[Humanist] 29.124 DH organizations

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Jun 28 01:20:57 CEST 2015

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 124.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    "Spence, Paul" <paul.spence at kcl.ac.uk>                    (25)
        Subject: RE:  DH organizations around the world

  [2]   From:    "Rahul K. Gairola" <rgairola at uw.edu>                     (175)
        Subject: Re:  [Redhd] DH organizations around the world

  [3]   From:    Alex Gil <colibri.alex at gmail.com>                         (69)
        Subject: Re:  DH organizations around the world

  [4]   From:    Amir Simantov <wawina at gmail.com>                           (8)
        Subject: Re:  29.120 DH organizations

  [5]   From:    Alex Gil <colibri.alex at gmail.com>                        (211)
        Subject: Re:  DH organizations around the world

        Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2015 07:57:24 +0000
        From: "Spence, Paul" <paul.spence at kcl.ac.uk>
        Subject: RE:  DH organizations around the world
        In-Reply-To: <CAJpR9mHx21xVA_KPC=btaCg-B7GjNiZSkaTt-j-Y5fcG_Z3Npg at mail.gmail.com>

Dear Alex

Thanks for this very interesting visual summary, which helps us think globally about professional associations and representation in the digital humanities. This interests me a lot, as I’m currently doing research into architectures of participation in DH and, in broader terms, the cultural geographies of digital scholarship.

I have a number of questions about how you created the visualisation – from that point of view, it would be helpful to have more information about the criteria used to draw boundaries.

Some comments/queries:

·         Geographical boundaries and language sometimes roughly coincide – most often they don’t. I suspect we need a more fine-grained approach, taking multiple perspectives, if we want to reach any firm conclusions

·         Your ‘about’ page talks of territoriality. When we are talking about associations, it is important to distinguish between [1) their professed geographical area of focus, if that even exists, [2] our perception of their focus, according to the evidence at our disposal [3] organisational pragmatics – e.g. the criteria used to distribute funds, [4] membership data, etc etc. To give three examples of how categorisations can be problematic: I have heard various prominent ACH people object when people identify the organisation too closely with North America at various times over the years; EADH adopted a regional ‘focus’ in the last few years, but has always had, and continues to have (in spite of its clear primary focus on Europe), global outreach (with very strong connections to Japan at various stages, for example); HDH explicitly identifies itself as international, and therefore not just limited to Spain (or indeed Spanish-speaking territories).

·         If we use membership data, that opens up a whole lot of new questions: there is a difference between location of residence, institutional location, location of birth/origin etc etc. Are we measuring personal identification with a particular geography, the pragmatics of where someone has institutional support, or something else entirely?

·         There are a whole host of other issues here that affect how we interpret culture, language and geography in DH: the fact that people can speak multiple languages; the disjoint between cultural identity and nationhood; the difficulty in identifying some countries with continents or agreeing on definitions of their boundaries; contested geographies and labels; the fact that professional association membership is probably not a good indicator of actual DH research activity;  the varying degrees of accuracy and granularity of various data sources (including membership lists) etc etc.

You are admirably honest about the fact that the map is not fully  representational; nevertheless, you have created it, you have performed a representation (which is already leading to interpretation by those of us viewing it), and I was wondering if you could say more about which direction(s) you imagine taking this in.

Best wishes

Paul Spence
Senior Lecturer
Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane

        Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:55:58 +0530
        From: "Rahul K. Gairola" <rgairola at uw.edu>
        Subject: Re:  [Redhd] DH organizations around the world
        In-Reply-To: <c603a2722c4d49c396f25435660c6b8e at XCAS1.qc.ads>

This is great Alex, thanks for thinking of and sharing it with us.  I hope
to welcome you to India very soon!



Rahul Krishna Gairola, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee  //  Uttarakhand, India  247667
Section Editor, *Postcolonial Text*:  http://postcolonial.org/index.php/pct
Editor, *salaam: the newsletter of the south asian literary association*
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rahulkgairola

        Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2015 11:32:46 -0400
        From: Alex Gil <colibri.alex at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  DH organizations around the world
        In-Reply-To: <CAADQCqagmroPSJ7K=x1p7WAkzWfdehWa1_AfpXtF-hx+jLRheA at mail.gmail.com>

Dear Domenico,

We're in perfect agreement that a federation is the long term goal here.
That's what I meant by "union." The devil will be in the (financial and
logistic) details!

Yes on south-south as a thing of beauty. I'm seeing some of that already
from my computer in NYC. Since I live in the north, though, I cannot
formally suggest what my friends in the south should or should not do at
the international level. I know that many of them benefit from and value
south-north collabs, for example.

My hope though is that we can shape venues for all orgs to work together as
peers, and personally, to make myself useful when needed. I like Roopika
Risam's take on this, which is to foster venues of collaborations were
local/regional communities decide what counts as a valuable intervention
according to their own contexts, and we come together to share our work, to
find out which collaborations are possible and to learn from one another.
This would be the alternative to a unitary (read universal) system for
vetting our programs.

The million dollar question is whether ADHO can become the place where
these things can happen, and how! A Bandung for DH would be
counter-productive and more difficult to pull off, imho. Wouldn't be my
place to help such a group happen either! So for now, I must dedicate my
working years and energy to working with one foot firmly in ADHO, and the
south-north that implies.

[answering Paul next]

All best!

        Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2015 10:56:37 -0500
        From: Amir Simantov <wawina at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  29.120 DH organizations
        In-Reply-To: <20150626013143.C58F9DA7 at digitalhumanities.org>

Thanks for this map Alex - I have just spent 3 hours surfing new
organizations I did not know about - all "because of you"...

The Israeli DH organization Ruach Digitalit
be added - it will not take too much room in the map :)


        Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:30:14 -0400
        From: Alex Gil <colibri.alex at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  DH organizations around the world

Dear Paul,

I look forward to discussing this things over some coffee in Sydney next
week, but here are some public answers to your queries:

1. The map is "hand drawn" in neatline. No precision went into it. Fuzzy
seemed rhetorically better suited. (Also less work). I'd like to call it a
conversation napkin, in honor of it's birth on a night of collegial
conversation at dhsi 2015.

2. These is are key questions. Your 4 distinctions are right on! In the
etc, I would add their base of operations, the venues for their
conferences, the source of their papers and the *language* they privilege.
All of these can be represented by different maps or other ways. The truth
will always remain outside of all of them, but we can approximate the ideal
napkin map in the sky the more representations we have. In the case of my
map, I wanted to provincialize all these organizations a bit.

I like to think about these things as Walter Mignolo
 http://local%20histories/Global%20Designs , who speaks of "spatial
confrontations between different concepts of history." Slightly different
from his approach, my solution is to reconcile those confrontations within
myself, à la Gloria Anzaldúa
As a result, my logic is not "fair" and spread out across the board
according to one set of formal rules. On a one by one case, I drew borders
that were sometimes sending the message "limit your pretensions," in
others, "go forth and prosper!", all according to my "concepts of [our]
history," and where I would like to see us go. In other words, this is a
humble napkin I bring to our conversations (and I'm delighted by the
quality of the one we're having right now!). I hope you've noticed also
that I've been changing the map as people have been giving me suggestions
and letting me know how they see themselves in my cracked mirror. The about
page too.

3. Each of these you mention would continue to refine our conversations. I
would like to start with one for current location of employment or
affiliation. I volunteer to make a more precise series of layered heat
maps, like the one CenterNet has, if all the orgs send me their data.
Promise not to share the data with a single living soul unless given
permission to.

4.  Agreed! And these are precisely the issues I was hoping to get a sense
of from folks in the community. We may yet approach our realities by
listening to each other and translating each other as much as possible. In
other words, how would you draw a map of all of us? How would you map your
organization(s)? Who do you represent? How will we transform best in the
coming decade or two, leading (hopefully) to a more extensive federation,
as Domenico and I discussed?

As I suggested above, it would be nice to see more maps, napkin or not. We
started with Melissa Terras' map that focused on centers. Then I did this
one  http://www.arounddh.org/journey/  that focused on projects. Now this
one focusing on organizations. At the end of the day, for me the most
important thing has been the relationships and conversations that these
maps have helped me forge. This one included.

Looking forward to seeing you in Sydney!

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