Many years after the idea of a digital humanities galvanized different genealogies of humanistic practice around the world, most institutions in North America have by now each attracted various forms of related talent to their libraries, departments and centers to help build capacity at the institutional level. What happens when that talent begins to collaborate across institutions at a massive scale? Or intra-institutionally guided by their own collaborative light outside established and unflinching reward mechanisms? In this presentation, Dr. Alex Gil will argue for a form of rapid organizing for change in non-hierarchical formats that can effectively draw from our collective talent pool in the digital humanities and adjacent formations. Using several specific case studies, including the most recent Torn Apart/Separados effort, the idea of a nimble tent, a mobilized humanities, will emerge as a possible bridge between the long-game of scholarship, and the short-game of political action in the now.
Dr. Alex Gil is Digital Scholarship Librarian at Columbia University Libraries and Affiliate Faculty of the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He collaborates with faculty, students and library professionals leveraging computational and network technologies in humanities research, pedagogy and knowledge production. He is among the founders of several ongoing, warmly received initiatives where he currently plays leadership roles: Co-director of the Studio@Butler at Columbia University, a tech-light library innovation space focused on digital scholarship and pedagogy; faculty moderator of Columbia’s Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities, a vibrant trans-disciplinary research cluster focused on experimental humanities; former chair of Global Outlook::Digital Humanities, an interest group connecting scholars around the world; senior editor of sx archipelagos, a journal of Caribbean Digital Studies, and co-wrangler of The Caribbean Digital conference series. Current projects include Ed, a digital platform for minimal editions of literary texts; Aimé Césaire and The Broken Record, a minimal computing experiment in long-form digital scholarship; and, In The Same Boats, a visualization of trans-Atlantic intersections of black intellectuals in the 20th century.