Digital Americanists at ALA 2013

A word from Amanda Gailey, president of the Digital Americanists Society:

We will elect new officers this week both in-person at our business meeting at ALA (Thursday, 5/23, at 10:30, Courier 7th floor) and via absentee ballot by email. If you would like to run for the position of secretary/treasurer or vice president, please let me know as soon as possible. In accordance with our constitution, our current vice president, Matthew Wilkens, will move into the role of president, and the person we elect vice president will become president in 2015. All offices are two-year commitments. I encourage you to run! Also, if you would like us to address any specific issues at the business meeting, please let us know.

You need not be at ALA to run for office, but if you are, I invite you to attend our panel, “Interpretation, Interface, Archive, Classroom” on Thursday at 4:30 in St George D 3rd Floor.

This message went out to the Digital Americanists listserv; if you’d like to join the list, there’s info on the About page.

CFP: Canadian Association for American Studies

Recently passed along and of potential interest to Digital Americanists. See the link below for (slightly) more information.

OCTOBER 24 – 27, 2013
Sponsored by the Canadian Association for American Studies

“Total Money Makeover”$: Culture and the Economization of Everything

Economic models now occupy a central place in the analysis of American culture. The “hegemony of economic explanations of cultural practices” (Koritz 1999) has been with us for some time. Concepts such as “cultural capital,” “the literary marketplace,” and “modes of exchange” are regularly deployed to demystify culture’s relationship with power and profit. As useful as economic models have been for opening up new avenues of analysis in American studies, we wonder if this turn to economy in American studies doesn’t privilege economic models in ways that ought to be scrutinized. Indeed, it can be argued that the recent financial crises in the United States and Europe are consequences of unquestioned faith in the explanatory and organizing power of economics as a field of knowledge. We must ask whether the economization of everything, along with the dominance of economic models for analysis, has deprived culture, and cultural study more generally, of modes of
resistance and a distinctive field of action. Is it possible or desireable, without reverting to an untenable idealism, to recover a sense of culture as a privileged domain?

The 2013 CAAS conference invites proposals for papers on the topic of culture and economics, but especially papers that privilege culture as a field of knowledge and subject the economic to its critical gaze.

Papers on other topics relevant to the interdisciplinary study of American culture, history, and society are also welcome.

Please submit abstracts of 300-words, along with a brief bio, to the conference organizers, Victoria Lamont and Kevin McGuirk, Department of English, University of Waterloo, at by March 15, 2013. Presentation time for papers is 20 minutes maximum. Panel submissions will also be considered.

CFP: New American Notes Online

A CFP that may be of interest to Digital Americanists …

NANO: New American Notes Online

Call for Papers: Issue 2.1

Deadline: 30 March 2012

Special Theme: Evaluation, Critique, Peer Review

What are the best and newest methods for creating, evaluating, and disseminating scholarly and creative work? This question motivates the next issue of NANO. As digital formats help to foster new ways to share and critique written and artistic work, as more people try to squeeze through the narrowing bottleneck of publishing, approval, and jobs, something has to give, or at least change.

Four guiding questions:

1. How have changes to the university, to scholarly publishing, and to digital publishing formats changed peer review? Will changes to peer review change the nature and methods of scholarship?

2. How have creative contests in the fields of poetry, short story, painting, sculpture, or design changed in terms of evaluation, prizes, and prestige?

3. What can the humanities learn from other disciplines in terms of evaluation and peer review?

4. How can we solve some of the current problems?

Possible Topics:

print/book/online culture, peer review, online peer review, poetry contests, short story contests, art and design contests, evaluation, judging, Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize, merit, approval, assessment, credit, collaboration and/or single author, contribution, attribution, plagiarism/remixing, authority/media bias, tenure and promotion, grading, popular culture evaluation, online discussion, digital/paper editing, marking up, peer-to-peer review, external linking, criticism, critique, crowd-sourcing, advice, monograph, scholarly electronic editions, Google, Google Scholar, e-books, e-journals, Wikipedia, Creative Commons, research tools, research blogs, editing tools, archiving, coding, open access

See Submission Guidelines on our website for more details:

Send queries or completed notes to

JOB: 19th-Century British and Anglophone/Digital Humanities

We’ve just recently received permission to hire an assistant professor in 19th-century British and Anglophone literatures/digital humanities,  and I’m hoping that the Digital Americanists will pass this along to those who might be interested.


Donna Campbell
Associate Professor of English
Washington State University

Assistant Professor of English with specialty in 19th-century British and Anglophone literatures with additional specialization in digital humanities, tenure track, beginning August 2012.  Duties and responsibilities include teaching courses in literary studies and in the Digital Technology and Culture undergraduate degree program, as well as graduate courses in nineteenth-century Anglophone literatures and digital humanities (2-2 teaching load).  Successful candidate will maintain an active research agenda and participate in professional and university service. Ph.D. in English or related field required by July 1, 2012. Evidence of teaching effectiveness at the college level strongly preferred. Promise of scholarly potential in nineteenth-century British or Anglophone literatures, Victorian studies, digital humanities, archival theory and practice, or the electronic/digital remediation of printed texts strongly preferred. Other preferred areas of scholarship include comparative media studies, visual culture studies, or the study of literature and information technologies. Demonstrated ability to work in diverse communities highly desirable. Apply at <> . Be prepared to upload a letter of application, curriculum vitae, contact information for three references, and a writing sample. Review of applications will begin on January 16, 2012. For full consideration applications must be received by January 30, 2012.  WSU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  Members of ethnic minorities, women, Vietnam-era or disabled veterans, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 or over are encouraged to apply.

CFP: Digital Americanists at ALA

Call for Papers
Digital Americanists

American Literature Association
23rd Annual Conference
May 24-27, 2012
San Francisco, CA

Digital Americanists ( invite proposals for 20-minute papers to be presented at the American Literature Association’s annual conference in San Francisco, May 24-27, 2012.

The panel is open to papers that address any topic pertaining to American literature and digital scholarship, including:

  • text analysis methods
  • teaching digital American literature
  • using archives in scholarship
  • theorizing the archive

Please send abstracts of between 250 and 500 words in .doc, RTF, or PDF to both Amanda Gailey ( and Matthew Wilkens ( by January 24, 2012.

New Board, New Initiatives, and a Membership Drive

Dear past, current, and future members of the Digital Americanists,

Exciting things are happening in the Digital Americanists Society this year! In May a new board was elected at ALA. The new board comprises:

Amanda Gailey, University of Nebraska, President
Matthew Wilkens, University of Notre Dame, Vice-President
Ryan Cordell, St. Norbert College, Secretary/Treasurer

The new board has begun work on several new initiatives. First, we’ve moved the website to UNL, which should give us more flexibility than we had with our previous host. We welcome ideas about how we can make the website more useful to members. If you have suggestions for making the Digital Americanists’ site more than an occasional news venue, please send us an email with your ideas.

Second, we’re working to reach scholars in new venues. The DA will continue to sponsor one or two panels at each year’s American Literature Association Conference—more details about that when the ALA posts its CFP. Next year, however, we’ll also sponsor a panel at the Society for Textual Scholarship’s conference in Austin. Finally, the DA has proposed a roundtable, “Digits, Data, and Dilemmas: Digitization and Knowledge Production in Nineteenth-Century American Literary Studies,” for the C19 Americanists conference in Berkeley. We’re seeking to expand our influence at Americanists gatherings, giving more scholars a chance to present their digital work to more diverse audiences. If you’re interested in organizing a Digital Americanists panel at another conference, please let us know!

In short, we hope to make membership in the Digital Americanists Society more valuable. To help us develop these new initiatives, however, we need you to join the society or renew your membership. Yearly dues are just $10, and we will work to ensure that those dues give members more than warm, fuzzy feelings of civic pride (though warm, fuzzy feelings of civic pride are certainly nice). Visit our membership page for details about how to join or renew your membership. We look forward to working with all of you to further national conversations about technology and American studies.

Please pass this announcement on to anyone you think might be interested in joining the Digital Americanists.

All the best,
Amanda Gailey,
Matthew Wilkens,
Ryan Cordell,

CFP: Digital Americanists Panel for C19

The Digital Americanists Society invites proposals for a roundtable about digital interpretation of nineteenth-century American literature or culture, to be proposed for the C19 Conference at the University of California, Berkeley, April 12-15, 2012. This roundtable will take up the C19 Program Committee’s call to investigate how “the field’s contours have been enlarged—or foreshortened—by the investigative tools offered by digital technologies.” We seek scholars using digital tools—e.g. GIS, data mining, visualization, textual analysis, and other methods—to help them understand the nineteenth century. We are particularly interested in the ways that digital tools can lead scholars toward new interpretive insights into texts and other cultural objects. What new questions—or even new kinds of questions—do modern technologies allow scholars to ask about nineteenth century literature and culture? How do new forms of digital evidence contribute to or disrupt traditional modes of scholarship in the field?

Participants will speak to these questions by presenting their work in the Pecha Kucha format: 20 slides displayed for 20 seconds apiece. This format will keep presentations concise and lively, and leave significant time for an engaged discussion among panelists and the audience.

Please submit a 250-word abstract and brief bio (a few sentences will suffice) to Ryan Cordell at by September 1, 2011.

Digital Keys for Unlocking the Humanities’ Riches (

Published: November 16, 2010

A history of the humanities in the 20th century could be chronicled in “isms” — formalism, Freudianism, structuralism, postcolonialism — grand intellectual cathedrals from which assorted interpretations of literature, politics and culture spread. The next big idea in language, history and the arts? Data.