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Digital Spaces Physical Places: A Digital Humanities Symposium
April 16 - April 17
April 16–17, 2020, University of Rochester, River Campus
Keynote: Henry B. Lovejoy, Assistant Professor of History, Center for Research Data and Digital Scholarship, University of Colorado Boulder
Digital technologies have forever altered our understanding of place and space by dividing physical presence from telepresence, birthing the hybrid and sometimes messy field of digital humanities. At the most basic level, email, forums, and social media have enabled lightspeed asynchronous communication, changing the way we live, work, and perform scholarship. Physical places—real, historical, and fictional—can be reconstituted in electronic form and made interactive through the use of augmented or virtual reality, posing new opportunities for experiencing the past and the present alike. Emergent online platforms present new and accessible sites of learning.
And yet, while these real, historical, or fictional spaces may indeed be re-envisioned in other forms, how do we keep in mind the specificities and origins that come with a connectedness to particular physical spaces or locales? Scholars in the fields of feminist, post-colonial, and critical race studies have kept these questions at the forefront of their digital humanities practice. As digital humanities scholars, how do we ensure that, for example, the political and social dimensions of gender, race, sexuality, and class—dimensions that exist in physical space—do not get lost in newly emerging digital forms? While thinking through digital space reveals new modes of experience, such as opportunities for community, accessibility, and activism, we might also consider how digital technologies expand, compress, and transform different spaces in specific ways for specific bodies.