Digital Humanities Initiative

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Next Meeting: Eben Moglen – Wednesday November 17, 7pm, Skylight Room GC 9th Floor

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    Hello all, hope your semesters are going well, and welcome to our newest members!

    This is a reminder about our next meeting, which is next Wednesday November 17, when we’ll be joining the Digital Studies Group to hear Prof. Eben Moglen of Columbia University Law School. He’ll be discussing questions of intellectual property and 21st century digital technologies, given an IP system based on industrial forms and legal structures.

    Moglen is a powerful speaker, and it’s pretty spectacular that Steve Brier and Chris Sula, organizers of the DSG, were able to get him here, so please come along.

    You may have heard about his talk given earlier this year at NYU, “Freedom and the Cloud” ( you can see it here: ) which inspired a group of students to create Diaspora, “the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all, open source social network.”

    Steve and Chris ask us to read Moglen’s “The dotCommunist Manifesto,” which is at and is short!

    It’ll be at 7pm in the Skylight Room (9th floor at the Graduate Center).

    Another hot ticket next week is “How Should the University Evolve? A Conversation about the Future of Higher Education” between Anya Kamenetz (Fast Company, author of DIY U), and Siva Vaidhyanathan (University of Virginia, author of The Anarchist in the Library, and forthcoming, The Googlization of Everything).
    That’s on Thursday November 18, at Baruch’s Newman Vertical Campus, Rm 14-220.
    Details are here:

    And in other news, three of our members, Bronwen Densmore, Lauren Klein, and Amanda Licastro, are off to THATCampNE this weekend, and have promised to tell us all about it when they get back.

    The Fall calendar is on the CUNYDHI blog – there’s plenty of activity in December too.

    Sarah Ruth Jacobs

    For anyone who didn’t make it to Moglen’s talk, you really missed out. He is a brilliant speaker (with a lawyerly way of making “closing arguments”), and he knows how to get his audience’s attention. He defined the value of teaching as “wanting to be together” with the instructor, which for me made profound sense. The essence of his argument was that we shouldn’t “waste the brains” of people around the world who don’t have access to the WWW or to the latest theories in physics. He argued that by sharing (not privatizing) intellectual property the human race might have a chance to save itself. For those of you who might be lurking, please rouse yourself to attend the next Digital Humanities Initiative’s offering on (edited) Wednesday, December 1st:

    We are delighted to welcome Tom Scheinfeldt, Managing Director of George Mason University’s Center for History & New Media (CHNM) to CUNY DHI. In his talk, “Stuff Digital Humanists Like: Defining Digital Humanities by its Values,” Scheinfeldt plans to discuss the reasons why some DH efforts succeed while others fall flat. By highlighting some of the things that do and don’t work in DH projects, he plans to isolate some common characteristics, and see if doing so can point us to a clearer definition, or at least understanding, of DH.

    Time & place: 6:30pm-8:30pm, CUNY Graduate Center, room 9207.

    Sarah Ruth Jacobs

    The date on that is Wednesday, December 1st.


    Thanks, Sarah!

    I posted notes from the Moglen talk in the Digital Studies Group, here, for the benefit of those who couldn’t make it:

    As Sarah says, he was pretty incredible – Matt’s term: “a human tsunami” – fluid, aphoristic, ad-libbing perfectly formed paragraphs. The speech turned on a killer argument, as you’ll see…


    We are multimedia!

    Prof. Moglen has kindly provided audio of his November 17 talk (“Before and After IP: Ownership of Ideas in the 21st Century) which Matt has posted on the CUNY DHI blog, along with a link to a higher-quality version on Moglen’s website:

    Definitely listen – and here’s the announcement on Twitter, if you’d like to retweet:

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