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What I’m Reading: ‘No DH, No Interview’ | Chronicle of Higher Education

I’m reading this piece by William Pannacker, associate professor of English at Hope University.

Pannacker shares his thoughts on how digital humanities as a field interfaces with the current academic job market, and the state of teaching and research at colleges and universities:

“The digital humanities is not on a mission to assimilate everyone, even though I am sure most DH’ers want others to recognize what they do (especially for tenure and promotion). Lots of graduate students and faculty members are getting drawn into the field because they see its value and enjoy being part of a community of practitioners. But there are also more and more people who see DH as a means of coping with the lack of tenure-track positions and a means of increasing their options for alternative academic positions. DH offers transferable skills that can land them in administration, coding, grant writing, and project management if they are unable to find permanent academic posts….

…As Stephen Ramsay, among others, has argued, the real DH’ers are going to have projects that they demonstrate and justify not for the sake of being trendy, but because the project allows them to ask new questions, collaborate more effectively, and reach new audiences. They also should be able to discuss, in detail, the reasons for their technological choices: Why do they use one application and not another?” [bold is my emphasis]

Read the essay in its entirety here.

Pannacker’s essay included this quote from Alex Galarza, a MATRIX fellow and graduate student in history at Michigan State University…

“The culture of collaboration and sharing I found in the DH community spurred me to create the Football Scholars Forum, a sort of scholarly think tank that meets online to discuss monographs, articles, films, and pedagogy.”

Having just finished Moya’s interview with Tara Conley, I wonder if fostering community and building networks for collaboration are cornerstones of the field of digital humanities.  Or is it learning to code and build programs?  Or both?

And (how) do, as Pannacker stated, the reasons for technological choices change when and where the digital intersects with histories of people of African descent?  Do these histories have distinct needs technology is able or unable to address?

Featured Image Credit: “What is/are (the) Digital Humanities?” Slide by Elijah Meeks from his presentation on the role of data visualization in DH work