For many of us, the months since March have blurred into one another. It seems odd to begin this fall term by saying “welcome back,” since we’ve all spent the summer in countless Zoom meetings and glued to our screens for contact with others, full of uncertainty about what the fall would bring for our students and for our country. At the Center for Digital Humanities we are exhausted but galvanized, proud of the continued efforts of our team—a uniquely qualified group of interdisciplinary scholars working at the intersection of humanities and technology. We appreciate how hard everyone has been working this summer and we begin this school year committed to recognizing the immense strain we are all under; we approach our collaborations with faculty, staff, and students—and with one another—with empathy and compassion.
We continue our commitment to anti-racism and equitable scholarly practices in everything we do. You can find information about our grants, from the smallest seed of an idea to a data set that needs curating to a fully-fledged project that requires time from the development team, on our Grants page or described in the video above. This year, in addition to continuing to develop a proposal for new certificate pathways in humanities and computer science, we are sponsoring three undergraduate courses (Black Mirror: Race, Technology, and Justice, taught by Ruha Benjamin; Privacy, Publicity, and the Text Message, taught by Grant Wythoff; and a spring course on Introduction to Digital Humanities), as well as our first ever graduate course in the spring.
As usual, CDH has had a busy summer. In May, we launched one of our flagship projects, the Shakespeare and Company Project, to broad acclaim. We completed work on the Princeton Ethiopian Miracles of Mary Project, and began our exciting new collaborative partnership with Marina Rustow’s Geniza Lab. We welcomed three new post-doctoral fellows: Camey VanSant, Sierra Eckert, and Kavita Kulkarni, and we supported our first ever cohort of summer graduate fellows. In addition, we oversaw 10 undergraduate interns who worked on projects as diverse as the Philly Community Wireless Project and the Princeton Prosody Archive. Our most exciting collaboration has been our commitment to support the ongoing work of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, convened by our inaugural faculty fellow Ruha Benjamin. We believe that the entire Princeton campus has the potential to become a Just Data Lab, and we’re working to seed data for social justice initiatives across the curriculum.
We commit to using our unique position on campus, at the intersection of the humanities, social sciences, and computer science, to push for change. We commit to marshalling our tools, methodologies, resources, and energy in the ongoing fight for social justice. Consistent with our sponsorship of the Princeton & Slavery Project, we commit to using our training as humanists and technologists to the project of making visible, in Saidiya Hartman’s words, “the brutal and abstract relations of power that make violent domination and premature death defining characteristics of Black life.”
This academic year, we invite you to connect and collaborate with us as we confront the challenging times we are living in. Our newsletter—which includes the latest CDH updates and opportunities, plus a selection of links to work we think is important—arrives in inboxes every other Thursday (please forward it to friends who might be interested in our work). You can also visit our blog and follow us on Twitter for more news from the CDH. And as always, feel free to request a consultation with us if we can assist you with DH-related issues and to contact us via email with your questions and concerns. We look forward to working with you to build a more just future—whether online or in person.
Wishing you the best possible in the coming months,
Faculty Director, Center for Digital Humanities