Panelists Wanted: DH Methods in the Traditional Dissertation

On March 15–16, Simmons will be hosting a conference titled “Digital Humanities: The Next Generation.” You can read the CFP. I’d like to put together a moderated discussion with the working title “DH Methods in the Traditional Dissertation.” This is my rationale for the session.

Although there are proposals for creating alternative kinds of dissertations, and while some grad students have obtained the PhD with non-traditional dissertations, the vast majority of grad students are likely to graduate with a traditional dissertation. In order for grad students to gain experience with DH in their research, to produce scholarship that take advantage of DH, and to demonstrate DH competencies on the job market, they will need to integrate DH into traditional dissertations. This panel will be about how grad students are doing that.

Ideally the session will consist in large part of discussions of the parts of digital humanities work that grad students have done for their dissertations. Drafts of these components of the dissertation can be pre-circulated for a “flipped” session, in order to permit better discussion. (For my own part, I’ll probably discuss a map of the societies of the American Society for Meliorating the Condition of the Jews, a nineteenth-century American benevolent organization.) But we can also steer the discussion towards questions about working with your committee on DH matters, integrating the DH component of your work into your writing, and obtaining technical and maybe financial support for DH work. My own knowledge of these matters is ad hoc and definitely not expert, so I’d prefer not to think of this potential panel as experts dispensing wisdom, but a conversation about how to move forward with DH in our dissertations. I’ve mostly conceived of this panel as consisting of graduate students, but if any faculty who have supervised dissertations with a DH component wanted to join, that would be an excellent addition.

Proposals are due by February 1. If you’re interested, please send me a note at and we’ll see what we can work out.