It is a pleasure to announce the NEH Institute, “Early Modern Digital Agendas,” which is funded by an Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities grant from the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities. It will take place at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, this summer. The dates of the three-week institute are 8 through 26 July 2013. We hope that the materials found on this site will pique your interest, and we will be delighted to see that interest translated into an application to participate. Please note that the application deadline is 4 March 2013.
Digital resources and tools are changing humanities scholarship from the classroom, to the library, to the study. EEBO-TCP, with its apparent promise of the free availability of every early modern printed text, puts our period at the forefront of possibilities. But new resources and tools limit as they enable; they involve loss as well as gain. “Early Modern Digital Agendas” seeks to create a forum in which participants can historicize, theorize, and critically evaluate current and future digital tools and approaches. Discussion will grow out of, and feed back into, participants’ own projects (current and potential). Sessions will thus seek to provide an overview of and introduction to the major projects and resources in the field; a sophisticated theorization of digital approaches and the effects of technology; and an interactive context for participants to present, plan, and test-drive their own projects.
We are particularly excited about the range and expertise of the faculty who have agreed to take part: between them, they have published some of the most exciting and challenging theoretical work on technology and the digital and have successfully completed a series of outstanding digital projects. This combination of critical thinking and practical facility represents “craft” in its fullest sense. We anticipate attracting a similarly excellent group of college and university teacher-participants, who (as past experience tells us) will quickly establish a community of intellectual interests. Our aim is to assemble a group which is mixed in terms of seniority and experience with digital methods. We envisage that some participants will be at the very earliest stage of planning a project, while others may have projects at or near completion. It is our hope that our participants will return to their digital projects and their classrooms with a greatly enhanced understanding of the period-specific challenges and limitations that early modern literary scholars now face. They will also have a network of contacts and potential collaborators for future work.
The discussions we envisage will require the intensive and collaborative scholarship that is the hallmark of NEH programs at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The Folger has a well earned reputation as a gathering place for a dynamic intellectual community, where advanced scholarly conversation is shared around seminar tables and at daily tea breaks, in presentations of works-in-progress, and in informal after-hours events. The sense of belonging to a select group within a larger intellectual community is the key to one recent assessment of a Folger NEH institute: “After more than 25 years of teaching, I’d say simply that this institute was one of the very best intellectual experiences of my career,” and, “I believe all of us felt as if we had made many new, very good friends and colleagues with whom we could share ideas and collaborate for years to come.”
Please review carefully the “Early Modern Digital Agendas” application and eligibility guidelines. The components of an application and the criteria for review are detailed in this document. You should know that the application review committee will be especially interested in your essay. The essay should address your reasons for applying to the institute; your qualifications to make a contribution to the institute, especially your ongoing research interests and digital projects; an outline of what you hope to accomplish; and an indication of the relation of digital humanities to your teaching, your current research, or your envisioned projects. Please remember that we hope to include participants at the very earliest stages of project planning, as well as those with more experience of digital methods. We will be looking to select a varied group of scholars ready to engage in a demanding, intellectually taxing, but we hope hugely enjoyable, Institute.
We hope that many of your questions are answered in the accompanying materials. You may direct your questions to the Folger Institute’s Program Assistant, Elyse Martin, at email@example.com or 202 675 0333. Please do not hesitate to ask for clarification on any issues.
We look forward to a provocative and stimulating three weeks that will draw upon the full range of our visiting faculty’s expertise, as well as that of participants. Our hope is that the Institute will set the agenda, and establish good practice, for investigating, interpreting, and presenting early modern English literature with this new means and methodology. We hope you will find this a compelling reason to give over part of your summer. We look forward to reading your application.
Early Modern Digital Agendas Institute Director
Early Modern Digital Agendas Project Director