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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!