Here, there, and everywhere

I’m sitting on the plane that will take me to London ON after the craziest three weeks of academic traveling galore. I owe many thanks to my postdoctoral supervisor Prof. JL Suárez for the support granted, which has allowed me to travel well beyond my means, and also to all the event organizers who have facilitated funding, scholarships, and registration waivers to young career scholars like myself. Everything that went on and the very existence of this post owe to all of your help.

Long story short. Chapter 1: London, ON – Mexico City – St. Catharines – Victoria – London ON (There might have been a day or two I actually spent home in London ON in between the three destinations but have now forgotten about them).

Long story short. Chapter 2: Everything DH, all kinds of presentations, several languages, many different people and takes on the field.

What I’m trying to say is that I pretty much spent three weeks thinking exclusively about DH (HD while I was in Mexico) to the point where I wouldn’t even notice there was no room in my head for anything else. For three weeks, the world revolved around DH. Yeah, it might have been a bit obsessive, perhaps, but it also led to three reflections that have very much cleared up how I see DH at the present and how I envisioned it.

1) Reflection having to do with people travelling along with me to the same places ––– To my knowledge, only Jade McDougall did the exact same itinerary as myself, but countless others did two of them, whether 2EHD and DHSI, or CSDH and DHSI. It was a pleasure seeing distinct facets of each one of many colleagues depending on which event we were together, what each one was presenting/talking about. And I feel like I know more of them all and their broader interests than I would had I only attended one of their talks or seen them once. Moving along at least two of the events with the same colleagues is becoming key for the kind of exchanges I envision DH to facilitate at large: local but not localized scholarship i.e. studies that are heavily grounded in the context that brings them to life, but which are in no way relevant exclusively in said context. Studies and people that find a place here and there all the same, that engage with who they’re talking to in each particular context without losing sight of their base. I would like to come back to Jade’s wonderful work on ephemeral objects of punk culture in Saskatchewan as a token of this and which fascinated everyone from Mexico City to St. Catharines, to Victoria, and everyone I managed to tell to.

2) Reflection on the “long term effects” of DH events ––– Happily, I’m coming back home with new projects collaborating with people I’ve only worked marginally with up to now (I’m looking at you Alex), and a couple of other ideas that might become projects at some point. If we want to and are willing to open ourselves up, take chances on people we’ve just met, there is a real potential for conferences and other meetings to promote strong academic relations and the birth of new projects fostering (this is going to sound cheesy) the future of the field. I think I can say I’ve begun to envision my DH ‘generation’—not really age or career stage wise—but colleagues so good at their work and so warm that I hope I’ll continue to work with them for the rest of my career. Did you see Emily Murphy‘s deep reflections on our collaborative DH culture and Jeri Weiringa‘s work on Rails Girls? UNAM’s Seminar on the Philosophy of Technology (#SeminarioTF) work on reading? James O’Sullivan‘s stylometrics and e-lit work? Not to mention my dear friends of the Humanities Matter bus? And so many others I might not even be aware of just yet or might (shamefully) be forgetting due to my inability to deal with a three hour jetlag! All of it so so awesome!

3) Reflection on global DH –––– This is—if possible—an even more personal reflection: realizing that there is a genuine interest in the work done in DH around the world. I always expected a warm welcome to the projects I’ve worked in the past year with two wonderful colleagues Silvia Gutiérrez (mapahd.org) and Esteban Romero (atlascshd.org). The response to the projects, however, widely surpassed my wildest dreams in all of the contexts where I talked about them and with all the colleagues who approached me about them afterwards. Also key to this were, of course, Alex Gil’s talk which received a great response and generated huge interests in GO::DH initiatives, and the Multilingualism in DH unconference I hosted and profited much from.

After these three weeks I can only hope my work might have even a tiny effect on the development and consolidation of a global DH, and I hope to continue running into wonderful colleagues and learning about their passionate work here, there, and everywhere.

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