stake is how we may think as well as what we may think as we struggle to design environments that contain tools for thinking in arguments.”

Information Overload in Network Time II: How to Find Your Media Studies Community

Remember how last week I described trying to find the DH crowd that speaks your (disciplinary) language – only in “digital” – as getting lost in network time? Unsurprisingly, the same applies to trying to look for aspects of your work that overlap or integrate with media studies. Here, too, I predict you will need perspectives and platforms to rest upon. But “rest upon” becomes more like a balancing act on a tiny pole that struts out and may disappear again, should you linger too long. That’s because DH communities seem to be a lot more organized and structured compared to media studies folk. Which, of course, is part of media studies folk characteristics, what with interests in virtual reality here, cyberpunk lit (WHA???) there, game studies over yonder, and media theory as cultural theory way up back there. As maddening and disorienting as that may be, here are some coordinates to start with:

 

As Mitchell and Hansen, in their Critical Terms for Media Studies introduction, pointed out (see Blog #1), there are really two sides to media studies, empirical and interpretive. One is primarily focused on mass media, the other on the constitution of media and on knowledge design (see video in Blog #2), based on pretty classic humanities questions: how do media and technology change us over time? How do we change ourselves using media and technology? Here’s how media archeologist Erkki Huhtamo approaches these questions (think materialist anthropology by way of media studies):

 

 

 

Or watch DJ Spooky present The Secret Song and walk us through the mediation and remixes of music by way of – who’d have thunk it – Dziga Vertov:

 

 

 

 

How did I get to Paul Miller? By way of Martin Irvine’s ever-evolving introduction to Media Theory and Meaning Systems. For those with less time but in need of some basic terminology, the Keyword Glossary from the University of Chicago remains helpful. You could also get into the 7-volume International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, but, nah… not so much. Just saying.

 

I often find my vantage points by looking at the medium itself. What are some developments in books and literature and our reading habits? Visit the ELO and decide for yourself. The video essay, as mentioned by Miller above, is gaining traction for creative and scholarly communication, and there are different ways to explore it, for example, with media commons, especially [in]Transition, or by pinning down what it actually is. Interestingly, you will find most of them on vimeo, not youtube. For someone else to analyze… Then there is media art and a great many variations on the theme, including Leonardo, or ISEA. The Society for Cinema and Media Studies is the largest scholarly organization in the US to promote and study these different forms of media. Their site includes a long list of media studies journals. However, SCMS does not including really interesting works like ADA or Imaginations or Game Studies or Vectors, or… These gems you have to find on your own!

 

Information Overload in Network Time I: How to Find Your DH Community

As definitional efforts in Digital Humanities and Media Studies are ongoing – which better be the case in any field deeming itself vibrant (see last week’s post) – news items in these fields become a maze of hyperlinks. So you want to find out what’s going on? Where the workshops, conferences, unconferences, not-so-much-talks and virtual happenings are? This requires some structuring. Which topics do you seek to learn more about, which skills should YOU like to acquire, organizations to tap into? Or, for now, finding the crowd that speaks your language, only in “digital”? Not so user friendly. Because once you get lost in network time (I roughly define that as a virtual dangling off vines: you swing from one link to the next, working the rhythm of however fast your wifi allows, while utterly losing connection to a world that hosts material objects or human needs; just read Kenneth Goldsmith’s new book, Wasting Time on the Internet, he knows )… Because once you get lost in network time, I predict you will need perspectives and platforms to rest upon. Here are some:

 

DH organizations and tools exist aplenty, with the global network of institutes a good bet for basic information. Their publication initiative, DHCommons, provides a plethora of information on “how to”, “with whom,” “where,” including peer reviews of projects in progress or completed. Ditto for the ADHO, who also offer all kinds of resources. If playing with tools is your thing, a good place to start remains the DIRTdirectory. It pretty much provides a list of what you can do in DH with links between your desired task and the program that may help you accomplish it. Experimenters welcome. Alan Liu’s DH Toychest is another collection worth exploring, with clear connections between task and tool. Alert for your calendar: Alan Liu will join us at the UConn Humanities Institute in February 2017!

 

Individual clearing-house-type news outlets exist abundantly as well. I usually benefit from MIT’s Hyperstudio mailing, “h+d insights,” to which you can subscribe on their site. Info galore on conferences, blogs of interest, hot topics and more. DH Now is another informative outlet for digital scholarship. This week I applaud the Editor’s Choice on selecting Jason Heppler’s syllabus for Teaching Digital Public History. He has some great pointers, including a list by the untiring Beth Nowviskie, director of the Digital Library Federation, on how to start your digital project without incurring immediate headaches…

 

Then there is HASTAC, “reputed to be the world’s first and oldest academic social network.” ‘Nough said. Just visit and click, join a group, follow your interests. Especially graduate students are invited to become HASTAC scholars and benefit from the enormous network the organization makes available. A great teaching resource is also Hybrid Pedagogy, a journal that offers info on conferences, tools, critical perspectives on teaching with tech, and professional development.

 

Phew… This just a quick intro from my own vantage point to some DH resources out there, but this virtual dangling off vines can be exhausting. I invite you to take a break and view this lucid narrative by Jeffrey Schnapp, founder and director of Harvard’s metaLAB, on how computers and the digital realm entered the traditional humanities and move us beyond print knowledge into ‘knowledge design’:

The Digital in the Humanities, the Media all around Us

Welcome to a new academic year, welcome to a new initiative by the UConn Humanities Institute: Digital Humanities and Media Studies (DHMS) will feature prominently in future UCHI programming with talks, workshops, resources, news, dialog. Most importantly, we seek to build our nascent DHMS community across campus and beyond. Networks already exist between the library, the Department of Digital Media and Design, the Humanities Institute and the departments it brings together. However, a strong community still needs creating. What do I mean by a DHMS community at UConn? Faculty, grad students, and librarians who have expressed interest or are already experienced in exploring digital scholarship and media studies should feel welcome to meet, hang out, experiment, learn, seek support, and trade practices for research and scholarship in DHMS territories. Ideas and suggestions welcome!

 

These sister territories, despite established canons and modes of work, continue to require definitional efforts; integration with traditional academic scholarship; a multitude of technical support; and collaboration, an essential concept or tool for work in DHMS. For those new to DH scholarship, I recommend taking a look at the ongoing interviews with DH scholars in the LA Review of Books. Choose one, choose a couple, get hooked and read them all. The views presented will provide insight into diverse and interdisciplinary areas of inquiry with digital tools (in other words, don’t ask “what IS DH???”, just begin somewhere and continue). The views may also wet your appetite, whether you are an experienced participant or not, to (re)think, (re)do or (re)quest, based on where you are in your own intellectual scouting. As for media studies – and there is considerable overlap between DH and MS – I recommend the introduction to Critical Terms in Media Studies, edited by Mark Hansen and W.J.T Mitchell. Frankly, I myself have given up on definitional efforts. Media Studies, as most scholars willingly admit, is interculturally amorphous, pretty much all-encompassing if you go by the definition of “medium” and rich with a very long history, reaching back to classic philosophy (think Plato’s cave). Given this potential agoraphobia, sub-fields that have established their own canons by now help with orientation: media theory, media aesthetics, media ecology, media history, mass media, media archeology, software studies…

 

As the (brand)new Assistant Director for Digital Humanities and Media Studies at the Humanities Institute, I invite you to join me: come to events, share resources, collaborate, exchange ideas, brainstorm projects, request support, and look at this new UCHI initiative as a hub for coming together and join. Please write to me (anke.finger@uconn.edu) any time about information you seek, with information you seek to share, ideas and suggestions. Time permitting, I also invite you to write one of the weekly blog posts: present projects, discuss issues of general interest, or bring attention to items as yet underexplored. I look forward to hearing from you!

Anke