USM Digital Humanities (USMDH) is an interdisciplinary initiative that extends the range and scope of scholarship, research, and creative activity at USM through innovative uses of digital technologies, extramural partnerships, and community engagement.
USMDH aims to realize USM’s metropolitan mission by linking humanities research and creativity with the work of technology companies, non-profit organizations, and small and big businesses. It seeks to provide opportunities for students and faculty to integrate academic study with work experiences, while developing mutually beneficial extramural partnerships.
Over the last few years, USM DH students, staff, and faculty invited nationally renowned digital humanities practitioners:
Professor Matthew Jockers
In spring 2014, Professor Matthew Jockers, University of Nebraska, visited us as a USM Libra Professor, a prestigious recognition confirmed by the University of Maine System that acknowledges excellence of scholarship. The Libra Professorship was established in 1989 by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, in partnership with philanthropist Elizabeth Noyce and the Libra Foundation. The professorship enables the university to invite nationally and internationally recognized scholars who engage with faculty and students and exemplify excellence in their respective discipline. Professor Jockers gave a public lecture, visited a class, and met for a special session with students, staff, and faculty.
Titled “50,000 Books But Only Six Stories: A Macroanalysis of Plot,” Jockers’ lecture focused on on “macroanalysis,” the unique, cutting-edge methodology he developed to examine literary texts and data with digital technology for patterns and trends not readily apparent through conventional analysis. During his visit, we introduced him to the Portland NBC News affiliate, whose Channel 6 featured him and his work on WCSH/207 featuring the Digital Humanities and Matthew Jockers.
Professors Cheryl Ball and Anita Charles
In fall 2017, Professor Cheryl Ball, University of West Virginia, visited USM. Professor Ball’s talk “Writing is Designing for Our Future” discussed the current research and pedagogical approaches of digital media composition in writing-intensive classrooms in higher education and addressed questions about why we are bothering in the first place.Digital communication is mainstream, with everyone–from babies to great-great-grandparents–consuming and producing digital media content for family, friends, businesses, organizations, and even schools. Understanding why digital media is taught in writing classes in higher education is important for student-scholars as well as teachers, administrators, and the public.
On September 29, Professors Ball and Anita Charles presented on “Multiliteracies and New Media Writing” with a focus on multiliteracies in elementary and secondary education, college composition, English curricula; role of digital technologies in reading and writing; incorporating new media in course assignments; and, humanities majors, careers, and the changing marketplace.
(Photos: Students interacting with Professor Ball. Professor Anita Charles emphasizing a point; to her right is Professor Cheryl Ball. Professors Jessica Ouellette, Anita Charles, Cheryl Ball, and John Muthyala)