My Fond Farewell to MITH

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I can’t begin to say how grateful I am for the privilege of having served as Director of MITH for the past twelve years. If there is a more inspiring job anywhere, I’m not aware of it. I count myself especially fortunate to have held this position during the intellectual ferment marking the emergence of the Digital Humanities as a vibrant field, and I believe that MITH has contributed valuably toward this end.

More than most fields in the humanities, DH is collaborative, and I have gained so much in knowledge and by way of friendships during these twelve years of working with the widespread community of scholars, students, and staff, both on campus and beyond, who have engaged with MITH projects, programs, fellowships, training, and courses.

My gratitude extends to the able administrators and their staffs who have provided staunch support for MITH, especially Deans of the College of Arts and Humanities, Jim Harris and Bonnie Thornton Dill; Deans of the Libraries, Charles Lowry, Pat Steele, and Babak Hamidzadeh; and former longtime Dean of the iSchool, Jenny Preece. Without doing a long roll call, I’d also like to thank the superb program officers of the NEH, IMLS, and Mellon Foundation, without whose support the Digital Humanities never could have flourished. They often asked telling questions that led good projects to be re-conceptualized into excellent ones.

Those who know me well probably expect a quotation from Percy Bysshe Shelley somewhere in this farewell. But I’m turning instead to the inimitable Casey Stengel, one-time manager of both the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, who has said, “Managing is getting paid for home runs that someone else hits.” I’m proud of all the home runs MITH’s extraordinarily talented staff has hit during my tenure, and I cherish the long-lasting friendships I’ve made here over the years. To MITH’s current staff–Trevor, Grace, Purdom, Stephanie, Kirsten, Raff, and Ed—I want to say what a great pleasure it has been working with you: I’ve enjoyed every single day at the office and will miss your constant company.

My deepest debt is to my brilliant colleague and friend Matt Kirschenbaum, who has been with me for the whole journey. He began as MITH’s Associate Director on the same day as I began as Director, and he acted in that capacity until recently becoming the founding Director of our Graduate Certificate Program in Digital Studies in the Arts and Humanities. Much of MITH’s success can be attributed to Matt’s vision, acuity, and intellectual breadth. Carl Stahmer, who joined Matt and me as an Associate Director during our first year, and Doug Reside who followed Carl, were instrumental in getting us off to a fast and sure-footed start, along with designer par excellence Greg Lord.

Ah! But Shelley is never far behind, whether or not I quote him. As I cycle off of MITH on July 1 and return to the English Department, I will begin an extended research leave dedicated to his works and those of Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and William Godwin—a thrilling prospect! In saying farewell, I know that I couldn’t possibly leave MITH in better hands than those of the remarkable Trevor Muñoz, who I know will lead MITH steadily along an ever-ascending trajectory.

By | 2017-06-15T09:40:04+00:00 Thu, Jun 15, 2017|Alerts, Community, News|

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