Forum aims to bring more diversity to digital humanities

Forum aims to bring more diversity to digital humanities

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Craig Chandler | University Communication
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities is hosting a forum to advance digital ethnic studies.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities is hosting a forum to advance digital ethnic studies and bring more diverse voices and stories to digital life.

“New Storytellers: Digital Ethnic Studies” is Oct. 25-26 and will welcome emerging and innovative digital humanities scholars from minority-serving institutions. Ten colleges and universities were asked to select two participants to attend the forum.

The forum promotes thinking about and working toward answering two questions — what is needed to advance digital ethnic studies, and what stories in this field are suited for the digital medium?

Members of the organizing committee said participants will come away empowered and part of a larger scholarly community that will form future collaborations.

“We’re bringing scholars together who are representatives of minority-serving institutes and who are deeply interested in digital humanities and are engaged in ethnic studies,” said Jeannette Jones, associate professor of history and ethnic studies. “To our knowledge, we have not seen anything that covers ethnic studies broadly like this.”

The forum will kick off at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in the auditorium of the Sheldon Museum of Art, with a panel discussion by three leading scholars in digital ethnic studies: Roopika Risam, assistant professor of English and secondary English education at Salem State University, Salem, Massachusetts; Shearon Roberts, assistant professor of mass communication at Xavier University, New Orleans; and Alberto Rodriguez, assistant professor of history, Texas A&M at Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas.

The panel scholars will give short remarks about their own digital humanities research, and then will engage in a discussion about the current state and future of ethnic studies on digital platforms. This presentation is free and open to the public.

“Their projects and engagement in the field are substantial, so we are asking them to lead this discussion,” said William Thomas, John and Catherine Angle Professor in the Humanities and professor of history.

The following day, a series of workshops will be held for the invited participants. During the workshops, the participants will form teams to think through new projects and address how digital tools could be best used to tell these stories and engage their audiences. After working in teams to address these topics and questions, there will be presentation rounds for critiques, reactions and questions.

The organizing committee is comprised of Jones, Thomas, Joy Castro, Willa Cather Professor of English and ethnic studies; Ken Price, Hillegass University Professor of American Literature and co-director of CDRH; and Katherine Walter, professor and chair of Digital Initiatives and Special Collections and co-director of CDRH. The forum is being funded by the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the CDRH. The committee hopes the forum is a springboard to hosting a larger event for more scholars in the future.