“While digital humanists develop tools, data and metadata critically … rarely do they extend their critique to the full register of society, economics, politics, or culture.” – Alan Liu, Where Is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?
As exemplified in the above quote, the subject of digital humanities intersection with cultural theory has been the subject of heated online discussions, conference panels, various publications, Twitter wars and more. Today’s talks considers some variations on this ongoing debate in the digital humanities around the role of cultural theory within the digital humanities and its close analogs, in order to argue for a theoretically explicit form of digital praxis within the digital humanities.
Tara McPherson is Associate Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She is a core faculty member of the IMAP program, USC’s innovative practice based-Ph.D., and also an affiliated faculty member in the American Studies and Ethnicity Department. Her research engages the cultural dimensions of media, including the intersection of gender, race, affect and place. She has a particular interest in digital media. Here, her research focuses on the digital humanities, early software histories, gender, and race, as well as upon the development of new tools and paradigms for digital publishing, learning, and authorship.
Her Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender and Nostalgia in the Imagined South (Duke UP: 2003) received the 2004 John G. Cawelti Award for the outstanding book published on American Culture, among other awards. She is co-editor of Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture (Duke UP: 2003) and editor of Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected, part of the MacArthur Foundation series on Digital Media and Learning (MIT Press, 2008.) Her writing has appeared in numerous journals, including Camera Obscura, The Velvet Light Trap, Discourse, and Screen, and in edited anthologies such as Race and Cyberspace, The New Media Book, The Object Reader, Virtual Publics, The Visual Culture Reader 2.0, and Basketball Jones. The anthology, Interactive Frictions, co-edited with Marsha Kinder, is forthcoming from the University of California Press, and she is currently working on a manuscript examining the digital transformation of the archive as it mutates into the database.
She is the Founding Editor of Vectors, www.vectorsjournal.org, a multimedia peer-reviewed journal affiliated with the Open Humanities Press, and is a founding editor of the MacArthur-supported International Journal of Learning and Media (launched by MIT Press in 2009.) She is a widely sought-out speaker on the digital humanities, digital scholarship, and feminist technology studies. Tara was among the founding organizers of Race in Digital Space, a multi-year project supported by the Annenberg Center for Communication and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. She is on the advisory board of the Mellon-funded Scholarly Communications Institute, has frequently served as an AFI juror, is a core board member of HASTAC , and is on the boards of several journals and other organizations. At USC, she co-directs (with Phil Ethington) the new Center for Transformative Scholarship and is a fellow at the Center for Excellence in Teaching. With major support from the Mellon Foundation, she is currently working with colleagues from leading universities and with several academic presses, museums, scholarly societies, and archives to explore new modes of scholarship for visual culture research. She is the lead PI on the new authoring platform, Scalar, and for the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, scalar.usc.edu.