In the Right Time and Place for DH

This is a very busy Digital Humanities year for me, for the CUNY Graduate Center, and for the Praxis class as well. The speakers on the syllabus, from @HASTAC Director and historian Dr. Cathy Davidson to the MLA‘s Director of Scholarly Communication Dr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, NINES Director Dr. Andy Stauffer to NULab director Dr. Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, are an incredible array of expert practitioners in DIgital Humanities, from whom I am excited to learn a great deal.

After three years working towards my PhD in US History, the Praxis class serves as both part of my work with the Digital Fellows and to fulfill an ‘ad-hoc’ minor program in the History department, a custom-designed minor in Diplomacy and Digital Humanities. I’ll be working on a number of projects this term and this year that will contribute to this aspect of my Oral examinations and dissertation – specifically my own work centers around computational text analysis of the materials of the Kissinger Collection at the Digital National Security Agency. These documents, generated on paper from 1968-1978 and transferred over decades from microfilm to page images in pdf format, have a complicated origin. Released to the public through a maddeningly complicated process of declassification and redaction, they have proven a fascinating subject of study – but one of the research areas I am most excited about is in the realm of Data Visualization. CUNY Professor Dr. Lev Manovich will be leading a class later in the term, one which I hope most, if not all, of the students will find inspiring and thought-provoking.

Before returning to school, I spent over 10 years as a project manager for software projects in entertainment, new media and the financial sector, and that skill set has served me well in my DH research. It has also served me well in working on other projects – for example, as a project manager for the CUNY Academic Commons, the WordPress website on which the Praxis blog and group runs. It has been a fascinating and very rewarding experience to lead a team of software developers, community facilitators, active users, subject matter experts and educators. As a PM, I help the team focus on development and roadmap goals, and at the same time, help to enable and contribute to the team’s culture and success. As with Data Visualization, a working familiarity with the basics of Project Management can go a long way to make a digital humanities project successful, and so I am excited about the appearance of Dr. Tom Scheinfeldt, Director-at-Large of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History  and a leading light in DH Project Management, later in the term.

And all this doesn’t even begin to describe the excitement at the institutional level, amidst the evolving plans for the CUNY Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization! I am very excited to be at the Graduate Center at such an amazing time in the history of DH and the institution, and hope to make the very best of this opportunity to study DH praxis!

3 thoughts on “In the Right Time and Place for DH

  1. Profile photo of Christopher VitaleChristopher Vitale

    I am excited to have you as a resource for this class as well as a point of contact as a Digital Fellow. I am a Digital Fellow at Queens College working out of the Center for Teaching and Learning and Writing at Queens program. We should chat.

  2. Profile photo of (Martha) Joy Rose(Martha) Joy Rose

    So great to “meet” you. I’m super stoked about Dr. Cathy Davidson at CUNY too. I joined the HASTAC group last year online before I even really knew what it was, but online education really excites me – especially as a supplement to real human interactions. Your history project sounds great and thanks for your blog.

  3. Profile photo of Elissa MyersElissa Myers

    It seems like your data visualization project on Kissinger could really help scholars who are looking for specific info on him, but don’t know where to start. I am really interested in learning more about how to use digital methods to illustrate large amounts of information in such a way that scholars can be assured their readings of texts or historical situations make sense in a wider context.

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