#SD3: EcoCritical Digital Humanities Panel
EcoCritical Digital Humanities, Or How to Save the Planet
1Duke University, United States of America; 2Duke University, United States of America; 3University of Maryland, College Park; 4Occidental College; 5UC Boulder
We in digital humanities and media studies like to use environmental metaphors. We talk of “media ecologies,” “atmospheric media,” and “cloud computing” without ever actually rooting their referents in their fleshy (and dirty) materials. Maxwell, Raundalen, and Vestberg have suggested that such metaphors of the environment obscure the relationship of digital media to the material world, enabling utopian discussions about virtual environments at the precise moment in which the real environment is in crisis. The emerging field of Ecocritical DH (EcoDH) seeks to maintain a focus on the material world within the digital humanities. Located at the nexus of environmental humanities and digital humanities, EcoDH mobilizes a range of tools and critical constructs, using digital methods to investigate environmental issues and ecocritical frameworks to re-materialize digital issues. EcoDH thus offers new horizons for digital work while challenging digital humanities to investigate its own practices and metaphors.
Our panel features scholars and practitioners from various institutions and backgrounds discussing the existing place of, and future possibilities for, EcoDH. Speaker 1 will present on immersive experiences of infrastructure and how these can both reveal and obscure the materiality of the digital. Speaker 2 dirties the digital humanities through metabolic thinking and outlines the urgency of cross-disciplinary EcoDH as a model for enacting deeper engagements with our digital-environmental entanglements. Speaker 3 will discuss his work combining permaculture with network culture by creating software that drives non-hierarchical systems such as Scalar and ThoughtMesh. Speaker 4 will explore the political ecology of maintenance as it relates to digital objects, digital infrastructures, and life-cycles of computational hardware. libi will address media archaeological and techno-revitalization practices in relation to obsolescence and convenience culture.
To demonstrate EcoDH at its best, our presentation will be a hybrid intervention that puts into practice our theoretical intentions.