The “Digital Humanities”—Whazzat?
Unfortunately, there’s no one-sentence answer to this question yet. The term “Digital Humanities” describes a field still defining itself. For some guidance, however, you can refer to these articles that wrestle with that very question:
- What is Digital Humanities? at DH Answers, a forum co-sponsored by the The Association for Computers and the Humanities and the Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker
- “NITLE Launches Digital Humanities Initiative” announcement from the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE)
- “Why the Digital Humanities?” by Brett Bobley, Director, Office for Digital Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities
This one’s a little easier. THATCamps are “unconferences” that seek up upend (and hopefully thereby improve) the standard model for academic conferences. The first was sponsored a few years ago by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Since then, due to excitement among participants and generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the THATCamp model has spread around the country and around the world. THATCamp LAC will be the first THATCamp to focus on the Liberal Arts College community. For a full description of what a THATCamp looks like, and the philosophy that grounds the movement, visit thatcamp.org. The key principles that make a THATCamp are:
- There are no spectators at a THATCamp; everyone participates.
- It is small and intimate, having anywhere from 25 or 50 to no more than 100 participants. Most THATCamps aim for about 75 participants.
- It lasts no more than two days.
- It is not-for-profit and inexpensive; it’s funded by small sponsorships (e.g., for breakfast) and by passing the hat around to the participants. Attendance should be free, but attendees can donate to cover expenses if they want.
- It’s informal: there are no lengthy proposals, papers, or presentations. The emphasis is on discussion or on productive, collegial work.
- It is also non-hierarchical and non-disciplinary: THATCamps welcome graduate students, scholars, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, developers and programmers, administrators, managers, and funders; people from the non-profit sector, the for-profit sector, and interested amateurs.
- Participants make sure to share their notes, slides, and other materials from THATCamp discussions before and after the event on the web and via social media.
What Should I propose?
That’s up to you. Sessions at THATCamp will range from software demos to training sessions to discussions of research findings to half-baked rants (but please no full-blown papers; we’re not here to read or be read to.) You should come to THATCamp with something in mind, and on the first day find a time, a place, and people to share it with. Once you’re at THATCamp, you may also find people with similar topics and interests to team up with for a joint session.
How much will it cost?
THATCamp is free to all attendees, but a $25 donation towards snacks and coffee will be much appreciated by the organizers.