Below are the statements from our candidates for the ACH2018 election.
Executive Candidates (in alphabetical order by last name):
Biography: Ashley Byock is an Associate Professor of English and founding director of the Digital Humanities Social Justice Initiative (DH/SJI) at Edgewood College, a small liberal arts college in Madison, Wisconsin. I founded this program with minimal funding intending to pursue an emphasis on developing research projects that would allow faculty-mentored student-led inquiry around social justice issues. Only a few years old, this initiative is now beginning to form relationships with larger universities with the objective of finding ways of incorporating not only graduate but also undergraduate students into scholarly research DH projects. So far, DH/SJI has developed several initiatives, most notably a Scalar project based on Wisconsin Historical Archives of a nineteenth-century African-American farming community. In this as in all its projects, DH/SJI collaborates closely with students as researchers, writers, and visionaries in the program. Other projects have collaborated with our study abroad program to archive interviews conducted by students while abroad and have developed new curriculum around DH pedagogy, including a significant revision of our English majors critical methodologies course. Although my DH work has largely been institutionally-based so far, in 2017 I was invited to join a Mellon-funded team at Newberry Library to develop DH projects around the question, “What is the Midwest?” In addition, I am just beginning a collaboration with Scalar to help run a new Scalar + Pedagogy working group. Finally, I am working with a colleague in African American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison to develop a scholarly DH research project examining the history of African American presence in the Upper Midwest. In addition, I publish in my field and am completing a book project on slavery, law, and biopolitics from the Revolutionary period to Reconstruction in the United States.
Candidate Statement: I am delighted by this nomination for a membership position on the Executive Council. What I feel I could bring to this position is the perspective of a relatively new DH practitioner whose training has come via multiple attendances at HILT and collaboration with colleagues at institutions where DH is a more established part of the landscape. We tools like Scalar, Omeka, and Voyant usually developed with large grants at research-oriented institutions. In a moment when the humanities are under great pressure on many campuses, and certain technologies seem to offer college administrations a long-sought magical cure to all that ails us, DH-oriented faculty on numerous campuses often work hard to capture the best of critical digital humanities methodologies to bring to students in classroom or research projects. Beyond the extremely vital debates around the role of DH on campuses, I see in my conference and online networking an emergent category of digital humanities programs, faculty, and academic librarians who have never been trained as specialists, and who often do not even have institutional access to specialized DH labs or technologists. We are committed to the critical self-awareness of humanities methodologies and are often fighting to articulate this on our campuses. At the same time, a good deal of our time is located squarely within pedagogical spaces and institutional priorities. Mentorship around research often requires innovation. In many ways, I am part of one tremendous contingency of the cresting trend of DH use on campuses. Lacking (and generally envying) the deep technological training of prominent digital humanists, we innovate with the funding sources, open source tools, and research paradigms to which we have access. Our use of DH is often, of necessity, closely tied to pedagogy and must often justify its budget and struggle to grow in the absence of on-site labs or specialist technologists. Challenging the logic of assessable learning outcomes and resisting the tendency to put computing in the service of efficiency, DH faculty like me are just at that stress point between competing models of knowledge and humanities methodology. To the extent that the we must think about DH in institutional terms in higher education, I can bring this particular perspective and experience to ACH. In addition, I would bring a deep commitment to critical DH practices, methodologies, and concerns in reflecting on how best to foster and support DH pedagogy as it continues to formulate its methods and find its feet in a dynamic scholarly environment.
Biography: Curtis Fletcher is the Associate Director of the Ahmanson Lab at the University of Southern California Libraries. Curtis has worked in the digital humanities for the last decade, having served as the Administrative Assistant for the Center for Transformative Scholarship in the Digital Age at the University of Southern California, the Associate Multimedia Editor for Urban History at Cambridge University Press, and Project Manager for the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture (ANVC). At ANVC he has been instrumental both in the development of their open-source, multimodal humanities authoring and publishing platform, Scalar, and in building out and coordinating the human infrastructure—scholars, academic presses, museums, archives and university humanities centers—that constitutes the Alliance overall. In each of these roles, he has been a major advocate for born-digital pedagogy and scholarship in the humanities, working with faculty and students internationally to integrate multimodal writing into humanities classrooms and with academic presses to bring cutting-edge, online scholarly works to publication. Finally, Curtis’s understanding of contemporary digital humanities, and in particular, the relationship between multimedia teaching and scholarship, is uniquely informed by his research in the history of audiovisual education in the humanities. He is currently at work on a series of essays in which he examines multimedia humanities instruction in the nineteen-fifties and sixties within the context of more well-known humanities computing endeavors.
Candidate Statement: As a member of the Executive Council I would help to promote and advance the important work of the ACH, and of the digital humanities. In particular, I would pursue means to correct that well-identified imbalance in our field in which pedagogy receives significantly less care and support than research and scholarship. While this imbalance has begun to shift in recent years, it will ultimately require the work of organizations like the ACH to help support a network of shared services and infrastructure for digital pedagogy that is commensurate with, and tied to, the already-existing ecosystem of tools, platforms, centers, programs, and communication channels built for digital humanities research and scholarship. I would also seek to expand ACH mentoring and information gathering and dissemination for grant writing. Information critical to our particular field, from choosing the right grant to navigating indirect rates for one’s institution, is passed down, for the most part, in an informal mentoring system. For early career digital humanists, the lack of a central space for information and guidance can be challenging, even detrimental, in securing support for their work.
Biography: Erin Rose Glass is the Digital Humanities Coordinator at the UC San Diego Library and a Ph.D. Candidate at The CUNY Graduate Center where she also served as a founding Digital Fellow for three-and-a-half years. Her dissertation, Software of the Oppressed: Reprogramming the Invisible Discipline, examines the politics and history of digital technology at the often overlooked site of academic and student writing and explores emerging opportunities for the humanities to shape everyday digital technologies. She is co-founder of Social Paper, a platform for socializing student writing and feedback funded by the NEH and serves as the digital pedagogy designer for the Mellon-funded collaboration between UC San Diego and the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD). She has published on the intellectual and political stakes of digital infrastructure related to libraries, education, and digital humanities program building and currently directs KNIT, a digital commons shared between UC San Diego and SDCCD. She is also a founding co-organizer and instructor of the Association of Research Libraries Digital Scholarship Institute.
Candidate Statement: The increasing salience of political issues related to everyday digital technology calls for new forms of critical response for which the digital humanities are uniquely equipped. As educators, we train the next generation of technology users and makers. As researchers, we call attention to the powerful and complex ways digital technology shapes and is shaped by politics, social structures, and ideology. As makers, we have the opportunity to create forms of digital technology that embody the ethical, aesthetic, and social insights of our fields. If elected to the ACH Executive Council, I would seek to develop ACH resources, venues, and initiatives dedicated to expanding and strengthening existing discussions and projects related to these topics and look for ways to better support student leadership in these areas. Drawing from professional experience that has ranged across organizations and disciplines, I would also be committed to connecting this dialogue across diverse academic contexts such as libraries, IT, educational technology, training institutes, and community colleges, as well as with non-academic organizations dedicated to advancing and protecting democratic freedom in the development and use of digital technologies at large.
Biography: Jim McGrath is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Public Humanities at Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. At Brown, he’s taught graduate-level courses in Digital Public Humanities and Digital Storytelling, supported digital public humanities initiatives like Digital Tours of The Nightingale-Brown House, Rhode Tour, Mapping Violence, Day of Public Humanities (#DayofPH), and The Modernist Journals Project (among others), and he helps Brown support its first Wikipedia Visiting Scholar (specializing in Ethnic Studies). He current serves on a Working Group on Precarious Labor for the American Studies Association’s DH Caucus. Jim received his Ph.D in English from Northeastern University. At Northeastern he was Project Co-Director of Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive, Coordinator for the Northeastern University Library Digital Scholarship Group, and Bibliographic Developer for Digital Humanities Quarterly. He was President of the English Department’s Graduate Student Association and winner of the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Community Service. More information can be found at his personal web site.
Candidate Statement: I’m honored to be considered for the ACH’s Executive Council. I’d love to help the organization continue to consider the ethical dimensions of what we do in (and beyond) digital humanities: how we think about forms of labor, collaboration, publication, use of resources, funding models, and sustainability (among other areas). I think ACH plays a valuable role in the ongoing work being done to improve support networks, working conditions, and general perceptions about contingent and vulnerable labor in DH. I’m also interested in how digital humanists think about publics beyond their institutional contexts, where and how this work might better resonate with communities and perspectives beyond our departments and campuses, and what institutions could do to better support this kind of work (and those interested in doing this work!) in the long-term. I want to help ACH focus on better ways to help current members find new avenues of collaboration, communication, and support. And I’d like to help the organization think more about where its ideas of digital humanities might be more inclusive and expansive.
I am the Digital Humanities & Scholarship Librarian at the University of Miami. My background in DH has involved substantial work in community and curriculum development — especially in contexts where digital scholarship is a new endeavor for an institution, and there are few formal courses, training programs, or local experts available. I started this work as a PhD student in English at the University of Washington where I developed the Demystifying Digital Humanities workshop series, and continued it as a CLIR postdoctoral fellow at theSherman Centre for Digital Scholarship at McMaster University before taking on my current position. My early and ongoing “slow DH” project Visible Prices has led to my sustained interest in project development and management, and strategies for effectively scoping and scaling DH research. Another aspect of my research focuses on linked open data, and more broadly, data wrangling for the humanities, which I’ve taught workshops in at DH @ Guelph and DHSI. Finally, I’m interested in the different types of labor that DH requires, and in finding ways of making that labor more visible. You can find my writing at DH+Lib, forthcoming in College and Undergraduate Libraries, as well as on Twitter and at my blog (http://blog.paigemorgan.net).
Candidate Statement: I’m honored to be nominated for the ACH Executive Committee. If elected, I will be happy to work with other committee members to advance ongoing initiatives. I also hope to advocate for more discussion of the different forms that DH projects might take, highlighting in particular small/modular milestones as projects in themselves. The topic of what constitutes success in digital humanities and scholarship is under-discussed, and too often, narrowly defined as “building a tool,” “getting a grant,” or “building a big project.” More expansive conceptions of potential project formats might include datasets, assessments of existing data, process workflows or startup guides such as theNimble Tents Toolkit. More expansive discussions of what constitutes success might include attention to how a particular project is valuable because it allows others to build on it and extend it further. I see this topic as a good fit for the ACH Executive Committee’s planned 2018 work of developing a clearinghouse for documentation, since producing documentation could count as just this sort of small project. I also see this topic as important to ACH’s ongoing work of making the field of digital humanities & scholarship more welcoming and inclusive to researchers with less access to support. More attention and discussion of the value of small projects will help to establish the idea of such projects as credentials in themselves, and allow new researchers to set themselves manageable goals that make them feel like they are making contributions to the larger community. There is already awareness of the importance of small and slow DH among many members of ACH, and many long-term digital humanists — but I believe that we can bring more visibility to the value of small projects in the larger national and international communities that are entering the field.
Angel David Nieves
Biography: Angel David Nieves, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of History and Digital Humanities at San Diego State University (SDSU) in the Area of Excellence in Digital Humanities and Global Diversity. He was Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) at Hamilton College, a digital leader among elite liberal arts colleges in the Northeast (see, http://www.dhinitiative.org). As Co-Director (w/Simons), he raised over $2.8 million dollars in foundation and institutional support for digital humanities scholarship at Hamilton. Nieves is also currently working on a new volume in the Debates in the Digital Humanities Series and on a special collaborative issue of American Quarterly (2018) on DH in the field of American Studies. He is co-editor (w/Kim Gallon, Purdue) of a new book series at the University of Georgia Press, The Black Spatial Humanities: Theories, Methods, and Praxis in Digital Humanities. He serves on the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) Committee on Information Technology (2016-2019). He sits on the Boards of the New York State’s Humanities Council (2017-2020) and the Society for American City and Regional Planning History (2018-2021). Nieves is currently (2017-2018) a Presidential Visiting Associate Professor at Yale University in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and an affiliate in the Yale Digital Humanities Laboratory (DHLab).
Candidate Statement: Should I be elected to the Executive Council of the ACH, as a nominee, I am committed to further developing areas of interest to the field, that I also anticipate promoting at the national and international levels through ADHO:
- interdisciplinary and collaborative models of teaching and research
- engaging existing faculty, technologists, and scholar-librarians in research focused on intersectionality for a more transformed and inclusive digital humanities/digital scholarship
- engaging in community based-research and more locally w/LatinX communities in the US
Results would include DH/DS at ACH that promotes teaching, research and community engagement, with a focus on global diversity. At ACH I would work to:
- decenter the US, Canada and the UK as the focus of DH/DS intellectual production
- maintain an explicit commitment to diversity and inclusion
- address issues of access, power and privilege (how power has historically been overlooked in digital humanities/digital scholarship – until most recently)
- move beyond the promotion of specific tools and platforms – working to create solutions specific to the sorts of teaching goals and research questions being asked by faculty, scholar-librarians, students, and community members
- privilege those research questions on diversity and difference as a part of scholarly practice
- relate issues of diversity and difference to broader global concerns/issues
- envision DH as a means to address social justice
I’ve been fortunate enough, this past year while on leave, to be a part of another institution’s efforts to build a comprehensive digital scholarship and digital humanities program, at Yale University. I can now say that I’ve seen DS/DH practiced across a vast array of institution types beginning at a large flagship R-1 state university at the University of Maryland at College Park, to a small liberal arts college in Upstate and now at a private Ivy-League university – where in my various roles as a Faculty Fellow and a Center Co-Director, I have become aware of the many challenges faculty, librarians, technologists, and students face at many cash-strapped, overtly corporatized, and STEM obsessed institutions being shaped by professional administrators with little classroom experience. We have arrived at a moment in the field of DH, I believe, where we can now begin to more radically change humanities-based research practices and offer new ways of documenting more specifically the intellectual work of digital scholarship and digital humanities. I believe this should be seen as a form of social justice as we work to democratize new knowledge construction and the construction of new knowledge communities outside the academy. In my previous appointment, as a tenured Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Initiative at Hamilton College in upstate New York, we were able to incorporate undergraduates in high-level humanities based research and build a comprehensive program that focused on global diversity and social justice, with the notion that our work at the smaller scale of a liberal arts college – bankrolled largely with Mellon Foundation grants – could be eventually replicated at a larger scale. Many of our projects, at DHi, were engaged at the intersections of diversity and social justice. The Area of Excellence in Digital Humanities & Global Diversity that is currently under development at SDSU (which I will join in the fall of 2018), developed by faculty and staff from across the College of Arts & Letters and the University Library, has shown to be both cutting edge and deeply immersed in real world experience in terms of community-based praxis and/or new knowledge practices. Best case, digital humanities at SDSU already situates itself across many disciplines – with an expansive and inclusive definition of the humanities (that reaches across silos & incorporates the sciences, social sciences and the arts) – harnessing the expertise of individual faculty, staff and students without a particular focus on any one hardware platform, or software environment. Instead the kind of DH/DS I see as critical to the growth of the Association for Computers in the Humanities, is one that now addresses the needs of faculty, scholar-librarians, students, and community members at HSIs (Hispanic Serving Institutions).
Biography: I am the Digital Scholarship Librarian at Georgia State University. My role in the library is to provide support and consultation for digital scholarship projects across a wide range of disciplines. I provide guidance for students, staff, and faculty who are interested in topics such as text mining, data mining and manipulation, digital exhibits, photogrammetry, 3D scanning, 3D printing, mapping and spatial analysis, and other new technologies. I also serve as co-manager of the Student Innovation Fellowship (SIF), in which interdisciplinary student teams work with researchers to produce digital projects such as Unpacking Manuel’s Tavern and 3D Atlanta. I am also involved in Code4Lib, the Digital Library Federation, and the new Georgia Digital Humanities Consortium. I am also a PhD candidate at George Mason University, and former research assistant at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. My born-digital dissertation explores the experiences of women and their families in occupied regions along the Niagara River during the War of 1812, representing their stories in a non-linear interactive digital space. During my time at RRCHNM, I contributed to various projects, including Histories of the National Mall and the Doing Digital History institutes.
Candidate Statement: I am honored to submit my application for nomination to the Executive Council of the ACH. As member of the council, I would advocate for greater equality within digital humanities communities, expanded definitions of scholarship that include new methods and approaches, and interdisciplinary infrastructures and platforms to support growing communities of experimenters and explorers. In my position at Georgia State and in local collaborations, I have encouraged and supported the growth of networks for sharing knowledge, access, and resources for digital scholarship. Accordingly, I am interested in helping the ACH explore pathways for collaboration between communities at the local, regional, and national levels. Through the SIF program, we encourage students to explore the potential of digital humanities by participating in large-scale projects, making sure that they receive support for learning and credit for their work. I would consider my service on the ACH Executive Council an opportunity to support communities of digital humanists through the ever-growing networks represented in the organization and to strengthen connections with students who seek to participate in the DH community.
Biography: Andie Silva is Assistant Professor of English at York College (CUNY). At York, she designed and successfully proposed a new interdisciplinary minor in Digital Studies (effective Fall 2018). She also designed the minor’s foundational course, “Technologies of Reading.” This Spring she is teaching the “DH Praxis” course at the CUNY Graduate Center, the second part of a two-semester track designed to introduce Masters in Liberal Studies students to digital humanities theory and practice. She has previously published work in History of European Ideas, the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, Changing English, and has a co-authored article in the edited collection Shakespeare’s Language in Digital Media: Old Words, New Tools (Routledge, 2017). She is also a member of the NYC Digital Humanities Steering Committee and the NYCDH Week planning committee.
Candidate Statement: I’m honored to be considered for a position in the ACH Executive Council. As issues of diversity, inclusivity, and citizenship becoming increasingly urgent in public debates, they should also be inextricable from our scholarly praxis. Our field must make conscious efforts toward becoming a more inclusive and representative space for all scholars. In addition to reaching across ranks and institutions, this also means inviting and supporting scholars across communities and at the various intersections of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, and neurodiversity. I would like to help the ACH promote the increased visibility of minoritized voices and of those in marginalized or contingent positions by ensuring representation in our conferences, journal publications, and awards. As someone who is deeply committed to pedagogy and transparent scholarship, I’m interested in helping foster pedagogical practices that are likewise more inclusive and responsible. I would like help strengthen DH-community ties across under-funded and under-represented institutions, helping to connect them with workshops, mentoring, and funding opportunities to better train faculty and students interested in digital scholarship.
Biography: Lauren Tilton is an Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities in the Department of Rhetoric & Communication Studies at the University of Richmond and Research Fellow in the University of Richmond Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL). Her research focuses on applying computational methods, with a current focus on computer vision, to analyze visual culture. Along with receiving DH grants from ACLS and NEH, she has published in Digital Humanities Quarterly, Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, and Programming Historian. She is a director of Photogrammar and the co-author of Exploring Humanities Data in R: Exploring Networks, Geospatial Data, Images and Texts. Service to the community includes being a reviewer for the international DH conference for three years, a member of the Steering Committee for the ADHO Audio Visual in DH Special Interest Group (AVinDH SIG), and Chair of the American Studies Association (ASA) Digital Humanities Caucus.
Candidate Statement: It would be a privilege to serve on ACH as the organization grows and develops an annual conference in the United States. As a member of the Executive Council, I’d like to be a part of ACH’s work to build a more inclusive community in two ways. First, we need to reach out to and better incorporate liberal arts institutions. Exciting DH work is happening through consortiums such as the Five College Digital Humanities Initiative and training institutes like The Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship (ILiADS). Yet, this scholarship and innovative praxis is often less visible. Second, I’d like to be a part of ACH’s work to expand the field’s research areas. The organization is proactively leading ADHO to center the importance of theory (particularly informed by cultural studies) and open, critical reflexivity about DH. I’d like to be a part of this effort as well as work to center the importance of visual culture (ex. images and time-based media) to a field still heavily focused on text analysis and word culture. I am excited about the possibility of working in a more formal role on ACH to build and support the DH community. Thank you for your considering my candidacy.
Biography: Michael Widner is the Academic Technology Specialist for Stanford University’s Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages (DLCL) and a member of the Stanford Libraries’ Center for Interdisciplinary Digital Research. He is the Technology Director and lead developer for the Poetic Media Lab and for the Modernist Archives Publishing Project. His is also the technical lead for and a contributor to the Global Medieval Sourcebook. He collaborates with faculty and students in the DLCL on a wide variety of digital research and teaching projects. He also teaches classes and workshops on digital humanities, literature, and practical technical skills. His most recent publications are “Toward Text-Mining the Middle Ages: Digital Scriptoria and Networks of Labor” and the co-authored book Adventures in Digital Humanities: Building the Modernist Archives Publishing Project. His professional expertise includes data visualization, text analysis, digital editions, and critical code studies. He received his Ph.D. in English from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014.
Candidate Statement: I am honored to be nominated for the ACH’s Executive Council. If elected, I would continue the ACH’s already excellent work increasing the diversity of its membership, expanding the range of languages and cultures included, and promoting a broader view of who counts as a scholar. As a staff member who also publishes research and teaches, I want to ensure that all who contribute to digital scholarship have their labor recognized as valuable and credited appropriately. In particular, many digital projects rely heavily on student and staff labor that too often is erased in press releases, scholarly publications, and elsewhere. As a largely interdisciplinary, project-based field, the digital humanities are well-positioned to help transform the modern academy by encouraging students to learn through active research and collaboration, skills necessary to thrive in the 21st-century workplace. If we are to realize DH’s pedagogical potential, proper credit and a less hierarchical, more collaborative form of work should also be promoted. Alongside efforts to increase the ACH’s diversity in terms gender, race, and culture, I would therefore also work to increase opportunities for students, early-career scholars, staff, and others who do not occupy positions near the top of the academic hierarchy.
Biography: Mary Wise became the Digital Humanities Librarian in the Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communication Department at the University of New Mexico in 2017. Prior to UNM, Mary completed her M.A. in Library and Information Science at the University of Wisconsin (2012-2014). Following her M.A., she moved to the University of Iowa where she is currently creating her all-digital dissertation that focuses on American Indian protest movements aimed at increasing protections for effigy mounds at the turn of the twentieth century in the Midwest. At the University of Iowa, she collaborates on several digital humanities projects including HistoryCorps and Iowa Native Spaces. She is currently working to cultivate a robust digital humanities community at the University of New Mexico and beyond.
Candidate Statement: I am beyond excited to stand for the ACH elections to the Executive Council because I am impressed by the excellent support that the ACH provides for new digital humanities professionals. I want to contribute to the continued success of these efforts. The ACH currently facilitates important digital humanities conversations. The strength of the existing digital humanities community is in our willingness to get involved in and enable conversations. I want to work to continue conversations on diversity in the field, the role of coding and authority, and the ever-present fear of the job market. If elected, I would prioritize increasing ACH conference visibility to new digital humanities professionals beyond the academy. In my current work at the University of New Mexico, I work with thirty-one cultural heritage institutions across the state. While many of these institutions create digital projects, their voices are excluded from digital humanities conferences. I would also work to prioritize using ACH resources to support areas with under-supported and fledgling digital humanities communities. For example, there are a handful of impressive digital initiatives in New Mexico but support for digital initiatives in both university and cultural heritage institutions is limited. Armed with ACH resources, I would be delighted to increase support for mentorship for new digital humanities professionals in my region and beyond. At our ACH annual conferences, I would be excited to encourage new membership from professionals in my geographic region and to host workshops for new professionals. The ACH annual conference can be a venue for members from underrepresented regions and disciplines to get energized with new ideas and support for their scholarship and teaching. Extending invitations to new digital humanities professionals will enrich the discourse of our field, will challenge existing methodologies, and will produce innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing our field. I would consider it a great opportunity to be able to serve on the ACH Executive Council.
Biography: I am a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Maryland, a co-project manager of Dickinson Electronic Archives, and a project coordinator of the Digital Frost Project. Prior to coming to Maryland, I completed my master’s program at the University of Michigan School of Information, where I co-established a research group called Digital Humanities Collective in order to create a space for students, faculty, staff, and other local communities to gather and discuss digital humanities endeavours. My current work concerns the development of digital archival editions of literary figures, and my goal has been to foster a public humanities platform where the poet’s readers, critics, and teachers of all ages and abilities can critically engage with archival artifacts.
Candidate Statement: I am honored by a nomination to serve as a member of the ACH Executive Council. If elected, I would like to continue ACH’s advocacy work to further bring forth the field’s expertise to the public space. I trust our continuous investment in the constructive, cultural critique of digital technologies will be both beneficial to the ACH community and beyond. I look forward to receiving suggestions for how to best coordinate existing efforts and to realizing an apt institutional support for a kind of organizing scholars in the field of digital humanities are uniquely situated to undertake.
Biography: I’m Director of Digital Humanities and Professor of English at Michigan State University. Across my publications and projects, and in the positions I have held, I have focused on ways that the academy is transforming and should continue to transform in relation to the networked, collaborative technologies that increasingly support its work. Prior to joining the faculty at MSU, I spent six years working on these transformations as a member of the senior staff of the Modern Language Association, most recently as Associate Executive Director and Director of Scholarly Communication. In that role, I served as Managing Editor of MLA publications, and I chaired the Publications Committee and served as staff liaison to several other committees, including the Committee on Information Technology. During my time at the MLA, I led the planning and development of MLA Commons, as well as its later evolution into Humanities Commons, and I remain director of the project, which has received generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. I’ve published two books — Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy (NYU Press, 2011) and of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006) — and will in spring 2018 launch an open review process for my third, Generous Thinking: The University and the Public Good, which is under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press. While I was at the MLA, I held an appointment as Visiting Research Professor of English at New York University, as well as Visiting Professor of Media at Coventry University. Between 1998 and 2013, I was a faculty member in English and media studies at Pomona College, where I led the development of a five-college media studies major and was founding chair of both Pomona’s Department of Media Studies and the Intercollegiate Department of Media Studies of the Claremont Colleges. I am currently Chair of the Board of Directors of the Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and a member of a number of editorial and advisory boards, including of the Open Library of the Humanities, Open Book Publishers, and the University of California Press’s Luminos project.
Candidate Statement: Since my time on the ACH Executive Committee (2011-15), I have found myself consistently inspired by the dedication of the organization and its members not just to the intellectual work being done at the nexus of digital technologies and the humanities but to the work of community-building, both within the field and with a range of broader publics. Human connections, after all — messy and difficult though they can sometimes be — are ultimately more important to the development of engaged and engaging scholarly networks than are the technologies on which they rely. My goal if elected vice-president of ACH would be to work with its officers, the Executive Council and other committees, and the association’s many members to foster more opportunities for doing the important work of creating and fostering those human connections. What might this look like? First, we must continue to strategize opportunities for bringing underrepresented scholars and groups into the association, a process best begun not by telling scholars what the association and field have to offer, but instead by listening in ways that allow us collectively to discover mutual needs and opportunities. We should look for ways to reach out to our colleagues at secondary schools, at community colleges, at regional comprehensives, at HBCUs and tribal colleges, and at a wide range of cultural organizations, to find out how ACH can support their work. Such outreach initiatives might help expand the already strong efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within the organization, while also expanding our understanding of the kinds of work being done within the digital humanities. Second, as an organization, ACH has wrestled in recent years with the tension involved in having a partly international membership while largely being understood as a U.S.-based organization within a larger international alliance. Our sister organizations around the world — CSDH/SCHN, EADH, JADH, aaDH, and others — have long supported their members with local conferences in addition to the annual international DH gathering, but for many years, holding a separate ACH meeting felt to many like a kind of isolationist reaction, a withdrawal from our international relationships. However, U.S.-based members — especially those without access to institutional travel funds and those whose visas make international travel risky or indeed impossible in the current political environment — often literally found themselves isolated, unable to participate in the key conversations taking place within the field. I was thrilled to hear this year that ACH is moving forward with a plan to host regular meetings in the U.S., whether independently or in conjunction with existing regional conferences. I look forward to the opportunity to work on developing the organization’s presence at home while ensuring that our relationships with our sister organizations and scholars around the world remain collaborative and productive. ACH needs to strategize ways to provide low-cost opportunities for direct community engagement beyond in-person meetings, as well as better connecting the association to other organizations and networks. My experience with Humanities Commons might point toward one potential option. With more than 12,300 active members and a growing number of participating scholarly societies, HC is a vibrant and vital open-access, open-source, scholar-governed platform for research sharing, community building, and publishing. We are already in discussions about the possibility of hosting Digital Humanities Questions & Answers on HC, and involving more ACH members in the network — as well as opening space for the ACH to bring its expertise to bear in thinking about the improved accessibility, interoperability, and scalability necessary for the network’s future — would provide opportunities for new kinds of collaborations and projects. Such community-building initiatives might help build upon longstanding opportunities such as ACH’s mentoring and microgrants programs by highlighting and supporting work being done across the field and by grounding our programs in inclusivity and interconnection. In addition to continuing to expand these forms of community-building, ACH must in the coming years develop a communication and publishing strategy that can help get the many different kinds of work being done by members of the association out to the world. This strategy should take into consideration the ground-breaking work done by venues such as Digital Humanities Quarterly and Digital Humanities Questions & Answers, creating a sustainability plan for these key publications. But it might also encompass new opportunities for supporting and disseminating member work as well as means of creating new audiences for that work, perhaps through a venue that presents DH work to the broader publics that might find it of interest. A publication with the voice and presence of Public Books or the Los Angeles Review of Books but focused on issues in contemporary digital culture could do a great deal both to cultivate public interest in the work being done by association members and to afford the association a public platform from which to advocate for the fields that it represents and the public policies (such as net neutrality) that those fields require in order to thrive. At a moment such as we face today, both within the academy and within public life, organizations like ACH need to argue clearly and powerfully for the value of what we do, and they need to create spaces for scholars, students, practitioners, and advocates to come together in the process. My goal, if elected to serve the association, will be to continue to expand the ACH community in order to continue to amplify its voice within the field and around the world.
Biography: I have served as Executive Secretary of the ACH for three and a half years. In that time, I have helped transition ACH to an elections process hosted for us by Oxford University Press; extensively documented Executive Council meetings and followed up on action items; contributed to one substantial and one smaller revision of the ACH Constitution and Bylaws; and acted as liaison for new Council members and outside entities when needed. My day job as Boston University’s Digital Scholarship Librarian and a member of its Digital Initiatives and Open Access team has informed my ACH work since 2010. I’ve worked extensively at the institutional administrative level in various advisory capacities, including on governance councils and a high-level search committee. I am an active open access advocate on campus, and am working with BU Libraries administration to institutionalize support for digital research in the humanities and social sciences. I started, and am continuing to manage, our Digital Scholarship Services department. I am BU’s primary link to the wider digital humanities community, and am working to get more of our community out into the larger conversation. I’ve been active in digital humanities since 1998, and hold a PhD in Special Graduate Studies (Humanities Computing) from Brown. My major projects include Brown’s The Decameron Web and Virtual Humanities Lab, as well as my dissertation, RolandHT. I’ve received federal digital humanities funding as a co-PI in one case and project director in another, and assisted others in writing grant applications. I’ve served as a grant application reviewer for the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities.
Candidate Statement: DH continues to expand with respect to the research areas, and also the geographic and cultural distribution of researchers involved. We face tremendous demands to ensure true inclusivity as we engage an ever more diverse community of practice. At the same time, the “digital” in “digital humanities” is continuing to permeate all humanities research in deep and not always obvious ways, requiring a vigilant and subtle critical approach to our methods. Digital humanities organizations within and outside ADHO have risen to these challenges, but we have a lot of work to do, and I’d like to focus on the following if elected. I would like to see ACH continue and expand activities that it does well around supporting young scholars, liaising with discipline-specific scholarly societies, and [digital] humanities and open access advocacy at governmental levels when needed. I’d like to work with our Executive Council to more effectively serve the larger multifaceted community of humanities researchers, especially researchers who do or want to do digital work but do not consider themselves DH scholars. To that end, I’d like to see us support more regional and national level U.S. conferences, helping to introduce or promote conversation based in digital research methods at events where they are not the focus. I would like us to continue our advocacy in the realm of DH labor. In addition to the recommendations for promotion and tenure related review of digital work we’ve released, I’d like us to write recommendations for best practices in resourcing DH and digital scholarship units within higher ed institutions. Finally, as ADHO cardinally restructures itself, I would like ACH to continue to advocate for what we perceive to be underserved and underrepresented constituencies within the larger ADHO structure, and for a lightweight inter-organizational approach that aims to be truly globally beneficial in scope.