THATCamp American Academy of Religion 2013 Just another THATCamp site Thu, 27 Feb 2020 20:43:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Session proposal: building a team for dh/Religion projects Fri, 22 Nov 2013 00:48:45 +0000

Newbie session: how does one go about building, managing, and coordinating your personal research, writing, and teaching work into a successful team 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.

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?pig

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 co-conspirators 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?



Final Workshop Preview: Writing Online Thu, 21 Nov 2013 06:35:52 +0000

The audiences for academic writing, academic writing on-line, and blogging present their own sets of expectations. Our roundtable pulls on many years of experience as readers, writers, and editors to share stories about writing on religion for a variety of outlets. Starting with the premise that academics want to write for a broad audience, we will cover issues of why you may want to write for popular venues, how to get started, what are some challenges you may face, and potential downsides. We will also show off some of our favorite tools. We are looking forward to a lively conversation.

Here’s the Google Doc of blogs

The Web of Religion, Religions, Religious Wed, 20 Nov 2013 20:30:53 +0000

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.

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Talk Session: Multimodal Publication Wed, 20 Nov 2013 16:55:09 +0000

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.

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Is “Data” a Four-letter Word? Wed, 20 Nov 2013 02:23:53 +0000

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?

Markup (TEI/XML?) for Hebrew Bible Research and Teaching Mon, 18 Nov 2013 22:52:01 +0000

I have questions about: TEI/XML (or other markup solutions) as a tool for teaching and research, including for right-to-left Unicode (Hebrew) but also just English. Depending on the skill levels of those who show up, this session could be “Make” session in which we pool our knowledge into a shared resource for further learning, or a “Teach” or “Play” session if someone shows up with commanding knowledge and a will to lead.

My own goals: I would like to be able to mark up plain-text Unicode Hebrew and English with tags of my own making, and assist my students in doing the same. I would like to be able to create simple programs or Regular Expressions to manipulate this marked-up plain text in simple ways. For a research-related example: I would like to be able to mark up Biblical Hebrew poems with varying suggestions for line-breaks (or verbal expressions, or accentual beats, or parallel expressions, etc.) and then manipulate the results for different kinds of display. For a teaching-related example: I would like to assist my students in marking up a biblical text for (say) genre-markers (like <statementOfTrust>text</statementOfTrust>), and then be able to manipulate the results for display (e.g., filtering several files for a particular marker and displaying the results in columns).

I once attended a THATCamp workshop session introducing TEI/XML, and that’s what led me to this question/topic. My familiarity with markup is limited to HTML/CSS and (Multi)Markdown. I know as much coding and RegEx as anyone gets from taking the same Javascript, Ruby, & RegEx online tutorials over and over again every year…so not much. I have never built an app. (And hope that my Category choices are mostly in the right ballpark.)

Listen to Wikipedia guided meditation Mon, 18 Nov 2013 22:06:10 +0000

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 (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.

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Twitter for Education: Dos and Don’ts Mon, 18 Nov 2013 18:59:18 +0000

Hello All,

I would like to propose a short workshop on Twitter. As many of the students use it and would like to quote and post on Twitter, it would be useful to know some useful pedagogical issues connected with using this.

Thank you.



Creating Multi-Platform Digital Publications in Religion and Theology Mon, 18 Nov 2013 18:45:25 +0000

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 (, 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.

Lessons Learned: Digital Technologies in the Religious Studies Classroom Mon, 18 Nov 2013 18:19:08 +0000

In this session we will explore possibilities for using digital technologies in the classroom. It is hoped that our thoughts will be valuable to those currently exploring digital possibilities and allow them to offer insights from their own experiences and discover new assignments. However, we also aim to present new opportunities in course assignments and collaborative work for those not using technology in the classroom. Therefore, the session will simultaneously serve as a Teaching with Technology 101 and Lessons from the Field.

Possible topics for conversation:

  • Audio Podcasts
  • Video Mash-ups
  • Infographics
  • Storify
  • Geo-Spatial Mapping
  • Canvas Presentations
  • Class Blogging
  • Twitter Assignments

I will be happy to show some of my students’ work and hope to hear about exciting new assignments for future courses.



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