Category Archives: Session Proposals

Session proposal: building a team for dh/Religion projects

Newbie session: how does one go about building, managing, and coordinating your <strong>personal</strong> research, writing, and teaching work into a successful <strong>team</strong> project?

You have a great idea. You have a project that is timely, innovative, unusual, intellectual stimulating, and no one else is doing anything like it. You fully embrace models of scholarship and research in which print is not the sole medium or means by which knowledge is produced. You begin to think about making a shift in your academic work from single-scholar research and writing to a more collective collaborative model.
<a href="http://aar2013.thatcamp.org/files/2013/11/partner.jpg"><img class=" wp-image-300 alignleft" alt="partner" src="http://aar2013.thatcamp.org/files/2013/11/partner-300×225.jpg" width="210" height="158" /></a>

Since digital humanities projects demand knowledge sets and skills that are particularly well-suited for teams, one could expect a variety of individuals, including scholars, experts in various content areas, archivists, library professionals, researchers, tech adepts, designers, programmers and developers, and others to be involved at each stage of the project development.

How does one go about finding these collaborators?<a href="http://aar2013.thatcamp.org/files/2013/11/pig.jpg"><img class=" wp-image-304 alignright" alt="pig" src="http://aar2013.thatcamp.org/files/2013/11/pig-200×300.jpg" width="140" height="210" /></a>

I would like to propose a session for those of us who relatively new to THATCamp, who are thinking about dh/Religion projects, planning dh/Religion projects, applying for funding for dh/Religion projects, or who find themselves at any other stage and who want to find potential <del>co-conspirators</del> collaborators.

In this session, I would like to hear from others who have successfully developed dh/Religion projects with a group: how did your project team come together? What kinds of strategies did you employ in organizing the team and launching the project? What about identifying individuals? Once projects are initiated around a particular area of research or question, how does one go about getting others on board with the program? What planning and management challenges are specific to digital humanities collaborations? What things should one look out for?

Are there particular social media (twitter, blogs, groups)  that are most useful in organizing and pulling together interested parties?

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The Web of Religion, Religions, Religious

In “Religion, Religions, Religious,” J.Z. Smith asserted that “‘religion’ is not a native term; it is a term created by scholars for their intellectual purposes and therefore is theirs to define.” [This essay can be found here and here, and in pdf form here.] It is, in other often quoted words, “the creation of the scholar’s study.” While many scholars may rely on this to frame our research or teaching, our students and the general public are often introduced to “religion,” religions, and the religious through their own use of search engines. As Hugh Urban has recently pointed out, religions–like in this case Scientology–are being contested in the streets of cities and in cyberspace, seemingly separate from scholarly classifications.

For THATcamp AAR, I propose a session that considers how digital technologies, including but not limited to social media, can encourage critical approaches to religion. The organizing question is: rather than cataloging instances of religion, how can digital approaches to the humanities help Religious Studies scholars draw attention to or model critical inquiries of “religion,” religions, and the religious? In the spirit of THATcamp, I do not have answers to propose, but an interest in brainstorming with colleagues how we can incorporate sources, apps, and the like from the web into our research and teaching.

Talk Session: Multimodal Publication

What does the future of scholarly publishing in religious studies look like?  What are the respective advantages of publishing a “traditional” monograph versus an online reference work or multimodal project?  What kinds of internal and external pressures come into play when non-tenured scholars consider publishing multimodal projects?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of collaboratively authored projects?  How important is Open Access?  What useful services can traditional academic publishers still offer, and what would researchers prefer to do themselves?  What are the advantages of open peer review over traditional peer review?  What is the relationship between blogging, social media presence, and peer-reviewed publication?  Why are scholars of religion not a more active presence in the Digital Humanities generally?

This session proposes to discuss these and related questions as well as offer a whirlwind tour of some interesting work-in-progress at the juncture of religion and multimodal publication.

Is “Data” a Four-letter Word?

I’m not going to be able to make it to THATCamp but I’m not letting that stop me from proposing a session…

Recently there has been a bit of a kerfuffle over the use of the term “data” to describe the people and traditions religious studies scholars study. On one side, some scholars find this term to be dehumanizing. On the other side, some scholars think it is a useful term for cordoning off one’s object of study. The debate can be found here, here, here, and here.

Yet, it strikes me that the use of the term “data” in this debate is not the same “data” that many digital humanists use. Or is it? That’s what I’m wondering. How do digital approaches to religious studies alter our notions of “data” and what counts as “data?” Is a digital religious studies de-humanizing? What is our data?

Listen to Wikipedia guided meditation

Listen to Wikipedia

I’d like to propose a second instance of a session I led recently at THATCamp Virginia, which I’m calling a “Listen to Wikipedia guided meditation.” What we did there, and what I’d like to do again (though there are probably many much more worthy sessions!) was to spend some time listening to and watching the site at listen.hatnote.com (pictured above), spend some more time interacting with the site, spend some time writing about it, then spend a few minutes talking about it. Happy to facilitate it again if folks are interested.

Creating Multi-Platform Digital Publications in Religion and Theology

I am interested in how others are using and designing vertically integrated content publication of religion and theology studies, and would like to share how I have been using multi-platform digital technology.

I propose to give a short presentation on my work on the Jesus Prayer (and hesychia: prayer and contemplation in silence) that was originally a doctoral thesis and ethnographic field study, that I’ve “outputted” into ten different platforms: dissertation, ethnographic film, trade book (HarperOne), mass-market feature film (theaters, digital downloads on iTunes, Amazon, and DVD), two websites (JesusPrayerMovie.com), music/meditation/prayer CD, PBS network special, Digital Study Guide, national public radio special (Columbia University Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life), and an academic book (Fortress Press, Feb. 1, 2014).  All the same content; designed and adapted to be widely shared across every platform.

Then, the session can become a conversation about how others have implemented and are designing multi-platform (transmedia) dissemination.

Finally, if there’s time and interest, let’s do a think tank and brainstorming session on how to translate research and discoveries into multiple outputs, inside and outside academia. Take away a sketch of how your work can be digitally shared.

I am currently Adjunct Instructor at New York University’s Kanbar Institute of Film and Television (teaching history to media students), and Executive Producer/Host of a national public radio/podcast series titled “Rethinking Religion” from Columbia University’s Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life. I completed my doctorate at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York in 2008, interdisciplinary: Theology and the Arts.

Norris J. Chumley, Ph.D.

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www.norrischumley.com

www.JesusPrayerMovie.com

YouTubes on the World Religions: A Session for Blue Birds

I am withdrawing this session proposal.   Chris Cantwell has just informed me that handouts are not permitted in THATcamp sessions because they are incompatible with the collaborative nature of the camp.    Because we are precluded from sharing examples of course work associated with the use of YouTubes, or other materials we might share via handouts to contextualize the learning goals with which YouTubes are associated, I have determined that the proposed session is simply out of place for THATcamp.     Merely watching YouTubes without being able to share pedagogical resources with each other that we link with them seems to be an unproductive use of THATcamp time.

Student Ethnography on the Internet

UPDATE: A handout for this session can be found here: drive.google.com/file/d/0B7wZW80YR7KiN0RndDFjQVRJVm8/edit?usp=sharing.

Kyle Schiefelbein (Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary) and Martha Reineke (University of Northern Iowa) are proposing a session on courses or projects within courses that use the internet as a site for students’  ethnographic research.   We will be happy to have others join us in making presentations during this session.

Martha Reineke’s presentation:   Martha will report on how she used Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes by Robert Emerson, Rachel Fretz, and Linda Shaw in a course on contemporary Judaism.  Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes is aimed at beginning ethnographers; indeed, the authors propose a kind of “ethnography across the curriculum” use for their book.  Electronic ethnography is ideal for the rural location of Martha’s university, which poses a challenge for ethnographic research projects..  She will report on how she created assignments drawn from Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes that enable students to conduct research in an electronic rather than actual field and complete ethnographic projects/reports. Key themes include acquainting students with insider/outsider categories, members’ meanings, etc. 

Kyle Schiefelbein’s presentation:  Another component of ethnography is examining the quantitative data available, especially when crafting a study on a particular geographic area.  Kyle will report on how his students engage in online demographic study to supplement their congregational ethnographies for a first-year seminary course.  Such study includes census data, relationships to civil society partners, crime statistics, and data provided by the congregation, the judicatory and other denominational studies.  We will also investigate what to actually do with this data and how to present in a full ethnographic study.

Martha and Kyle are not experts in ethnography but have found it to be a useful resource for working with students.  For Martha, when students learn ethnographic research methods, they are more able to approach religious websites with an eye for insider/outsider meanings and to use their critical thinking skills within a next context.   Kyle has engaged in the practice while doing his own studies of congregations and teaching students how to “read’ their congregations.  These observational skills, including field notes, interviews and quantitative data analysis, can transcend disciplines in the humanities.  

 

Race, Religion, and the Digital Humanities

This session will consider the ways in which “difference” makes a difference in broaching zones of contact between religious studies and the digital humanities. I am proposing an open conversation to address silences as well as critically rethink the problems and possibilities of engaging race (as well as ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationality, ability, and class) for digital humanities and the study of religion. Potential topics for discussion include this overly ambitious but hopefully fruitful list:

  • Representations of people of color and the religion-related cultural productions created by people of color on the Internet.
  • The recovery/preservation of works about and by people of color in the study of religion.
  • Sharing ways that we might incorporate digital tools, coding and software applications (i.e. Blogs, Live Group Video Broadcasting, Virtual Environments , Cloud Computing, and Augmented Reality) into teaching and collaborations in race and religion research.
  • The development and application of digital research methodologies for the study of race and religion.
  • Questions concerning how identities (gender, race, class, sexuality, religious identifications) could inform and transform the theory and practice of digital humanities.

    Note: This session is limited to afternoon scheduling times. 1:00-2:30 pm or 2:45-4:15 pm.