Digital Humanities Back When Pluto Was a Planet (Berlin transmediale, 29 Jan - 3 Feb 2013)

full name / name of organization: 
Chris Leslie
contact email: 

I am seeking theoretical, scholarly, contemplative papers as well as purposeful moments of silence on the theme of Digital Humanities Back When Pluto Was a Planet for a proposed panel discussion at the 2013 transmediale festival in Berlin.

The theme of this year's transmediale is "Back When Pluto Was a Planet," calling to mind how definitions represent larger frameworks of understanding. The downgrading of Pluto's position in the solar system reflects how what seems to be a stable network can be quickly recontextualized.

Keeping the festival theme in mind, I am looking for papers that analyze, propose, or challenge the ways in which digital media may dematerialize (or remateriailze), decontextualize (or recontextualize) the assortment of fields known as the humanities: certainly art, music, literature, and history, but also philosophy, theater, and religion. If accepted, the panel will be part of the transmediale festival held in Berlin, Germany from 29 January to 3 February 2013.

The field of the digital humanities has often been conceived as a way for academics to bring digital media to bear on the disciplines and university departments, but the transmediale offers an opportunity to open a broader dialogue among academics, working artists, and critics. The festival gathers together installations, screenings, workshops, performances, and discussions that will serve as a fruitful realm for investigation of this theme during the festival; more information is available at

As can be seen in the transmediale "call for works" page, the organizers are looking for contributions that enhance our understanding of displacement or encourage the process of invention. Translating this call to the theme of the digital humanities could take different directions. Have digital forms of production and financing offered the humanities new or better opportunities for engaging an audience? In what way will artists who embrace new media necessitate a change in how the humanities are studied? Will the humanities lose their status as a planet, or will the solar system be redefined to include a different group of orbiting objects? What is at stake in the new definition; does the new definition reflect a new paradigm? Perhaps the following list of provocations will demonstrate some problems and possibilities:

The humanities in the age of their digital reproducibility
Cybertypes of the humanities
Digital humanities nightmares, nightmares of the digital
   in the humanities
The ARAMISes of digital humanities: Mundaneum,
    Memex, (Xanadu?)
Hacking the human(ities) scholar(ship)
SCOT perspectives on the (digital) humanities
Humanities in place, humanities that transcend space
Steampunk, dieselpunk, ribofunk humanities
Humanities, big science, and/or big data, .net, .art, .gov, .mil, .xxx
Code(s) of the humanities
The humanities' digital technologies of gender
Digital humanities divide
Networked humanities vs. social humanities
Politics of dematerialization or decontextualization
Digital humanities outside of (or instead of) the academy
Technical histories of the digital humanities
Digital humanities 2.0, 3.0, 0.1, '95, '68
Humanities of the digitally rejected, digitization of rejected
    humanities, rejections of the digital humanities
Exploitative labor for the digital humanities

After gathering and selecting abstracts for a panel, I'll send the proposal to the transmediale curatorial team, which will make the final determination of whether to include us on the program. We should know by mid-September whether the panel was selected. In early January, panelists will circulate draft papers of between 3000-5000 words to each other and other interested parties to support an informed dialogue among participants. At the festival, panelists will make 20 minute presentations and then have the opportunity to respond to questions.

Please send abstracts of 500 words along with a one-paragraph biographical statement to Chris Leslie ( before July 12 to be considered for the panel proposal.