Digital humanities needs human resources

Tuka Al-Sahlani

My response to Adashima Oyo’s “Innovation and Burnout” article  wass, “ yes”, “yes”, “I hear you”, “yes”, “exactly”. This is my second semester teaching undergraduates in CUNY colleges. I was an Open Knowledge Fellow and went in my first semester of teaching with the aim to have a course site, OERs, upgrading policy, and all the ideals I want in my course. Suffice to say I did none, or I did slivers of some. I quickly realized, although I had the information and tools, I did not have the time to prepare for this better course. So, yes, Oyo, I agree, “ many of these [critical digital pedagogy]  methods require extensive preparation and planning for the adjunct.” These methods are successful  because of the time, labor, connectedness and transparency of these adjuncts in their pedagogy.  ( Shout out to the part-time  faculty–and fellows– at CUNY!) 

As for the Digital Precarity Manifesto.–WOW! I am not sure which quote to specifically reflect on because I might have annotated every other sentence, but there are two things that struck me. One, the historicization of digital precarity or even “the chain” of digital labor that I have not read about nor been introduced to in the general area of digital humanities.  I have always read/ seen digital humanities from the product and not from the production. Two, the breadth of the feminist perspective, but also the “miracle worker”( Boyles, et al.) tone of the feminist perspective. The Digital Precarity Manifesto does not support the “miracle worker” status, but ( and this could be me in awe of the manifesto) it reads like a superhero manifesto. I want to be in that league, but how do we go about eliminating that tone? Or, should I accept that tone as powerful and reframe it?

Another question I had pertained to Boyles et al’s “Precarious Labor and DH”. Summer institutions are something I have looked into precisely as the authors mention to supplement my skills and possibly increase my hireability, but these institutions do offer courses that do read as valuable to scholars in their respective fields. So, how do we provide for continuing learners (because if it is not for a job prospect then these individuals are continuing learners) to attend and benefit from institutions?
Another note on Boyle et al. When I read this quote “few DH projects will ever achieve the level of support or traffic that requires having full-time support staff dedicated to the maintenance of that project” (697) it reminded me of the ITP projects that remain accessible are mostly sponsored such as  Journalism and COVID-19: The Toll of a Pandemic sponsored by PEN America and Teaching Bilinguals (Even if You’re Not One!) that is a part of the CUNY-New York State Initiative for Emergent Bilinguals.