Digital humanities in New England

2010 March 26
by Shane Landrum

As I’ve become more and more interested in the emerging interdisciplinary field sometimes called “digital humanities” (DH) or (especially in Europe) “humanities computing,” I’ve also noticed that it’s hard to find DH people in Boston or New England, other than at MIT’s HyperStudio. Mark Sample’s post on the death of the digital humanities center gives examples of some of these elsewhere in the US. Sample points out that, although many scholars might wish to have institutional infrastructure/support for our DH work, budget cuts happen first in interdisciplinary programs. Here’s his call for action:

So if you’re interested in the transformative power of technology upon your teaching and research, don’t sit around waiting for a digital humanities center to pop up on your campus or make you a primary investigator on a grant.

Act as if there’s no such thing as a digital humanities center.

Instead, create your own network of possible collaborators. Don’t hope for or rely upon institutional support or recognition. To survive and thrive, digital humanists must be agile, mobile, insurgent. Decentralized and nonhierarchical.

Stop forming committees and begin creating coalitions. Seek affinities over affiliations, networks over institutes.

Centers, no. Camps, yes.

To that end, and inspired by the new Digital Humanities Southern California blog, I’m trying to help build more local and regional community among DH practitioners. I’ve started a new group blog, Digital Humanities in Boston and Beyond, which will (as it develops) feature posts about local DH specialists, what we do, and why it’s exciting. Please join us there.

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