THATCamp DHSoCal 2014


What is DH? More often a buzzword, the term “Digital Humanities” conjures up misconceptions of humanists attempting to insert their misconceived slow discipline into the fast paced world of technology. However, this is far from the case. Is DH about humanities scholars using and creating technologies for research? Yes. For teaching and student work? Yes. For critical reflection, intervention, and outreach? Yes.Humanities disciplines are intersecting with computing but doing so in non-trivial ways. To me, the non-trivial matters and what THATCamp, The Humanities and Technology Camp, helped emphasize. On Saturday, October 26, 2014, I had the opportunity to attend DHSoCal, a two-day long un-conference hosted by San Diego State University. The open, unformatted event brings together experienced DH scholars, novice learners, and curious minds to share tools, techniques, and experiences, to converse on the possibilities and setbacks of DH in research and teaching, and to build connections in the region for future collaboration. I left with a base understanding of Scalar, an exciting open source authoring platform that’s pushing the possibilities of online publishing, and a toolbox (or bookmark folder) of digital teaching tools gleaned from a show and tell session of scholars who have already tried and tested them in the classroom. What I found across the board from the experiences shared was that bringing the digital into the humanities classroom should not be a trivial pursuit to update your syllabus or lecture – as perhaps Powerpoint was forthe overhead projector in the past. It is also not about turning the traditional paper assignment into a digital assignment. Instead, digital technologies offer another mode for students to creatively engage with course material and connect with peers, and by virtue of those activities, it can open up new avenues of interpretation and analysis where even the digital medium itself becomes amenable to critique. For someone whose research area revolves around media, technology, and society, THATCamp helped open my eyes to the tenable possibilities of DH in the classroom and beyond, and I look forward to the next meet up where hopefully I can share an experience of my own.

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