Bethany Nowviskie

praxis, through prisms

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This is just a quick post to share two bits of news about our Praxis Program at the Scholars’ Lab. The first is that I’ve written an op-ed on Praxis and our Fellows’ practicum project for this year’s Digital Campus special issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The piece was originally titled “Praxis, Through Prisms” — now “A Digital Boot Camp for Grad Students in the Humanities.” It’s pay-walled, for now, but I’ll re-publish it in open access format in 30 days. [UPDATE: now available in PDF format in UVa’s institutional repository.]

prismatic badge

by Chad Hagen for The Chronicle

Check it out to learn more about the program, get a sneak peek at Prism (launching this Tuesday, which is the second newsflash! congrats, team!) and find out what I see as the great project of humanities computing / digital humanities. Spoiler: it’s “the development of a hermeneutic — a concept and practice of interpretation — parallel to that of the dominant, postwar, theory-driven humanities: a way of performing cultural and aesthetic criticism less through solitary points of view expressed in language, and more in team-based acts of building.”

Or, in other words, the kind of thing our amazing grad students and diverse crew of scholar-practitioners are working on at Praxis. Through Prism(s).

I’m incredibly proud of the UVa Library staff who have devoted so much energy to teaching and mentoring Praxis Fellows this year (Wayne Graham, Jeremy Boggs, Eric Rochester, David McClure, and Eric Johnson) — and even more proud of our first six Fellows themselves, who have built Prism independently. These are Sarah Storti, Brooke Lestock, Annie Swafford, Lindsay O’Connor, Alex Gil, and Ed Triplett. And in fact, they’ve built Prism from scratch, on time, in public (perhaps the scariest part), with great good humor, and having started with very little practical experience in digital humanities design and development. Lately, I haven’t been able to stop myself from interrupting everything in our weekly Praxis meetings to make exclamations like, “Look at you guys! Look what you can do!”

So I hope you’ll stay tuned through this week to the Scholars’ Lab blog, the Praxis site, and to our @PraxisProgram and @ScholarsLab Twitter feeds, for posts on the launch of the Prism beta, an announcement of our 2012-13 Praxis Fellows, and reflections by current Praxis grad students and the rest of the team.

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4 Responses to “praxis, through prisms”

  1. The Changing Humanities: UVA’s Praxis Program | 4Humanities
    on Apr 29th, 2012
    @ 11:53pm

    […] Read more at The Chronicle and at Nowviskie’s blog. […]

  2. C.S.
    on May 24th, 2012
    @ 2:39pm

    Dear Bethany,

    I’ve been reading your site and many others on current projects ways of conceptualizing digital humanities. This post, since it mentions the importance of “hands-on” training, raises a question I’ve been asking myself (and haven’t answered!) DH is a hot new training field for grad students or recent PhDs, but what if, like me, you are further down the academic track, wanting to become trained / involved in these initiatives, *but* no longer affiliated with an institution?

    I’m sorry if the question sounds dim. In its collaborative nature and openness to new ideas, the DH field I’m sure appeals to many humanities-trained PhDs who no longer seek T-T jobs but love research. Yet gaining practical experience in the field, outside limited post-doc positions, seems elusive. I’d value hearing your thoughts on becoming involved in the field, specialized training notwithstanding.


  3. Bethany Nowviskie
    on May 25th, 2012
    @ 10:20am

    This is not a silly question at all! There are lots of initiatives and opportunities for mid-career training in digital humanities — summer institutes and workshops, social networking and mentoring programs, conferences and unconferences that are very welcoming to newcomers, and self-learning materials produced by the DH community.

    Rather than having me list them here (where fewer people will see them), I’d suggest you post this as a question on one of those DH community-sponsored resources — the Digital Humanities Questions and Answers forum created by ACH and ProfHacker. You’ll find lots of resources and related questions in those forums already (especially the “Professions” and “DH in the Classroom” sections), but it would be great to have somebody spark a discussion and list of links on @DHanswers!

    Best of luck to you as you move into the field!

  4. C.S.
    on May 29th, 2012
    @ 2:13pm

    Thanks, Bethany, I’ll do so.

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Creative Commons License This site uses a heavily modified version of Bryan Helmig's Magatheme. Work at by Bethany Nowviskie is always CC-BY. Want to know why? The falling letters are by Wayne Graham. He kindly made them to replace a set I designed in Flash in the late 1990s and had in place for more than 17 years. Not a bad run! Ave atque vale.