Sunday, March 24, 2013

Reporting on developments in the field; or, using the William Pannapacker model

My focus on news gathering as one focal point for my upcoming CLA presentation on digital humanities and African American literature owes much to my feelings reading William Pannapacker's writings related to annual MLA conferences over the last four years. Pannapacker's series of articles, which appeared on The Chronicle of Higher Education site/blog, have provided me with useful overviews of DH panels and activities.

I read the following five articles by Pannapacker when they were first published during the MLA conferences:

2009 - The MLA and the Digital Humanities
2011 - Digital Humanities Triumphant? 
2012 - The Come-to-DH Moment
2012 - Twitter Is Scholarship
2013 - On ‘The Dark Side of the Digital Humanities’

Back in 2009, I wrote about that first article in the series.

Pannapacker, as far as I can tell, began his career as a scholar of 19th century American literature; however, that has not prevented him from making contributions as a commentator concerning the profession. His approaches as a scholar-journalist and academic reporter offer good models for what we might do more of in our field(s).

Imagine, for example, if we had brief write-ups on African American literature panels and presentations at the last four MLA conferences. What if someone or a few people had offered their takes on the future of the field? I've produced a few entries here and there concerning my experiences at the annual conference such as my coverage of the "Silence in the Digital Humanities." But I'll need to do more, we'll need to do more in order to provide up-to-date and really useful coverage for the fields of Black Studies or African American literary study.

We could start by composing, publishing, and circulating notes on some of what we witness at the annual conferences of our professional organizations.

Digital Humanities at CLA 2013  

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