Digital Studies Group

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Group Name Change

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    [note: I posted this in the group forum to make it easier to revisit this conversation later on]

    Thanks for getting this conversation started, Steve.

    Like others, I think that Jessie’s point is well taken, and I agree with the suggestion that a broader interdisciplinary umbrella, such as “Digital Scholarship” or “Digital Studies” makes sense for this group.

    However, I there is so much vibrant work being done at DH Centers around the globe (many of them associated with CenterNet [ ]) and through projects being funded by the NEH Office of Digital Humanities ( ) that it would be a shame for us to ignore the field.

    For these reasons, I’d like to propose a few options that those of us interested in DH might pursue if the DMSG embraces a more general identity:

    — Within the larger umbrella of the DMSG (or whatever it might become), we could start something like a “Digital Humanities Initiative” that would focus on specific texts, methodologies, resources, and discussions relevant to DH scholarship. Perhaps a few of the larger group’s events could be devoted explicitly to this initiative. (I couldn’t make the organizational meeting, but I proposed to Steve that Matt Kirschenbaum of UMD might be a good DH speaker).

    — Rather than subsuming the Digital Humanities within the DMSG, we might think about a separate group that could have more of an allied relationship with DMSG.

    I could see productive discussions happening either way. Keeping ourselves unified makes all kinds of sense, especially for funding purposes; but at the same time, the Digital Humanities are worthy of sustained inquiry, and a separate group might be better positioned to engage that kind of project.

    Perhaps there is also a third option, where the Digital Humanities Initiative would remain part of the DMSG but would also create its own discussion group and resources on the Commons.

    What do others think?




    Absolutely agree. It’s important both to maintain a cross-disciplinary approach that fosters real discussion among us all, and to support the exciting DH work that’s going on not just elsewhere but also at CUNY.

    I do think that a small tweak to the name of DMSG so that it reflects the larger remit would be very helpful (people – not just me! – are definitely thinking that it’s for “media studies” in the narrower sense).

    My thoughts, fwiw, on the options Matt proposes:

    For the purposes of getting something to the CforH by June 1, perhaps the best approach would be to go with the first option for now. We could then let the DH Initiative grow organically over the next year, and see if it turned out to need its own headspace and funding.

    But – though maybe this is a silly/ill-informed idea – perhaps a longer-term solution would be to grow the D(M)SG as a whole into something bigger (a Center for Digital Studies, say) that would have its own funding and could support work coming out of the New Media Lab, ITP, D(M)SG, DHI, and other digital initiatives in a unified way??? Then there’d be plenty of room for everyone…

    Finally, just as a practical matter the DHI would probably need its own space on the Commons, to facilitate conversations around the specific DH work that we’d want to do, and provide a place to hold that work. The home page could indicate that it was an initiative of the D(M)SG, and that conversations of general interest should go on over there. That way, the members who don’t identify as DH-ers wouldn’t have to get bogged down in DH stuff.

    Other initiatives might want to work the same way – say, for example, some people wanted to set up a working group to focus on privacy issues online (see Sarah’s post re Facebook).

    Anyway, thanks for reading this far, hope you’re all having a great weekend…

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