Posted & filed under In The News

Inside HigherEd’s Serena Golden recently profiled the Modern Language Association’s “Avenues of Access: Digital Humanities and the Future of Scholarly Communication” panel.  As part of the presentation, Cathy gave a talk entitled “Access Demands A Paradigm Shift.”  Here’s what Golden had to say about Cathy’s presentation which parsed questions of scale and access in the digital humanities:

Panelist Cathy Davidson, Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English and John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University, tackled a different aspect of “access” in her talk, contending that — in contrast to the current craze for MOOCs, which “massively scal[e] an outmoded model of education” — academics “should be massively remodeling our institutions for contributive, connected participatory learning.”

But Davidson — herself the founder of HASTAC, a decade-old online and in-person network of scholars and others interested in the transformative potential of new technologies for teaching, learning, communicating, and conducting research — also argued that the digital humanities are intrinsically connected to ideas about breaking down barriers and undermining hierarchies. 

In its early days, Davidson said, “the field was largely, though not exclusively, about digitizing and scaling and making ‘available’ existing archives. The rhetoric, too, was about access in a fairly narrow conceptual sense: digitizing existing knowledge so more people could use it.”

But as their work has grown and evolved, Davidson said, “digital humanists have seen that, once you change access, you open the floodgates to a range of other questions about content, authority, hierarchy, and power that you may not even know you were asking.”

To read the full article, visit Inside HigherEd.


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Cathy N. Davidson

Cathy N. Davidson

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