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Posts from the ‘Digital Humanities’ Category

Teaching Dialogue(s): A Digital Engagement with Plato, Socrates and Chris Long

At HASTAC2015 at Michigan State in May, then-soon-to-be-new Dean of College of Arts and Letters at MSU, Chris Long, and I hatched a plan to have my students engage his book, Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy (Cambridge 2014).  Students would read the book online and engage the digital platform Cambridge set up to encourage a living relationship to the text. As a follow up and to enhance the dialogical engagement, Long agreed to videoconference into class.  This week, we did it.   Read more


I just spent three days at Humanities, Arts Sciences and Technology Alliance and Colaboratory (HASTAC) 2015 conference on the theme: “Art and Science of Digital Humanities.”  I did some livetweeting, which I’ve been doing regularly at conferences but mostly I took notes directly to this post which I then edited to summarize my observations on recurring and important themes from the conference.


  • This might say more about the kinds of conferences I attend, but this is the most diverse conference community I’ve ever seen.
  • Perhaps not surprisingly for a digital humanities project, it’s also the youngest conference crowd I’ve ever seen. There are many more people in literature and languages using digital humanities in their pedagogy and research than any other field.
  • I participated in recurring discussions of importance and difficulty of interdisciplinarity.  Why do we hyperspecialize?  Why do we entrench?  Funding structures and disputes over resources seem to drive divisions that don’t necessarily serve our ends in digital humanities.
  • A woman whose native tongue was not English kept referring to digital humanity in a panel on using digital resources in medieval studies, which got me thinking is our humanity digital?
  • I had several discussions about ambiguity.  Ambiguity is at the heart of humanities.  Does technology excise the ambiguity in a way that is problematic or can it give students more opportunities to struggle with readings and making their own case for how to read or understand a text?

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Last weekend, the annual meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, the umbrella organization for continental philosophy in North America was held in New Orleans.  New Orleans is a fantastic city.  I had never visited before, so I had an impression that was kitschy.  But I left thinking it was beautiful.  I stayed in the Garden District.  My first morning there I took the streetcar to the conference hotel and the driver of the streetcar got out of the streetcar and went into a hotel and was gone for five minutes.  As a friend said, “Union break, don’t h8.”  The city was loud and colorful and much better than anything I had ever learned from The Pelican Brief about what the city would be like.

SPEP was all a-Twitter® and I storify it here.  In this post, I want to give a more sustained consideration to two panels I attended, two papers in particular: Sara Brill’s “Beyond Zôê and Bios: On the Concept of Shared Life in Aristotle’s Ethics” and Robin James’ remarks at the Advocacy Committee’s New Media, Social Networks and Philosophy panel.* Read more

Object Oriented Phiasco

The quickly burgeoning philosophy blogosphere has made it possible for philosophers to have more low-stakes discussions and debates not only about their work, but about the field.  In my view, this has largely been a good thing.  I live in small town in Indiana.  Up until about fifteen months ago, I lived in deep south Texas.  Sometimes the philosophy world feels far away.  I’m glad to be able to see what other people are thinking about and to engage, sometimes just as a voyeur, in these discussions and debates.  I’m also invested in digital humanities and the idea that we can lower the barriers that prevent non-academics from participating in these engagements. Read more

Curating for the Public Philosophy Journal

This week I was the guest curator-at-large for the Public Philosophy Journal.  The Public Philosophy Journal is a website and blog that aims to facilitate public philosophy in the many ways that term could be understood.  One way we understand public philosophy is that public issues and concerns can be served by philosophy’s input and analysis.  Part of that work is bringing content of note to the attention of both philosophers and public servants or others who are working on these issues. I understood such content to concern public issues that philosophy can and does address such as an article in The Globe and Mail about a new study that locates the causes of anorexia nervosa in the passions and suggests a passion-based cure.  The Greeks were themselves very interested in how the care of self was a matter of fostering the passions in the right way, so this convergence of old philosophical ideas and health seemed a good example of public philosophy.  This content also includes references to issues or events that have had influence on philosophy, like Alison Bechdel winning a MacArthur genius award for the Bechdel Test  she invented as a standard to expose how films rarely depict women as characters in themselves unrelated to the men their roles support.  Not only was that important in its own right as a provocative strategy for raising feminist concerns, but Bechdel also influenced the field of philosophy itself, prompting Helen de Cruz to suggest a Bechdel test for philosophy papers.  Another kind of notable content includes philosophers and theorists discussing public issues, such as Avi Alpert’s interview with Gabe Rockhill and Nato Thompson about art and politics and Lisa Guenther on television discussing protests against prisons and the death penalty in Tennessee.  Finally, there is the discussion of public issues within the field of philosophy, issues like being differently-abled in the field or the persistence of rape culture in philosophy departments.  Sometimes public philosophy can even be philosophers taking their work to more public arenas or philosophers being discussed in those arenas, as when Gregory Fried wrote about Heidegger’s Black Notebooks in the LA Times.  I wasn’t focusing on any one of these in particular, but all of them together. Read more

Metablogging: Blogging about Academic Blogging

Why I started blogging and how its been more of a benefit that I expected.

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