Session Proposal: Making DH Community by Making a Community Syllabus

At Marquette, as at many schools, students, faculty, and staff are eager to learn about and get involved in Digital Humanities. And yet questions abound: What is DH, exactly? Is it an area of study? A set of interrelated theories and practices? A movement within—and beyond—the academy? Also, is “Digital Humanities” limited to the Humanities? Can artists and social scientists take part? What about alt- and nonacademics? And how is it “digital,” exactly? What moves it beyond “humanities computing”? Can only “makers” participate? Or does DH have multiple access points and possibilities for contributing?

Clearly, these questions need more than a single conference session to address. They demand at least a semester if not a year (or years!) of study, and they call for crowdsourcing. To that end we propose a collaborative THATCamp MKE session in which participants work together to build a shared syllabus designed to help open dialogue, build knowledge, and expand engagement with DH on participants’ home campuses and in their communities.

The goals: 1) to identify and prioritize topics for approximately 8 months’ worth of inquiry (i.e., an academic year); 2) to build a list of related must-read (or -watch or -listen to) resources; and 3) to compile a list of guests and/or activities, identified both in general (e.g., type of expert, purpose of activity) and specifically (e.g., by name).

The plan: We imagine a session with three parts and one break.

  • Part 1 (5-10 minutes): Everyone individually brainstorms items for 1, 2, and 3.

  • Part 2 (15-20 minutes): In small groups, session participants share, merge, and grow their lists.

  • During the break, groups post their lists via whatever materials are available (e.g., whiteboard, flipcharts, post-Its, Google doc and data projector).

  • Part 3 (time remaining): Working together, the full group further rearranges and refines all three lists.

The possibilities: If this session flies, we hope everyone who contributes comes away with not only usable resources but also a sense of shared community that continues to grow online in sync with and in support of more local efforts.

Categories: Session Proposals, Session: Make |

About Rose Fortier

Coordinator of Digital Programs at Marquette University. Works with e-Publications@Marquette, the university's institutional repository. Has worked with digitization and digital projects since 2007.