Call for participants: SCMS workshop on digital humanities and film/media studies

Among those who care about such things, it’s become clear that there’s a bit of a divide between film and media studies, often thought to be primarily theoretical or historical, and digital humanities, which often emphasizes the importance of hacking or making. Is such a divide irresolvable? Let’s find out! Jason Mittell and I have put together this call for participants for a workshop at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies‘ 2013 conference in Chicago. Please do apply, and email me if you have any questions!

Digital humanities is not a new field, but in recent years it has received unprecedented attention. Defined as the application of computational methods to humanities questions, digital humanities can take many forms, from digital exhibits to textual analysis to experiments with scholarly communication. As yet, however, little formal relationship exists between the fields of digital humanities and film and media studies; indeed, SCMS has not yet hosted a panel on digital humanities. In fact, however, the two would seem to have a great deal in common: an interest in image and narrative form, an engagement with both emergent and historical media of all kinds, and a concern with changes in scholarly communication.

This workshop will offer an opportunity for film and media scholars to engage with the field of digital humanities. We propose a series of brief research project demonstrations, with a focus on how the projects were accomplished and what scholarly insights they produced. In the bulk of time, reserved for discussion, we hope to raise a series of questions about the conjunction of the two fields.

  • Where do the two fields converge, and what are their differences?
  • Is a digital humanist ipso facto a media scholar, or do the two fields present different criteria for entry?
  • Media scholars are particularly adept at analyzing cultural representations, such as of race and gender. Might media scholars bring some of these strengths to digital humanities?
  • Many media scholars are interested in issues of reception and audience studies. How might such subfields engage with digital humanities?
  • What might media studies offer to digital humanities, and vice versa?
  • Conversely, do the two fields possess epistemological or methodological contradictions?
  • How might the growing interest in digital humanities alter the field of film and media studies?

Call for workshop participants:

We are interested in digital humanities approaches to research on film and media studies, broadly defined. Projects could include, but are not limited to:

  • computational approaches to film or media analysis
  • digital methods of analyzing film or media history (e.g., text mining, topic modeling, network analysis)
  • experiments with scholarly form and presentational/publication models
  • digital tools for annotating or analyzing media

Participants should be prepared to give a brief project demonstration as well as participate in a wide-ranging conversation.

Please email a 250–300-word abstract, or any questions, by August 1 to

3 Replies to “Call for participants: SCMS workshop on digital humanities and film/media studies”

  1. An excellent idea and overdue.. You’ve probably seen the inaugural issue of Frame as well which speaks to much the same set of issues.

  2. I did see it, Arno — thank you! I was really impressed. I’ve been thinking that I need to find a way to reach out to the contributors!

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