The formulation of Digital Humanities as a discipline over the past several decades has often been accompanied by a strong sense of optimism. The interconnection between humanities inquiry and technological methods, the emphasis on collaborative projects, and the value placed on applied and public-oriented research all give rise to a certain hope that DH might provide a different relationship to university structures, academic job market woes, and even the forces of capitalism and neoliberalism. And yet, the structures of Digital Humanities are not at all exempt from these structures. In fact, the dynamics of funding, growth, labor, and sustainability in DH offer valuable insight into the opportunities and challenges of this and other applied humanistic research.
In this course, we will consider structural and interpersonal power dynamics, funding, job creation and sustainability, bias, affect, and care in relation to the emergence of Digital Humanities as a core field of university research and teaching. With an emphasis on feminist and queer of color analyses whenever possible, we will consider the historical development of the field as well as DH in the particular time and space of CUNY in 2023. We will draw on a wide range of texts and genres—from formal theoretical publications, to grant proposals, to administrative materials that reveal the tacit values of a program. Throughout, we will ask how our own educational experiences inform our work.
The course will ask for a high degree of engagement and participation; in exchange, it will offer a great deal of flexibility. The semester will culminate in a final project structured by you, the student (in consultation with the instructor) to advance your own goals and research interests.