[Humanist] 26.665 report: digital humanities at the MLA

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Jan 9 07:37:37 CET 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 665.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 16:47:19 -0500
        From: Michael Hancher <mh at umn.edu>
        Subject: (Some) digital humanities at the MLA convention

There were 795 sessions at this year's MLA convention in Boston, of which
66 significantly engaged the Digital Humanities; these were listed by Mark
Sample at
http://www.samplereality.com/2012/10/17/digital-humanities-at-mla-2013/. I
attended several of them. (I also organized one.) Some attracted large
audiences, and thoughtful commentary. For example:

* William Pannapacker, "On the Dark Side of the Digital Humanities,"*Chronicle
of Higher Education* (an eye-witness account):
* Rafael Alvarado, "Are MOOCs Part of the Digital Humanities?" (an armchair
view): http://transducer.ontoligent.com/?p=992
* Serena Golden, "The MLA's Big (Digital) Tent," *Inside Higher Ed *(another
eye-witness account):

Golden draws special attention to the launch of MLA Commons (
http://commons.mla.org/), a new social-media site intended to improve
communication and collaboration among MLA members. I signed on before the
official launch, but by the time I stopped by the MLA Commons booth to pick
up my free T-shirt, they were all gone. (I did get one of the two remaining
stickers.) The web interface is still being refined, but the result should
prove useful for many people. The first substantial text published at MLA
Commons is *Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology*,
ed. Kenneth M. Price and Ray Siemens (http://dlsanthology.commons.mla.org/).

Another well-received launch was the open-access edition of *Debates in the
Digital Humanties*, ed. Matthew K. Gold (University of Minnesota Press),
one year after its appearance in print. New chapters will be added online
later this year (http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/).

During the final session of the conference, Sunday afternoon, I attended a
session on "Literature and Digital Pedagogies" (
http://www.mla.org/program_details?prog_id=795&year=2013), while Doug
Armato, director of the University Minnesota Press, presented a paper in a
different session about the interface between online blog publication and
book publication, "Considering Serial Scholarship and the Future of
Scholarly Publishing" (

The session that I organized for the MLA Discussion Group on Lexicography,
"Digital Dictionaries," was reported or commented on via Twitter by more
than a dozen people, some of whom were not even in the room (one was in the
UK). Ben Zimmer, one of the speakers, later organized the program listing
and the 79 tweets in a legible format at
Yesterday another member of the audience, Colleen Ross, posted a more
detailed reflection on the presentations at her blog, "Word of Mouth" (
http://colleenross.org/). *Vox audita perit, littera scripta manet*.

Michael Hancher
Professor of English, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota
207 Lind Hall, 207 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
mh.cla.umn.edu ● Google Plus ● @MichaelHancher

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