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Introduction: Assembling the Ecological Digital Humanities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020


We assembled this cluster of essays to bring to the diverse audience of pmla some of the insights, methodologies, and models for rethinking narrative, public engagement, and environmentality that the ecological digital humanities (EcoDH) offer. We are founding members of the new MLA forum TC Ecocriticism and Environmental Humanities, a collective whose existence and vigor derive from the community that social media (at their best) foster. With its syllabus exchange and participant-directed conversations, the forum's MLA Commons site owes much to the digital humanities principles of outreach, access, and inclusion. Although this electronic space is a work in progress, MLA members are using it to share pedagogical materials and research and to conduct lively discussions that push beyond the comfort zones of time period and disciplinary training. Teaching and scholarship have also been greatly enhanced by interdisciplinary networks that bridge unnecessary divides between the academy, activists, and a capaciously imagined public. Yet from the start we knew that we could not hope to be comprehensive in what we offer here. Vast and flourishing, the ecological digital humanities originate in work that spans decades. In their instantiations and concerns, they are also radically new, and the summoning of these essays marks an early attempt to establish a “futural archive,” to use a term of one of our contributors. We present in what follows snapshots of the approach's energy and emphases, a glimpse of achievements as well as intimations of possible futures. We bring together work by academics early in their careers with projects by foundational practitioners, scholars who have caused the ecological digital humanities to thrive.

The Changing Profession
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2016

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