SUMMARY:This conversation will extend (and expand on) ongoing sets of conversations in the profession:
How do we take account of quickly changing digital practices (technologies, methods, and tools) as we move forward in our scholarship in/of the Middle East?
What is "data" today? What is data coming from/created about the Middle East?
How do we access, sift, sort, sample it, make sense of it?
How can I explore new directions from my material in a digital framework?
This series of Thematic Conversation, Digital Forays, includes threads from the Digital Humanities (DH), but also from an array of other bloated buzzwords: "Digital Scholarship," "Public Humanities," "Digital Publishing," "Big Data." At stake in addressing changing methodologies in Middle Eastern Studies is a range of interconnected issues, which amount to seismic shifts in how we deepen, develop, and disseminate our research. How are engagements with our students in/out of the classroom morphing given new technologies, what type of Digital Forays are Junior Scholars/Phd Candidates struggling to imagine and produce?; & how are the process and product of scholarly work evolving in our digital landscape? This conversation hopes to bring scholars in/of the Middle East doing unorthodox digital work together to discuss the perils/promise of such work as part of a multi-year conversation.
The implications are paramount:
to better account for the pedagogical realities we are facing,
to grasp the changing landscapes in which our research questions unfold, and
to better activate within the quickly changing world in which we live and work
Many times we lack the ability/skills to think about arms of our research digitally - often because we lack an ability to imagine how digital tools and methods could even enter/overlay/intersect our work. As such, these conversations will nurture a series of imaginations & directions for scholarship, engaging those who are feeling frustrated, lost, and confused in today's landscape. We hope to consolidate and embolden scholars who feel digital aspects of their research are an important avenue that run alongside traditional publication.
Digital Forays: First Directions of Digital Components to Research is the first "Digital Forays" Thematic Conversation for Fall 2020. Five faculty members will introduce how they first decided/stumbled/realized that a digital project was an active part of their research project/book/dissertation. The subsequent projects/platforms/databases/websites that emerged became integral parts of their arguments and process - not leftovers of research.