NEH Vectors: Broadening the Digital Humanities
NEH Vectors: Broadening the Digital Humanities
NEH Vectors: Broadening the Digital Humanities

NEH Vectors: Broadening the Digital Humanities

Fellowship (2010)

Vectors, NEH ODH, IML and UCHRI

In July and August 2010, I was a fellow in the “Broadening the Digital Humanities” Institute at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy (IML). The event, commonly referred to as “NEH Vectors,” was supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities (NEH ODH), the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), and the journal Vectors.

During the institute, I was involved in a number of conversations about the intersections between American Studies, media studies, and the digital humanities, and I also participated in a series of workshops on topics such as digital video, Scratch programming, circuit bending, and synthesizer building (image left). Throughout the institute, I worked with Steve Anderson, Craig Dietrich, Erik Loyer, and Tara McPherson toward the development of a multimodal dissertation.

What I Learned

I entered NEH Vectors wondering how my text-based dissertation might translate from a word processor into a web-based multimedia project, with images, video, and audio enhancing my argument. In August, I left USC with a proof of concept (screen shots left) for How Text Lost Its Source, which I am still developing and hope to ultimately publish (in part or in whole) as a hybrid project (i.e., part print, part digital) with a university press.

From the conversations and workshops in which I participated, I learned more about the importance of hands-on media and technical practice in the articulation of arguments. For instance, I was particularly influenced by the circuit bending and synthesizer building workshops, as they gave me concrete examples of how to imagine digital scholarship outside the framework of the screen. I also learned more about how web-based platforms and interactive media demand re-imagining the very forms and functions of research, scholarship, and peer review in the humanities.