DH @ USM-Portland

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

Jockers image 2In 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.

Courtesy of WCSH6/207, Portland, Maine

Professors Cheryl Ball and Anita Charles

Cheryl BallIn 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.

Prof. CharlesOn 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)

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Post feature photo by Jessica Newendyke on Unsplash

Whither the Digital Humanities?

Two Lights, ME

“The Digital Humanities (DH) can be viewed in two ways: as emerging and as emergent.

  • Emerging: Over the last two decades, as it grew from humanities computing into digital humanities, it spawned a range of analytics, journals, conferences, institutes, books, anthologies, courses, programs, and projects that carry its imprimatur with a degree of confidence signifying growth.
  • Emergent: Responding to new and rapid changes in technology; generating flexible, for-the-moment modes to appropriate the digital to study technological complexity in humanistic contexts; infusing new practices, forms, and tools of communication, learning, entertainment, and pleasure into social lives; negotiating the global flow of economic power and culture through digital systems and networks.

The tension between them is a central force animating DH today.”

Excerpted from John Muthyala’s “Whither the Digital Humanities?”

From Hybrid Pedagogy,Whither the Digital Humanities?” Image:  “Waiting,” Two Lights Park, Maine. John Muthyala, (Creative Commons, CC BY-NC 2.0)


USM DH in the news

Professor Jan Piribeck’s digital humanities work on climate change is showcased in Portland Monthly (Stir It Up: Social activism thrives in Maine’s fine art world).

The Forecaster features History Professor Eileen Eagan’s mobile application (Department of History) Portland Women’s History Gets Its Own App.

The Portland Press Herald profiles Professor Lisa Walker’s (Department of English) digital humanities project, Digiziting Maine Chance Farm.

Economics Professor Michael’s Hillard’s project Stories of Maine’s Paper Plantation  highlighted in The Story of the Strike at Fraser Paper (Maine Public) (audio)

 The Free Press writes on English Professor John Muthyala’s public lecture . “USM Professor gives talk on drones.”