An eventful few months

Bains des Paquis
The view from my back at Geneva's Bains des Paquis

In the words of Jim Anchower, it’s been a long time since I’ve rapped at ya. I’ve had a busy few months, and while I’ve mentally composed a bunch of blog posts, I haven’t actually managed to get them on the page.

Some of what I’ve been up to:

Back in March, I presented on surgical films at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in New Orleans. (You can see my presentation here.) The conference was frenetic; it was stressful to run into old friends and colleagues and not feel I really had time to catch up. Still, I saw some good talks and met some people. My favorite panel was Shannon Mattern’s, on how we might use media studies to think about mapping.

Also in March, we at DiSC received word that our grant proposal to the Mellon Foundation was successful. Hooray! This means, basically, that we have our marching orders. We’ve been kicking into high gear, trying to get everything ready to open our doors in the fall.

In late May and early June I took a big trip. I’d been invited to contribute an article to a symposium on public health films at the beautiful Fondation Brocher in Geneva. I decided to use the symposium as an excuse for my first trip to Europe. (What can I say, there’s a reason I’m an Americanist.) I traveled around Switzerland and Italy for a couple weeks and loved it.

Trastavere, Rome

Before I returned to Atlanta, I made a stop in Fairfax, Virginia, for THATCamp CHNM. As I’d expected, I had a great time. While professional hackers might prefer the yacking sessions, I, a professional yacker, preferred the hacking sessions. My favorites included hacking some JavaScript with Patrick Murray-John and building a WordPress theme from scratch with Jeremy Boggs. I also got a ton out of a session on project management with Tom Scheinfeldt.

Later in June, I traveled with a contingent of Emory-ites (Emorians?) to Stanford, site of the Digital Humanities 2011 conference. It was my first time at DH, and it was both exhausting and terrific. One nice thing about it was meeting people from all over the country (and some people from Other Lands). Some of my favorite talks were by Joshua Sternfeld, on standards for peer-reviewing digital scholarship, and Johanna Drucker and Matt Kirschenbaum on the material culture of DH. I also really enjoyed a panel on alt-ac concerns.

Work has been pretty exciting lately, as Stewart, Brian, and I work to get things ramped up for the fall. Construction on DiSC’s new space will, we’re told, begin next week, and we’re hoping to roll out an increased Web presence this summer as well. We’re also collecting and shaping proposals for DiSC’s first set of projects.

New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana, March 2011

Some upcoming things I’m excited about:

I’ll be at the Scholarly Communication Institute at the University of Virginia this month,

where I’ll pretend I’m not totally outclassed by the important people there.

Stewart and I have been working with some people at the Atlanta University Center to talk about ways Emory’s DH efforts might align with those of Atlanta’s historically black colleges and universities.

We’ve also been talking to people at other institutions who are also starting up DH centers, thinking about ways we might combine our efforts. We’re tossing around ideas about a workshop or a paper.

I’m revising the essay I wrote for the conference in Geneva, for publication in a collection on public health films. It’s on The End of the Road, a hygiene film from 1919 that is, unusually, addressed toward women.

Peach cobbler contest, Atlanta, Georgia, July 2011
Peach cobbler contest, Atlanta, Georgia, July 2011

I’ve proposed an essay for the collection Writing History in the Digital Age. This is my first time submitting a work to open peer-review, and I’m excited! The essay I’ve proposed is on interface design as a historiographical problem. You should go comment on it! (It’s number 55.) I’m really looking forward to writing this, since it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

And, of course, life in general keeps rolling on! It’s intensely hot here in Atlanta and my little family has been spending a lot of time holed up in the air conditioning. We’re having fun, though, venturing out to explore the city, and I’m very happy to be starting my second year here.

One Reply to “An eventful few months”

  1. I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t lead with a Smoove quote, but that’s okay.

    One thought:
    I deal with historiography in my own work, albeit in the space of a museum. More specifically, the differences between historiography that employs the historian as the voice of authority (what David William Cohen calls “history for the guild”) versus a collaborative (in my specific museum, a community) approach to the display and interpretation of history.

    Public history can exist in both these forms–both with and without the historian as the authority. I wonder how (and if) the concepts of authority, power, and public history might intersect with your proposal?

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