Future Theory, Present Praxis: Humanities as Digital Discipline

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University of Guelph Graduate Conference
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Future Theory, Present Praxis: Humanities as Digital Discipline

In the summer of 2010 the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada put out a call for knowledge synthesis projects on the digital economy. This funding opportunity not only identified the digital economy as a major player in Canada's economic and cultural future, but also demanded that researchers in the humanities and social sciences step forward to play a role in articulating the parameters and concerns of that future. As an institutional acknowledgement of the increasingly fundamental interrelations between the humanities and the digital sphere, SSHRC's initiation of the knowledge synthesis projects is a key but not unique instance of the increasing institutionalization of the digital humanities in Canada. Annual events like the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria and degree-granting programs such as the Humanities Computing program at the University of Alberta point the way toward an increasingly digitized future for the humanities.

Against this climate of institutionalized inevitability, however, is contrasted the many difficulties and points of resistance that characterize the response of students and scholars of the humanities to their digitization of our disciplines. The digital humanities presents both an opportunity and a potential quagmire of pedagogical, methodological, and political concerns. What does the "death of the book" mean to a new generation of students? How have our objects of study changed, and can our research keep up with them? Does a turn to the digital risk a simultaneous turn away from the political?

This interdisciplinary conference seeks papers that respond to or explore the digital turn in the humanities from the perspective of emerging scholars. How does your own work engage with or resist the digital turn? What institutional opportunities or obstacles have you encountered as an emerging scholar? Has the digital turn changed what it means to be a humanities scholar?

Other topics might include:

- Pedagogy and digital resources in the classroom.
- The politics and funding of virtual departments.
- Issues of accessibility and exclusion with new
- Indisciplinarity in the virtual office.
- The future of the librarian and library.
- Materiality and textuality.
- High versus Low culture.
- Video games, blogs, and other "new" objects of study.

We welcome topics from all areas of the humanities reflecting on any aspect of the digital humanities. Please send 350 word abstracts accompanied by a brief (100-150 word) biographical note to future@uoguelph.ca by August 31.