It is my pleasure to introduce to you one of our first pilot projects at GO::DH, Around DH in 80 Days!
AroundDH hopes to be a fun way to introduce the work of colleagues around the world to those who are just starting out. Everyday for 80 days we will visit a group or projects across the globe. An editorial board will select a total of 80 groups or projects out of master list created by volunteers like you. Groups in the list will be approached to describe themselves and highlight their work in 200 words or less. We will do our best to bring attention to digital scholarship outside of Canada, Europe, the US and Japan. In that sense, we are departing from a broad and inclusive vision of DH. Besides the audience of new comers, the global scope of the tour should also attract some of the more seasoned DH’ers. The greatest challenge of the editorial board is to balance the geographical margins with the greatest-hits of the northern mainstream. The greatest hope of the project is to paint enough of a broad picture of digital humanities to redefine it in the process. Thus, AroundDH can be read not only as a tour of the globe, but also as a dance around the periphery of DH.
The project began as an email experiment. One email was sent daily from my outbox to all the librarians in the H&H division at Columbia with the subject “The DH Daily.” Everyday, our librarians, who are in the middle of a 2-year professional development program to become the consultation arm of our Digital Humanities Center at Columbia, would visit a different DH center or project. Others outside of Columbia heard about the experiment and wanted to be included in the email list. The appeal was the small dosages. Like the librarians, the rise of DH across the land has brought crowds of DH-curious academic professionals and students to our doors asking, where do I begin?’ At the same time that the emails were going out, I was slowly but surely becoming part of the conversations around Global Outlook DH. There we were trying to discover as much as we could about the world outside the fields of vision of the member-nations of the ADHO. Eventually these two sets of concerns blend into one, and thus was born the idea for Around DH in 80 days.
The project is currently being developed by Ryan Cordell’s Doing Digital Humanities graduate class (#s13dh). You are still welcome to contribute to our global list. After Ryan’s class develops the first stage of the project, the project will be passed around the world for refinement and translation. Around DH indeed!
If you or your team would like to volunteer to translate the project once it’s ready, and/or become part of the editorial board that makes the final decisions for inclusion, please send me a line.
I just submitted the final draft of my dissertation, “Migrant Textuality: On the fields of Aimé Césaire’s Et les chiens se taisaient,” to my committee. My defense is scheduled for November 26 at noon at the University of Virginia English Department.
Let’s not waste too much time. Here’s a PDF copy of the document I submitted. You can find the appendices here. Let’s go ahead an offer these documents with a CC-BY 3.0 license, why don’t we.
Ater the defense, I will work to create an online version of the dissertation more suitable for reading on a browser. That should take me a few weekends… I hope.
Have at it!
Around here we usually wake up around 6:30 am to Henry’s complaints. He asks to be let out of the room, but has not learned how to open the door himself. I’m sitting on the couch in the living room with half an eye closed. Henry stares at me with an impish face covered with ink. In a father-son compromise meant to give me the time to write this blogpost, I gave him a rare treat: pen and paper.
Thus begins my Day of DH 2012. Read more….
[Reposted from my first post for the Praxis Program]
On joining the Praxis Program, I knew I was in for something new. As part of the most recent generation of DH’ers at Uva, I’ve had time to develop a healthy dose of envy for the heroic age of SpecLab or the early years of NINES (not so long ago to be honest), when the DH demi-gods were said to roam the halls of Bryan. In the past couple of years, there have been informal attempts to revive the gall and vision of those who (just) came before us… without much success. Perhaps it was time to give up. After all, UVa continues to be a DH powerhouse without the shop-apprentice model of (not-so) yore. Perhaps the problem was that our impromptu efforts were tinged with nostalgia. When I was invited to become part of the Praxis Program, I knew this was something different, something new. Finally, we had a shop-apprentice model that I could make my own, that we could make our own.
To talk about ownership in the hour of open access and crowdsourcing may seem oxymoronic, but I beg to differ. Before I came to the academy I was a salaried worker for more companies than I would care to enumerate. Though the service-industry’s book of mantras includes a line or two on how the company belongs to everyone, no one really buys that. Once in the academy, I’ve had a chance to help several faculty members with their projects where all I got in return was a footnote of appreciation. Even the countless ENWR courses I’ve been deputized have felt alien. In the end, the only thing I felt belonged to me where my most solitary scribblings and my toothbrush. I realize now that what makes the difference is creative direction. I too want to own what I create, but in my previous brushes with collaboration, I’ve always felt the only ‘I’ came from the top. When I saw that the first assignment of the Praxis Program was for us to design our own charter, I knew I was in for something new, something that is already starting to feel like my own.
With that in mind, here are some of the things I would like to see in the final version of our charter:
- Credit should be non-hierarchical: Though the program that’s allowing us to build this project has a steward, the project itself should be credited to all of us.
- Detailing the contributions: Though we all get credit for the project, we should still publish a list of detailed contributions for audiences which require more details.
- One for all and all for one: Though we each can end up focusing more on those things suited to our individual calling, we should all be equal partners in the overall progress of the project.
- Departures: In the unlikely event that one of us leaves the project, that person should always receive credit by dates worked and contributions made, and have the right to reference the project on their vita.
- New Members: New participants should be given credit by date of arrival.
- License: I vote wholeheartedly that we offer everything we make open-access, open-source through a Creative Commons Attribution license. Bethany provides excellent rationale in “Why, of why, CC-BY?”.
- Taking ownership: I say we codify in the charter our commitment to promote the project publicly, to link it to our online personas, to make it truly our own. Each member should be allowed to list the project on their Vitas or Webpages under current projects or whatever appropriate equivalent
- Non-representative democracy: All major aspects of the project should be decided on a 2/3 vote with full quorum. This means we should also codify what we consider to be these major aspects.
Tango began as a series of conversations between the NINES group and other parties around the issue of accessibility to out-of-print scholarly works copyrighted before the advent of the internet, but also about the future of books in general. The name for the project came from a conversation between Jerome McGann and Madelyn Wessel, our resident copyright expert. Publishers and scholars most learn how to tango together, quipped Wessel and the rest brings us here.
I joined NINES in the summer as one of their fellows along with Annie Swafford and Michael Pickard and we were immediately recruited to the Tango project. At the time, Jerome McGann, Andrew Stauffer and Dana Wheeles (@bluesaepe) were in the thick of brainstorming adequate solutions for these out-of-print scholarly works around the usual suspects: production, stewardship and copyright. In the absence of an umbrella institution that could coordinate these issues, the main question was how to resolve the problems in a way that would not depend on such an institution, but that would still revolve around a collectivity. What you see here is the result of our continued conversations and we offer them to the public with a healthy dose of both skepticism and drive. We encourage you to join our conversation.
Also, Alter, was macht ein mega-Dominicano in Berlin? So wie so, arbeiten!
First time for everything, even to repeat the same night in a new city. And Berlin does offer some perks for the repetitive Caribbeanist. Number one on the list has to be the 24/7 access to willig dunkel beer at a suitable seedy chinchorro. Scanning from library to library around the urban sausage on the hunt for the rare lucubrations of the dead can dig quite the gargantuan thirst in the young scholar, and there it is with a loaner from English, everywhere: BAR. And now that the young Indiana Jones de biblioteca has satisfied his parched lips, what should he do with all the extra spit but yap til the sun hits high-noon and the libraries ring a new round. A vicious circle with an empty center, a European donut, that is Berlin for the dominican letter-man.
It doesn’t help that he is surrounded by an intrepid cast of pre-doctoral fiends pinched from the least likely academic burrows: El Gallo, the diplomatic historian from Popayan, a genius of romance, misogyny and Capoeira. Gracias por la cama, mon vieux. Der Max, the introverted artist-scholar from the hollers of Switzerland, a specialist of… what was the name of that poet again?… who can improvise the jazz trumpet with a bumbling and a-thumping when silence falls on the drunken. Markus, a.k.a. El Alemán, a shady analytical philosopher from Oxford whose only dream in life is to make bad 5 minute short films and sleep with 7 different women every week. Dennizio, the secretive and brutally erudite philosopher of science who does not allow me to reveal any more details about his identity or whereabouts (he’s probably shining at the Mini Bar on Kreutzberg East as you read), and last but not least: Obi, the nemesis. I wish you could have seen his haughty bearing as he guaranteed victory on the battlefield! Needless to say, he was thoroughly thrashed by my superior wit and dexterity.
Despite these obstacles, by the end of the 10 days, my work in Berlin was done. This improbable outcome was due in no small part to the angelic intervention of two other doctorantes: the ironically white Anja Schwarz (African Studies, bien sur) and the deus-ex-machina appearance of my never-before-met primita Carolina Malagón, a sprite of 18th Century German Philology. And so, the tired Hispaniolo returns home to his angelito and the work ahead…
bis bald, bis bald.
Amazing that Eric Hobsbawm, who was born in 1917 and held on through the short century with his credentials intact, is still kicking hard. This little book I assigned to my undergrad students as an introduction to current affairs from the panoramic point of view. Only ninety pages long, but it manages to sound deeply across time and around the block. The argument is very simple: America’s empire is different and dangerous (considering Hobsbawn thinks all previous empires were no picnic either, read the word dangerous in bold-face). My one beef with the book was the repeated assertion that borders were not crossed in international conflict from the end of WWII to the end of the Cold War. Perhaps he was exaggerating or perhaps he means something particular that eludes me when he says ‘cross’ or ‘border,’ or he means perhaps that the US invading other countries during that time doesn’t count because after all they had a sort of monopoly on the role of space invaders.