Category Archives: Session: Talk

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=""><img class=" wp-image-300 alignleft" alt="partner" src="×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=""><img class=" wp-image-304 alignright" alt="pig" src="×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?



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?

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.