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Session Overview
#SC2: DH at SLACs Roundtable
Wednesday, 24/Jul/2019:
3:30pm - 4:30pm

Session Chair: Jonathan David Fitzgerald
Location: Salons 4 & 5, Grand Ballroom, Marriott City Center

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The Obstacles & Opportunities of Doing DH at Small Liberal Arts Colleges

Jonathan D. Fitzgerald1, Deborah Breen1, Mackenzie Brooks2, Maria Sachiko Cecire3, Nabil Kashyap4, Rachel N. Schnepper5, Anelise Hanson Shrout6

1Regis College, United States of America; 2Washington and Lee University; 3Bard College; 4Swarthmore College; 5Wesleyan University; 6Bates College

Historically, large research universities have played host to the most visible work in the Digital Humanities, yet small liberal arts colleges have in recent years seen an increase in both interest and participation in the field. It has been six years since Bryan Alexander and Rebecca Frost Davis raised the question “Should Liberal Arts Campuses Do Digital Humanities?” in the 2012 edition of Debates in the Digital Humanities, and this year--at the inaugural Association for Computers and the Humanities conference--is a good time to revisit that question and to affirm Alexander and Davis’ argument in favor of such engagement. The obstacles that they identify remain, but so too do opportunities to further integrate digital methods into undergraduate pedagogy and research. The “products” created by digital humanists at small liberal arts colleges may not be as high profile as those of larger institutions, but the dynamic processes that result from the expertise and interests of faculty and staff, as well as collaboration with students, facilitate an educational impact that hews closely to the heart of liberal arts education.

This proposed roundtable invites faculty and staff members from small liberal arts colleges to come together to discuss the work that is taking place on their campuses, as well as to share suggestions and strategies for doing digital humanities beyond the research university. We propose a 1-hour roundtable session featuring two facilitators and five presenters who will each offer opening remarks of approximately 5 minutes each, followed by an open discussion among speakers and the audience. Among the topics that will be discussed by the presenters are: undergraduate-focused research, teaching, and curriculum design, including the development of courses and minors across different disciplines and located in different parts of the institution; collaboration, including beyond the classroom and institution to explore ways of refracting engaged scholarship; and infrastructure and staffing, including the varied roles of faculty and staff and how their labor interacts with both resourcing and intellectual issues within an institution’s particular culture. We envision an audience made up mainly of faculty, staff, and students from liberal arts colleges as well as job seekers interested in working at small liberal arts colleges.

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