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Digital Humanities Initiative

The CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative (CUNY DHI), launched in Fall 2010, aims to build connections and community among those at CUNY who are applying digital technologies to scholarship and pedagogy in the humanities. All are welcome: faculty, students, and technologists, experienced practitioners and beginning DHers, enthusiasts and skeptics.

We meet regularly on- and offline to explore key topics in the Digital Humanities, and share our work, questions, and concerns. See our blog for more information on upcoming events (it’s also where we present our group’s work to a wider audience). Help edit the CUNY Digital Humanities Resource Guide, our first group project. And, of course, join the conversation on the Forum.

Photo credit: Digital Hello by hugoslv on


Details of Inaugural Meeting

  • Hello all, and thank you for your patience while we’ve been getting organized over here. We’re pleased to announce our inaugural meeting – Wednesday September 22nd, 2010 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Graduate Center, Room C198. Please come and join us.

    We’ll be taking up this semester’s theme: “What are the Digital Humanities?” via a set of readings that address this issue, including the relationship between the digital and traditional humanities.

    And there’ll be wine and cheese, of course!

    We’re hoping that this will be a very active group: in addition to next week’s meeting and our online discussions, we’ll be getting together again in mid-October and the beginning of December, when we’ll be joined by some leading figures in the wider DH community (dates being confirmed). Our parent organization, the Digital Studies Group, is sponsoring a talk by Eben Moglen of Columbia University on November 17th, and we’ll be participating in the CUNY IT Conference at the Graduate Center on December 14th. We’ll also be joining CUNY Pie for a night out on December 2nd.

    And stay tuned for news about our first group project – a collaboratively authored collection of resources designed to help orient newcomers to the field.

    Anyway, here’s the reading list:
    1. The definitions of DH provided by participants in this year’s Day of Digital Humanities – no need to read in detail, just get a sense of the range of responses.
    2. A longer piece from the latest issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly, Patrik Svensson’s “The Landscape of Digital Humanities.”
    3. Some fun (and brief!) reading – William Pannapacker’s analysis in the Chronicle of Higher Education of the status of DH at the 2009 MLA Convention, and a couple of important responses it provoked. Be sure to look at the comments on the blog posts.
    – “The MLA and the Digital Humanities,” William Pannapacker, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 28, 2009
    – “The MLA, @briancroxall, and the non-rise of the Digital Humanities,” Dave Parry, Jan. 6, 2010
    – “Be online or be irrelevant,” Dave Parry, Jan. 11, 2010
    – “The Turtlenecked Hairshirt: Fetid and Fragrant Futures for the Humanities,” Ian Bogost, Jan. 9, 2010
    4. Not wanting to overwhelm you, but we had to include this very recent post from Chris Forster on HASTAC, since the discussion shows just how challenging the issue of defining DH continues to be. Again, make sure to read the comments, which raise concerns that we will need to deal with ourselves in CUNY DHI.

    In our meeting, we hope not just to engage with these texts, but also to talk about how you situate yourselves in relation to the versions of DH articulated here, and begin to think about the role that CUNY and the CUNY DHI can and should play in the field.

    Feel free to start discussing the readings here on the forum if you like, and we’ll see you on the 22nd!

    Matt & Charlie

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  • Hi All,

    I’d like to add one more short reading to this list:

    Rebecca Davis, “NITLE launches Digital Humanities initiative”, Aug. 31, 2010

    It’s a quick read and a nice introduction to DH.

    As you work your way through these readings in advance of Wednesday’s gathering, please think about the following questions:

    — What tensions do you see being played out in these readings (and in their comment sections)?
    — To what extent does Svensson’s scheme take account of these tensions?
    — Based on these readings, what is your working definition of DH? Which of the definitions offered do you like best? Why?

    Hi All,

    One final note in advance of tomorrow’s meeting: our discussion of these readings will comprise only one part of the session, so please come even if you don’t have a chance to work through them all. The most important thing for us is to get this conversation started. We look forward to meeting you!



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