Conference Overview


How is digital scholarship redefining disciplinary boundaries and challenging conventional ideas about scholarly expertise? Are the ethics and politics of traditional scholarship and publication hindering the creative potential of new technologies? What possibilities in the digital humanities remain to be explored? This day-long conference will provide opportunities for critical reflection on these questions, and for sharing innovations and developments in the field of digital humanities.

“The topic of this conference is especially fitting when we recognize that a growing number of publications provide resources and scholarships to would-be digital humanists,” said Dr. Karen Dovell, Professor of English at Suffolk County Community College and Project Director for the grant. “So many questions arise about ethics and politics, the creative potential of new technologies and what possibilities in the digital humanities remain to be explored.” Dr. Marc Fellenz, Professor of Philosophy, chair of the Department of Humanities at Suffolk’s Michael J. Grant Campus, and a member of the conference organizing committee, noted that this event will bring together “scholars from across the SUNY system and other academic institutions” who are doing significant work in the field of digital humanities.


The conference will serve three broad purposes. First, although digital technology is ubiquitous and its effects on humanistic scholarship are being felt more and more broadly, many faculty may not be sufficiently informed about the resources and possibilities for the digital humanities. Dialogue with scholars in related fields who have begun to incorporate new technology into their scholarship, publication, and creative work may inspire those with reservations about the digital humanities to look at their own research from a fresh perspective. Resource leads provided by faculty in the library and information sciences will help them put that inspiration into practice. We also intend to engage students from all three campuses at Suffolk County Community College, so they too can learn more about these new approaches to scholarship, research, and creativity.

Second, while the body of academic work shaped by digital technology continues to grow, it is not without its critics. At issue is not only the validity of some unique approaches to traditional problems in the humanities, but also the deeper challenges to traditional notions of scholarship and expertise, authorship and literacy, and the overall culture of the academy that some work in the digital humanities presents. The digital academy is here to stay, but it is vital that fundamental reflection on its ethics, politics, economics and philosophy take place. Transparency with respect to the actual and potential effects of this digital revolution can help ensure that technophilia is not allowed to uncritically reshape the academic agenda.

Finally, in bringing together key scholars in digital humanities from both inside and outside the SUNY system, we aim to facilitate exchanges that will enhance and enable continued developments in this emergent field.

With these broad purposes in mind, the specific goals of the conversation are to inform participants and audience members about:
  • the range of scholarly and creative work being done across the disciplines that makes use of contemporary digital information technology;
  • the computer, information and library science resources that are currently available at Suffolk County Community College, across the SUNY system, and at other institutions that are relevant to work in the digital humanities;
  • the tacit and explicit challenges that scholars in the digital humanities have posed to more traditional scholarly paradigms;
  • the opportunities for interdisciplinary and intercampus collaborations on projects relevant to their research interests that digital technology can make possible;
  • the cautions that have been raised concerning the uncritical deployment of digital technology in scholarly work;
  • the deep conversations about the very nature of scholarly work and the culture of the academy that the use of contemporary information technology is provoking.