[globaloutlookDH-l] [Redhd] DH organizations around the world

Spence, Paul paul.spence at kcl.ac.uk
Fri Jun 26 01:57:24 MDT 2015

Dear Alex

Thanks for this very interesting visual summary, which helps us think globally about professional associations and representation in the digital humanities. This interests me a lot, as I’m currently doing research into architectures of participation in DH and, in broader terms, the cultural geographies of digital scholarship.

I have a number of questions about how you created the visualisation – from that point of view, it would be helpful to have more information about the criteria used to draw boundaries.

Some comments/queries:

·         Geographical boundaries and language sometimes roughly coincide – most often they don’t. I suspect we need a more fine-grained approach, taking multiple perspectives, if we want to reach any firm conclusions

·         Your ‘about’ page talks of territoriality. When we are talking about associations, it is important to distinguish between [1) their professed geographical area of focus, if that even exists, [2] our perception of their focus, according to the evidence at our disposal [3] organisational pragmatics – e.g. the criteria used to distribute funds, [4] membership data, etc etc. To give three examples of how categorisations can be problematic: I have heard various prominent ACH people object when people identify the organisation too closely with North America at various times over the years; EADH adopted a regional ‘focus’ in the last few years, but has always had, and continues to have (in spite of its clear primary focus on Europe), global outreach (with very strong connections to Japan at various stages, for example); HDH explicitly identifies itself as international, and therefore not just limited to Spain (or indeed Spanish-speaking territories).

·         If we use membership data, that opens up a whole lot of new questions: there is a difference between location of residence, institutional location, location of birth/origin etc etc. Are we measuring personal identification with a particular geography, the pragmatics of where someone has institutional support, or something else entirely?

·         There are a whole host of other issues here that affect how we interpret culture, language and geography in DH: the fact that people can speak multiple languages; the disjoint between cultural identity and nationhood; the difficulty in identifying some countries with continents or agreeing on definitions of their boundaries; contested geographies and labels; the fact that professional association membership is probably not a good indicator of actual DH research activity;  the varying degrees of accuracy and granularity of various data sources (including membership lists) etc etc.

You are admirably honest about the fact that the map is not fully  representational; nevertheless, you have created it, you have performed a representation (which is already leading to interpretation by those of us viewing it), and I was wondering if you could say more about which direction(s) you imagine taking this in.

Best wishes

Paul Spence
Senior Lecturer
Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane

paul.spence at kcl.ac.uk<mailto:paul.spence at kcl.ac.uk>
Twitter: @dhpaulspence (English)/@hdpaulspence (castellano)

From: Redhd [mailto:redhd-bounces at lists.humanidadesdigitales.net] On Behalf Of Alex Gil
Sent: 25 June 2015 14:18
To: A list for participants in the ADHO DH Global Outlook Community; Lista de distribución de la Red de Humanidades Digitales (RedHD); Online seminar for digital humanities; Association Humanistica; Asociacion Humanidades Digitales Hispánicas; Southasia Dh; Ahdig
Subject: [Redhd] DH organizations around the world

** apologies for cross posting **

Dear all,

Here is a quick neatline sketch <http://testing.elotroalex.com/dhorgs/> of the digital humanities organizations I can see around the world today. The map is quick and dirty, and misrepresents much. It would be nice to get a representation of memberships from each org by city or state, that would help localize trans-nationality more accurately. In lieu of that I'm hoping this can spark a conversation about representation, language and location. If you have private suggestions, feel free to send me a line. I welcome all public suggestions.

As I say in the about page:

This map does not represent the trans-national membership of these organizations. A heat map from member tallies would be more accurate. CenterNet is absent. Humanistica and ACH have a much wider reach than the map gives them credit for. My rationale for doing it was to show the territoriality of the largest number of members in each of these orgs, OR the regions they de facto represent. I find my lies point in the direction of a tension between language vs. region, representation vs. proportional membership. The lies are meant to spark a conversation about how we can move forward organizationally at the global level, through and around ADHO. I would favor moves in the direction of clearly defined meso-level regional/national organizations—open to global membership, of course, but clearly based somewhere—for the support of semi-local communities. The key here is support and representation for semi-local communities. To be clear, I am not against co-existence and collaboration with language-based trans-regional organizations that stretch the planet, and do believe we can achieve local support and representation if we work together carefully at the intersections of language/region/representation, as long as we foster local growth and agency. On that note, I should point out that many organizations represented here are already both language-region, like the RedHD or the DHD.
In addition to these regional/language chapters, I imagine a union that can organize a global conference and foster collaboration. What ADHO is trying to do now.

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