Quinn Dombrowski (UC Berkeley)

“Cowboys and Consortia: Thoughts on DH Infrastructure”

Opening keynote: Thursday, September 13, 2018, 10:00 am
Bender Room, 5th floor, Cecil H. Green Library, Stanford University

Infrastructure development, operation, and sustainability have largely failed to capture the collective imagination and effort of digital humanities in the United States. The collapse of Mellon-funded DH cyberinfrastructure initiative Project Bamboo, before it was able to prove its utility, has served as an unappealing precedent for broad, general DH infrastructure development. Diverse forms of infrastructure have sprung up through the efforts of individuals and small groups, including directories (DiRT), scholarly networks (Humanities Commons), and text publication platforms (TAPAS), but medium-term sustainability for limited groups of users continues to pose significant challenges — to say nothing of scaling up these projects to the larger DH community, or supporting them in the long term. This talk will consider the shifts in scholarship, partnerships, alt-ac employment, and funding priorities that could support a turn towards meaningful DH infrastructure, and what an infrastructure-supported DH might look like in the United States.

Quinn Dombrowski manages the U.C. Berkeley Research Computing consulting service, and has worked with humanities scholars who use digital and computational tools and methodologies since 2004. She holds a Master’s Degree in Slavic Linguistics from the University of Chicago, and an MLS from the University of Illinois. Quinn serves on the executive committee for the Association for Computers and the Humanities.  She is the author of the book Drupal for Humanists, published by Texas A&M Press, which is the first in the Coding for Humanists series, which she co-edits.


Ge Wang (Stanford)

Presentation of Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime

Evening keynote: Thursday, September 13, 2018, 6:00 pm
Bender Room, 5th floor, Cecil H. Green Library, Stanford University

What we make, makes us. This is the central tenet of Artful Design, a photorealistic comic book that examines the nature, purpose, and meaning of design. A call to action and a meditation on art, authenticity, and social connection in a world disrupted by technological change, this book articulates a fundamental principle for design: that we should design not just from practical needs but from the values that underlie those needs.

Artful Design takes readers on a journey through the aesthetic dimensions of technology. Using music as a universal phenomenon that has evolved alongside technology, this book breaks down concrete case studies in computer-mediated toys, tools, games, and instruments, including the best-selling app Ocarina. Every chapter elaborates a set of general design principles and strategies that illuminate the essential relationship between aesthetics and engineering, art and design.

Wang implores us to both embrace and confront technology, not purely as a means to an end, but in its potential to enrich life. Technology is never a neutral agent, but through what we do with it—through what we design with it—it provides a mirror to our human endeavors and values. Artful Design delivers an aesthetic manifesto of technology, accessible yet uncompromising.

Ge Wang is a Stanford University Professor of Music and Computer Science. He is a designer of instruments, toys, and games; inventor of the ChucK programming language; and director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra. Ge was co-founder of Smule, a Silicon Valley startup that explores music-making via mobile devices, and designer of Magic Piano and Ocarina, an Apple Hall of Fame App.

Mark Algee-Hewitt (Stanford)

“Humanities, Augmented: Ecologies of digital research practices”

Closing keynote: Saturday, September 15, 2018, 1:00 pm
Bender Room, 5th floor, Cecil H. Green Library, Stanford University

The new methods of the digital humanities have not only changed the material that scholars work on, but, perhaps more importantly, they have changed the very ways in which scholars work. Collaborative and mutli-disciplinary, the field has offered researchers opportunities to reach outside of their home institutions or departments while at the same time, it has transformed the resources and personnel that are required to undertake scholarly projects in the humanities. From the prospective of those researchers, who have been drawn out of their offices and library stacks and into the environments of the lab and the DH center, these changes require fundamental alterations in the ways that research gets done. But this also requires a renegotiation of the traditional academic roles of faculty, students and staff, as well as in the importance of infrastructure to scholarship. In this talk, I draw on the anatomy of a project at the Stanford Literary Lab to explore the practical and ethical challenges that confront research teams working in these new environments. The Digital Humanities, I argue, is not a turn towards the virtual, but instead, offers an augmented form of scholarship in which the critical and computational, the analog and the digital, and the statistical and interpretive forms of research must exist side by side. By exploring these tensions, I offer suggestions on the ways in which the different people, resources and settings can be reconfigured within a set of sustainable research practices.

Mark Algee-Hewitt is Assistant Professor of English at Stanford University. His research focuses on the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in England and Germany and seeks to combine literary criticism with digital and quantitative analyses of literary texts. In particular he is interested in the history of aesthetic theory and the development and transmission of aesthetic and philosophic concepts during the Enlightenment and Romantic periods, and in the relationship between aesthetic theory and the poetry of the long eighteenth century. Mark is Director of the Stanford Literary Lab.