Funding the Digital Humanities

Wednesday, April 8, 2:00-3:15 pm
Williams Building 013 (English Common Room, Basement Level)

“Because democracy demands wisdom”: Funding the Digital Humanities

Among its many functions, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) sponsors 38 award types as part of its prestigious annual grants program, at least 6 of which explicitly accommodate work in the digital humanities, and many of those intended to develop digital projects from prototype to proof-of-concept. Now in its 50th year of funding proposals that promote excellence in the humanities, the NEH continues to offer new programs at the convergence of curating, constructing, and critiquing — three activities or postures that the digital humanities value. (See, for example, the new Humanities Open Book Program, which utilizes low-cost “ebook” technology to digitize and make available scholarly works that are not currently in the public domain.)

For our final Digital Scholars meeting of the year, we will be joined via videoconference by Mr. Brett Bobley, Chief Information Officer of the NEH and Director of the Office of Digital Humanities. Mr. Bobley will discuss the importance of his office to the NEH’s public mission, share some of the unique projects the ODH has funded at various intersections of history and technology, and give us an opportunity to ask questions about the benefits of claiming digital disciplinarity and the challenges of identifying projects at the broad intersection of “digital” and other fields.

We may also consider differences between large-scale big-data projects and small-scale boutique projects, all of which help further the NEH’s mission to address important cultural changes underlying the work that humanities scholars do on their own, and in collaboration with scientists, librarians, museum staff, and members of the public. Finally, we may consider various paradigms that drive NEH funding or public-stream grant programs in general — including those ideas that move funding from object-oriented preservation toward open-access initiatives.

Participants are invited to read the following:

And to review:

  • Stephen Ramsey and Geoffrey Rockwell, “Developing Things: Notes toward an Epistemology of Building in the Digital Humanities,” Debates in the Digital Humanities, ed. Matthew K. Gold (online version: http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/11).

We hope you can join us,

-TSG

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