[-empyre-] Engineering the University : Week 03 : Bettivia and Flanders

Bettivia, Rhiannon Stephanie rbettivi at illinois.edu
Tue Mar 17 14:53:21 AEDT 2015

First, I will start with thanks all around.
 Thank you, Kevin, for the most generous introduction and thank you,
Julia, for offering up your thoughts and time for this endeavor.

I want to begin by asking Julia a question
regarding the digital humanities.  Despite having worked along side, and
sometimes in it, I am never quite sure what Œdigital humanities¹ means,
and I
often employ a quote from Julia¹s paper with collaborator Trevor Muñoz to
how I feel about this term.  In their paper, An Introduction to Humanities
Data Curation, they say:

"The term and the idea of
"curation" is experiencing a moment of cultural cachet that simultaneously
threatens to empty it of meaning.²

Substituting the term digital humanities for
curation seems apt to me‹ this term is so often and broadly used that it
is hard to find meaning in it.  It is offered as both the death knell of
traditional humanities as well as it¹s inevitable savior.  For some, it is
seen as the process of making humanities disciplines into something more
to hard science‹ and this is meant as a positive appraisal.
 For others, this shift is part and parcel of changes and responses
to the crisis that higher education is currently facing, regardless of
whether said crisis is manufactured or caused by something a little
more difficult to pin down.  In a recent panel discussion at Columbia
University, as part of the Research without Borders lecture series, a
of faculty and journalists spoke of removing humanists from the silo and
encouraging/forcing collaborative enterprises in the humanities, citing
change as necessary and desirable.  I have often seen this label used in
ways that I would describe as wholly pragmatic: in searching out DH
projects, the goal of some lab and maker space endeavors seemed to be
more than purposeful harnessing of the current cachet of the term to fund
humanities doctoral students to engage in research that, if not entirely
productive for desired academic careers, funded them to do their work.
 It is perhaps a sign of the times that I find such programs entirely

Julia, in your piece for the Literary Anthology
in the Digital Age, you speak as both caution and champion of the digital
humanities, and situate this field of study within the current changes
place in higher education.  This article in particular made me think of
your work in the context of the empyre listserv and the Engineering the
University project being undertaken by the Seeing Systems Cohort at the
University of Illinois.  My first question to you is to ask for your
opinions on tying these threads together.  What role do you see the
digital humanities playing in the evolution of labor prospects for
who are trained in university settings?  How does this role look different
those those inside, including those with alternative academic positions
(I.e. Not professors) and those outside academia altogether?

Rhiannon Bettivia
Doctoral Candidate
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

On 3/16/15, 4:46 PM, "Hamilton, Kevin" <kham at illinois.edu> wrote:

>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>March on empyre : Engineering the University
>The #Alt-Academy: Technology and new Research Labor
>Rhiannon Bettivia 
>Doctoral candidate (ABD)
>Graduate School for Library and Information Science
>University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
>Julia Flanders
>Professor of the Practice, Department of English
>Director, Digital Scholarship Group
>Director, Women Writers Project
>Northeastern University
>Today we're starting our third of four weeks of conversations about the
>changing shape of academic labor in research settings. Each week, one of
>the grad students in our Seeing Systems
>(http://seeingsystems.illinois.edu/) cohort here at Illinois will lead a
>conversation with a scholar whose work and path lends some possible
>examples, models or theories to reflective engagement or critique of
>existing academic structures.
>This week we'll be led by Rhiannon Bettivia, a scholar whose work also
>relates closely to many on empyre, in that she has spent a great deal of
>time on the question of archiving and preserving digital art. Through her
>past work while in the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program at
>at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Rhiannon worked on
>digital preservation and archive projects for the Museum of Modern Art
>(MoMA), the Federal Reserve Bank, NYU Libraries and the Internet Archive,
>the Hemispheric Institute, and artist Alan Berliner. Her current research
>focuses on preservation with a focus on film, games, and time based media
>art. Among our cohort here at Illinois Rhiannon is the most qualified to
>talk in specific detail about the intersection of social and the
>technical, especially as they interact in the development and enactment of
>artifacts such as reference models for information storage. She studies
>the use, creation, and critique of such artifacts, with a special emphasis
>on gender, race and ethnicity.
>Rhiannon invited to the discussion Julia Flanders, who shares with
>Rhiannon an intellectual and professional path that moves in and out of
>traditional academic settings, through archives, libraries, scholarship
>and practice-based work. Julia has maintained a crucial role in Digital
>Humanities discussions, debates and research, through contributing
>simultaneously to the vanguards of practice, in her leadership in the Text
>Encoding Initiative, and in critical application and examination of that
>practice. Through her work on the Women Writers Project Julia helped
>demonstrate early on the potentials of new digital scholarly techniques to
>address previously marginalized bodies and bodies of work. Her
>publications, speaking and workshops continue to bring a needed focus to
>questions of labor that emerge from these new techniques, and fold very
>nicely into matters introduced by Mimi and Chad in the past weeks. Julia
>is currently editor in chief of Digital Humanities Quarterly, and her work
>is included among many other places in the very useful Debates in the
>Digital Humanities anthology published last year by University of
>Minnesota Press.
>I want to welcome Julia and Rhiannon to empyre, and again to encourage
>others to jump in over the week. THANK YOU ALL!
>Rhiannon, you've known Julia's work for some time, though some of our
>cohort just learned of her work and the whole notion of the alt-ac. What
>aspects of Julia's research and practice are most present for you right
>now in the context of this discussion, and what would you like to ask
>Julia in the context of our month's topic?
>-- Kevin Hamilton
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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