November 20 (sun.) Panel 2: Invited Speakers

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Neil Fraistat / University of Maryland

Digital Humanities Centers and The New Humanities

      What is the function of the digital humanities center within a rapidly changing humanities landscape? Although they have a great capacity for focusing, maximizing, and networking local knowledge, local resources, and local communities of practice, digital humanities centers are also at risk of being silos, overly focused on their home institutions, rarely collaborating with other centers, and unable to address by themselves the larger problems of the field. They also siphon off grant funding from schools unable to afford a digital humanities center of their own and can make it harder for scholars at such places to participate in the larger projects that help to shape the possibilities and future of the field. Are digital humanities centers crucial to the future of the field, or deleterious to it? Or to point the question more finely: in what ways and under what circumstances might digital humanities centers be seen as more crucial to the field than deleterious? I’ll be discussing these issues especially in terms of the centerNet initiative, which seeks to create a truly global network of local digital humanities centers.