Agenda, 9/17 (6:30)

What is the Digital Humanities?

What’s does DH look like?

Your Book Review (see growing list of options at and your Response Paper 1 should address both, somehow.

Welcome to Week 3!


Week 2 ends at midnight tonight (9/7), so be sure to get your final posts into Forum 4 before that discussion thread closes in a couple hours.

After that, we roll into Week 3. You’ll notice I have opened up all the remaining weeks, so please feel free to have a look around.

Some highlights:

  1. Syllabus and deadlines are available. I made a mistake in the calendar for the syllabus updated on 9/3/14, so please go by the deadlines on the newest version. That version is attached, but you can also access it by clicking the “syllabus” link under the course home tab in eCollege.
  2. Assignment details for Response Papers 1-2 can now be found at the “Response Papers” link under the course home tab. I have removed Response Paper 3 from the schedule (too ambitious). Now we have only two RPs.
  3. Deadline for Response Paper 1 is now October 8, one week later than originally announced (see above mistake with calendar). Deadline for Response Paper 2 is November 5.
  4. Book Reviews: please help us crowd source options for the book reviews by joining the discussion found at the “Book Reviews” link under the course home tab. I’ll share options there as well. Read intro to that section for justification for crowd sourcing and overall goals for this assignment. You’ll need to “claim” your book title by September 28. Book Reviews are due October 29.
Finally, our face-to-face meeting last Wednesday resulted in about 90-minutes of audio with relevant screencast for you to review at your leisure. I am still working with the Faculty Center to get this massive file online, but we should be able to make that happen very soon.

In the meantime, I would like to announce our next face-to-face meeting will be Wednesday, September 17, from 6:30-8:00. We’ll meet in my office (Hall of Languages, Room 209). I will work with Faculty Center to set up a Google Hangout for this event, which will enable us to bring in any of you who may be interested in joining us from a distance. It will also record the session for us, so it seems like an excellent option all around.

Remember, do not feel pressured to attend these meetings. This is an option for those who feel it may be helpful. It is not required in any way. I have chosen to record these lectures for you. Rather than doing this for an empty room, I thought it made sense to invite people to come. That way, you can join in the conversation, ask questions, comment, and all the other graduate student things that make these sessions so interesting. However, you shouldn’t feel you need to come, nor even that you need to shoot me an excuse for not attending.

These are optional meetings. I mean that! Just an option for those who have the time to take advantage of them live. For those who can’t, there is always the recording. Or there will be, as soon as I figure out how to get that up for you. :)

Thanks, all, for the excellent conversation thus far. Looking forward to more!



Agenda, Optional F2F meeting, 9/3/14, 4:30-6:00

  1. Our Optional, Face-to-Face meetings (Plans for Current and Upcoming Face-to-Face, completely optional meetings)
  2. Updated Syllabus, with complete calendar
  3. Response Paper 1, with grading rubric
  4. Forums, with grading rubric
  5. Book Reviews, with grading rubric
    1. Options: I need your help. Things change SO quickly in the DH that the set of options I had ready for you is already hopelessly out of date. Over the next two weeks, I’d like for us to explore titles together. I have created a discussion area in eCollege for this (see  “Book Reviews” link under Course Home tab). Keep a running list of titles in our readings that seem worthy of further exploration. Search for titles dealing with digital humanities and an area of interest for you. Share those titles as you find them by posting them to this discussion area. If more than one of you wants to review the same title, that’s absolutely fine. Let’s talk about how to make that productive.
    2. Reading Groups:I would highlight suggest you form reading groups around these texts. Read them together and meet at least a couple of times to discuss what you have read. This conversation will lead to richer reviews and it’ll be a lot more fun in the process.
    3. Deadline for “Claiming” the book you would like to review:
  6. “Units”

 UNIT 1: Definitions and Debates in the DH (Response Paper 1)

UNIT 2: Environmental Scan (Response Paper 2)

UNIT 3: Entering the Conversation: Applications and Next Steps (Response Paper 3)

7. Overview: Digital Humanities

8. Discussion: Jones, Chapters 1-2 (Eversion and Dimensions); Gold, “The DH Movement

Optional Face-to-Face Meetings: A Plan!

Last week’s optional class meeting was great. I was delighted to sit down face-to-face with several of you and talk a bit about DH, your interests, and the general outline of our course plans/goals as they may serve those interests. As discussed last week, I’m eager to do this again. Several have asked about making this a regular thing. I’d be delighted to. Several also asked if we might be able to do this at a different time as they have conflicts with the 4:30 start time. Absolutely. I know several of you are teaching in the metroplex, which makes travel to Commerce by that start time an impossibility.

I think I have a way to accommodate our diverse needs going forward. Check this out:

  1. Record meetings and make them available in eCollege: We will be recording our face-to-face meeting this week, which we will be holding again Wednesday, 4:30-6:30 (9/3). This week’s meeting will be held in the Sam Rayburn Student Center, Integrity Room (Second Floor). This recording will be made available to you on via a link in the eCollege platform. We do this with any future meetings as well. Alas,  we did not figure out a good way to record last week’s meeting. So those conversations were not preserved. But the solution this missed opportunity next time around will be . . .
  2. Repeating vital information: At last week’s meeting, we went over the syllabus and course goals. I showed some examples of DH and we talked about the complexity of defining it–not just here but among the seminal figures in DH who call themselves DHers. Not everyone agrees. :) At this week’s meeting, I will go over the syllabus and course goals again–this time in greater detail. You’ll have access to the entire course calendar by that time, and I’ll go over that. I’ll talk more about your Forums and evaluation tools for those, as well as your upcoming response papers. I will spend some time with Response Paper #1, which you’ll have access to by that time as well. Much of what I will be going over will just be a verbal reinforcement of information made available in eCollege. However, many do find that useful. The bulk of the course will be spent in conversation with you, as we work to align your goals with the many possibilities available via DH (and engaged through our various assignments).
  3. Polling you guys for available times and offering future meetings at times most conducive to your schedulesI have set up a poll to determine when might be the best time to offer our Week 3 optional meeting. Please respond to that as soon as you can at . Let me know if you have any difficulties with it. I’ll leave that open until our Wednesday meeting this week (9/3). That way we can announce the Week 3 meeting with enough wiggle room for interested folks to make arrangements to join us. I did not get the poll to you guys in time to make those arrangements for this Week 2 meeting. With my delay and the Labor Day holiday, it just made more sense to go forward with the time already scheduled.
  4. Social Media or other means of bringing those who can’t physically attend the session into the meeting. Under the Week 2 tab and all the remaining Weekly tabs available, I have included a link for “General Questions and Contributions to f2f Meeting” We’ll use this for any questions you may have about the course, assignments, or other more general contributions and queries that might not seem exactly right for the Forums themselves but seem nonetheless important. I would also like for you to contribute to the face-to-face meeting by sharing questions you would like answered there, as well. I will cull this discussion area for your contributions to our f2f meeting before we meet to ensure those who can’t be there are represented as well. Going forward, let’s also explore mechanisms for folks to join us in real-time—Google Hangouts, twitter, ???. Hopefully we can implement those very soon, as well.

So, there you have it! We have a plan. Or at least we have a plan for making a plan! In any case, this is what’s going on. Again, these are not required meetings. I know you guys are busy and schedules are tight, so some of you may not be able to join us at of the available times. This is a key reason people choose online courses, after all. So you can take courses instead of sleeping. :)

However, if you are available and can join us I hope you will. Ideally, I will be able to offer additional face-to-face meetings (optional) several times this fall.

Reflections on A&M-C’s First Graduate Seminar on DH

Next week, we wrap up Texas A&M-Commerce’s very first course on the digital humanities. When I proposed this graduate Our graduate seminar (English Studies and the Digital Humanities) Indeed, our seminar (English Studies and the Digital Humanities) is the fist of its kind .

It seems fitting that I reflect on them in the first post at our university’s first blog dedicated to the digital humanities. In designing the course, I relied upon the numerous


It’s (Not) Always Sunny in the Digital Humanities:

Another Perspective DH’s “Dark Side”

Dark Side

Morea Coker, in particular, raises an important topic that has Dark Side of the Digital Humanities. a number of important points I wanted to explore with the entire group. To define DH, she insists, we must examine far more than the sheer desires of the people involved. I admit that there is a

Clearly, the definition of digital humanities needs to come from an examination of the digital rather than the humanistic.In her exploration of how we might define DH, she reveals I applaud your choice to dig into the political, material, and ideological issues that surround any attempt to define a discipline–always already an attempt at legitimizing a discipline (or not). :)

However, Spiro (as well as many other DHers) fail to address exactly how this will become economically viable for the academy. In all the reading, there seems to be a focus on the willingness of scholars to share, publish in open access, and collaborate with the public. However, the public is not clearly defined and the implied contributors, if we look into the contributors of the textbook, are people who hold full-time positions save three graduate students. So what is being shared? What type of knowledge is being built?

make some interesting arguments about DH scholarship and its place in the academy.

I applaud your choice to dig into the political, material, and ideological issues that surround any attempt to define a discipline–always already an attempt at legitimizing a discipline (or not). :) As you insist, “To fully understand the conception of DH, one must look into the funding that legitimizes the discipline.” Absolutely. I agree that , but I am ultimately a bit confused by some of the conclusions you draw from this evidence.

As much as I admire your analysis and evidence selected to pursue those ends, I must quibble with the following assertion: “While DH is respected for its potential, it is still clearly removed from the inner circles of the academy.” Wow, I’m really struggling to find any evidence of this “clear remov[a] from the inner circles of the academy.” It does, indeed, force us to rethink the humanities, but we’ve already been forced to do this in recent years as “the end of the humanities” seems to echo from every major publication and each new report. Humanities majors are down–WAY down. Funding is being stripped from humanities departments across the nation. Many a report from major news outlets suggest the general public finds humanities to be “out of touch.” Plenty fear humanities departments will go the way classics departments went not too long ago. Extinct. A relic of the past.

Maybe it is this environment that makes DH so important, so regularly declared “the future of the humanities” or maligned as “the death of the humanities.” Whatever the case, it has taken center stage at the center in “inner circles of the academy–whether anyone likes it or not. I’d like to think a successful rescue of the humanities is underway, which may be a reason I embrace the DH. But the fact is whether we embrace it or not, DH is here and likely to stay here for the unforeseeable future.

In fact, far from relegating DH to the margins of the academy, every major university these days has a well respected, high profile center for DH or is working quickly to remedy NOT having one by bringing in senior scholars to spearhead such efforts. THIS is the future of the humanities, not just the DH. That’s not me talking, and it isn’t even always (or mainly) DHers talking. That’s just about any mainstream news outlet and scholars as traditional as Stanley Fish–even Fish is calling it “the next big thing.” Headlines in everything from the New York Times and Washington Post to more academic-specific outlets like Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Ed declare or decry its major prominence in the academy but we’d be hard pressed to find any story that denies its a presence to contend with. DH even dominates the annual conferences of the major powerhouses of the humanities–including the Modern Language Association and the American History Association , more so every year. And it is welcome. If AHA and MLA celebrate DH, you know it isn’t on the fringes of the academy. Similar evidence is NEH’s ODH, which gives DH the top tier of credibility. Very little can surpass such a powerful endorsement of an entity’s scholarly worth and academic chops.

You also suggest that “Rather than having the year-long (or more) submit, revise, publish paradigm of traditional scholarship, DH provides markers of real time thought and transformation within the academy through collaborative web-text and expandable potentials on printed materials.” Yes and much more no. It takes just as long to publish the most widely read and highly valued DH scholarship as it does non-DH scholarship. Likewise, digital venues are not, necessarily, publishing primarily scholarship that would be labeled “DH.” Further, publication in online, refereed venues does not mean a shorter timeline to publication either. At least that’s not been my experience.

t is important to note that our textbook includes a variety of pieces that range from peer-reviewed articles to blog posts. As Gold notes in the introduction, the reason for the latter is a desire to publish work that reflects the most recent DH trends possible. Things move too fast in DH to rely soley on extensively peer-reviewed, print-based scholarship.

That does not mean that the blogs and rest replace the more heavily referreered and revised work in DH. Quite the contrary. Instead, it supplements it. In fact, I can tell you from personal experience that the timeline for DH scholarship isn’t actually any shorter (or less rigorous) than any other.

I’ve never tried to publish anything in a DH journal, but I have (will) published on DH in our own discipline’s top publication venues (College English, November 2013) and a forthcoming book called Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities (set for publication with University of Chicago Press in early 2014). Both of these pieces were invited, so the timeline from submission to publication is a little shorter than it might otherwise be. But the timeline from the editor’s invitation to me, my invitation to my co-authors, our initial submission, acceptance, revisions, and (now) copyedits (ala galleys from publisher) is two years (exactly) for one and slightly more for the other.

This is very comparable to my publication timelines for non-DH scholarship in competitive venues with high submissions and very low acceptance rates. It’s always about two years, sometimes more. One time it was less than one year, but that was very atypical. College English really wanted my “Living Inside the Bible (Belt)” piece. I submitted it in early fall of 2006. They accepted it a couple months later (in November), with minor revisions.

Here are two examples:

Non-DH publication example
In July 2007, College English published my “Living Inside the Bible (Belt).” This is our field’s top venue with a very high submission rate and a very low acceptance rate. The articles go through rigorous peer review.

Timeline from submission to publication–quite short:

Submitted late early fall 2006.
Received “Accept, with Revisions” by November 2006.
Published the following July.

Others Non-DH publication examples

It is also not a product of digital publishing. Each of my examples took about two years.

Kairos published our “The Converging Literacies Center” in Fall 2009 (with Donna Dunbar-Odom). That was about two years from submission to publication.

Bump Halbritter and I co-edited a special issue on undergraduate research for Kairos. We published or call for submissions in 2009. The special issue appeared Fall 2011.

Fall 2010, Computers and WRiting Online published our “Activist Writing Center” (with Dunbar-Odom and Adkins). That was about two years from submission to publication as well.

I love this comment to another post, as well: “I really believe DH is much less about what we think it is and more about what it does.” I absolutely agree. One of my favorite DH scholars (and I can’t seem to remember who at the moment) offers the following advice to those anxious about getting involved with DH: The best way to understand the DH is to do it. Dive in.

include stuff on critical digital humanities for coker, including our work on RRT