2017 marks my third trip to the biggest DH conference in the game, and for this go-round I wanted to bring the work of some of my awesome collaborators (and some of the collaborators themselves!) at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage to the event.
The work documented in these posters is highly collaborative and it involves undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members in American Studies and Public Humanities. It’s been interesting to think through the relationships between these two fields and DH during my time at Brown; the ASA’s Digital Humanities Caucus has been super helpful in the former, and I wonder if there’s more people interesting in talking about the latter. I was excited to see “public DH” in Amanda Visconti’s paper title, for instance. And while “public humanities” isn’t explicitly named in the titles of any other posters and discussions, there’s clearly a lot of interest in questions of “access” based on the number of presentations here utilizing that keyword. “Access” is this year’s conference theme, but public humanities folks might find the range of uses interesting nonetheless. Additionally, “public humanities” is showing up in several tweets about presentations (like here and here, in tweets referring to a talk by my pal and partner in digital public humanities, Lauren Tilton!), suggesting that attendees invested in the term are recognizing its presence in methodologies and project emphases.
OK, on with the posters!
“Public Humanities: In Search of A Field” documents the Day of Public Humanities (#DayofPH) initiative I co-lead with my friends and colleagues Robyn Schroeder and Inge Zwart. I’m curious about when public humanities is mentioned and missing from DH conversations, so I’m grateful that the conference gave us the opportunity to make some of this work more explicitly visible in this institutional and academic context. The questions we outline here are especially important to DH initiatives that aspire to be public-facing, accessible, or otherwise in collaboration with or in the service of particular publics.
When could digital humanities projects do more to engage with particular publics and their various needs and interests?
What are the benefits as well as the limitations of certain forms of digital advocacy for the humanities in 2017 (and beyond)?
What are alternative models for digital and public humanities beyond grant-funded and university-driven projects, and what resources (and rhetoric) do they require?
If you’re new to public humanities and curious about its institutional history, check out Robyn’s great overview on our project site. And to see the postcards reprinted on the bottom of the poster (and more postcards), go here.
“Mapping Violence: Visualizing State-Sanctioned Racial Violence on the Mexico-Texas Border (1900-1930)” is an opportunity for the DH community to learn more about this amazing digital public humanities initiative at Brown. Led by Monica Martinez, Mapping Violence is part of the larger Refusing to Forget initiative, an amazing project whose collaborators work to acknowledge this history of racial violence in an impressive and important variety of contexts: in classrooms, in landmarks, and in digital spaces (among others). Presenting at DH was also a great opportunity to highlight the undergraduate collaborators who have supported digital work on this project under the direction of Prof. Martinez: I’m truly lucky to have Cole Hansen, one of said collaborators, with me at this poster session. I’ve been fortunate enough to provide consultation and support to this project, but my main objective in serving as a co-author on this poster was to see this work reach a DH audience (and this poster is just the beginning of that awareness campaign!).
I’m happy to talk more about these posters and projects: please be in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Twitter (@JimMc_Grath)!