#WkshpPM2: Emotional Labor and Digital Humanities Workshop
Emotional Labor and Digital Humanities
Dartmouth College, United States of America
Emotional labor has become a recent topic of interest in digital humanities, as well as in other disciplines that address issues of labor, productivity, change, workplace relationships, and organizational psychology. Recent scholarship by Paige Morgan and others has argues that emotional labor is indeed central to DH. Digital humanities practice often involves new skills, unfamiliar technologies, re-thinking disciplinary assumptions or scholarly practices, and collaborative labor across disciplines, ranks, and positions of authority. It can generate anxiety, resistance, disorientation, and, for some, feelings of frustration, incompetence, resentment, or helplessness.
Librarians, technologists, graduate assistants, and contingent staff often serve as mediators or guides for students, faculty, staff, or other researchers as they discover new forms of scholarship or technologies. The emotional labor involved in making such transitions is often overlooked, both as a particular kind of skilled labor and as an instrumental element in the success of digital projects. Such specialized labor, while sometimes recognized in other professional contexts as a type of teaching, advising, mentorship, or counseling, is often taken for granted or disavowed by practitioners of DH. This may be because it isn’t a type of labor for which most scholarly professionals are specifically trained, or because there is a perception that such labor “isn’t my job.” The result may be missed opportunities to develop collaborations that are more productive, equitable, and meaningful. Alternatively, as Morgan has argued, “if emotional labor is ongoing, and acknowledged as work that deals with risk-focused, administrative, and scholarly decisions, then it can contribute to reframing the relationship between scholars and librarians as one of more equal partnership, rather than mere service provision.”
The goals of the workshop include:
This workshop will also explore issues of race, gender, religion, and socioeconomic diversity as they apply to emotional labor in scholarly communities. Attendees at the workshop will be encouraged to provide some of their own contexts as well that may allow us to address specific questions of diversity in DH. By giving participants a space to share case studies and exchange information on projects in their own areas of study, we will work toward developing a professional network that will place emotional labor at the center of its conversations about DH.
Maximum participants: 20