Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein
Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016 marks the start of a new book series from the University of Minnesota Press. Building on the first edition of Debates in the Digital Humanities (2012), the series will explore the most compelling debates in the field as they emerge. As digital humanities (DH) scholars and practitioners, along with their critics, continue to articulate the field, Debates in the Digital Humanities will track the issues and tensions at stake in their discussions of methods, practices, theories, controversies, projects, and politics.
Central to the vision of the series is the DH annual, a book-length publication highlighting the particular debates that have shaped the field in a given year, to be published in both interactive online and traditional print forms. The annual publication cycle will ensure time for review, reflection, and revision, while also allowing authors and readers to see the release of publications along a more rapid scholarly timeline. By identifying key issues as they unfold and by offering a hybrid model of open-access publication, the series will articulate the present contours of the field and help to shape its future.
Debates in and around the digital humanities often take place across multiple networks and platforms; in a matter of days, or even hours, initial provocations can transform into deep discussions that engage a substantial portion of the DH community. An idea presented as a blog post or published in a journal article might be challenged on Twitter or Facebook—or, as is often the case, the other way around. Indeed, the field has long defined itself by the strength of its social media presence and by the intensity of its engagement with emerging issues and ideas. But to those outside of DH, or even to those offline for a single day, the full scope of any particular discussion can be difficult to determine after the fact.
For these reasons, the annual volumes will follow the model established by the first Debates book, pairing full-length scholarly essays with shorter pieces drawn from DH blogs and conference presentations, as well as commissioned interviews and position statements. We view this “gray literature,” as it is termed, as central to the articulation of the field. Highlighting the range of work that has influenced the field during that calendar year, the annual volume will document both the work itself and its position within the larger constellation of field-level debates.
This attention to conversations across networked spaces is reflected in our publishing model, as the volumes will be published simultaneously in print, ebook, and interactive webtext formats. This last format is of particular note, since the creation of the first interactive open-access webtext version of Debates in the Digital Humanities has led the University of Minnesota Press, in partnership with the CUNY Graduate Center and through the sponsorship of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to develop a new platform and mode of publishing called Manifold Scholarship. Focusing on “iterative editions,” the platform will, like Debates in the Digital Humanities, seek to trace ideas as they evolve across the varied networked environments of scholarly communication.
As in the first volume of Debates in the Digital Humanities, the 2016 edition underwent a composite process of peer and editorial review. In an initial phase of peer-to-peer review, contributors to the volume reviewed one another’s work on a private WordPress/CommentPress website, garnering 651 substantive comments. While this process was not fully public, it nevertheless brought together the work of all contributors in a single space, allowing them to view and review the contents of the collection at an early phase. First-pass revisions were then put through extensive editorial review and revised again. As noted in the introduction to the first volume of Debates, this public/private peer-to-peer review process knit together the many contributions to the volume, creating intersecting lines of inquiry and citation.
In addition to the DH annual, the Debates in the Digital Humanities series will include special volumes on topics that warrant extended treatment. Projects in progress include volumes on critical making in the humanities; feminist debates in the digital humanities; and global digital humanities, with others to follow. Readers interested in contributing to these collections or to the annual volumes of Debates in the Digital Humanities should consult the CFP section of the project website, viewable at: http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/.
The editors wish to thank the authors of the essays included in this book for contributing their work to the collection. Operating under extremely tight deadlines, and responding with remarkable patience, industry, and care to a demanding editorial review process, they have exemplified the best qualities of the academy in their collegiality, rigor, and goodwill. We are grateful to them for entrusting us with their scholarship, the excellence of which is on display throughout this volume.
We also thank our colleagues at the University of Minnesota Press for making this series possible and for partnering with us on a project that has tested the limits of every editorial and production mechanism in the building. Special thanks are due to Doug Armato, Director of the Press, whose crystalline editorial vision has been central to the creation and development of the series since its inception, and to Danielle Kasprzak, Humanities Editor, who has guided this volume to completion. We thank the Production Department at the Press, including Daniel Ochsner and Mike Stoffel, for making this publication possible on an accelerated schedule.
Our institutions, The Graduate Center, CUNY and the Georgia Institute of Technology, supported our work on this project in numerous and indispensible ways; in particular, we wish to thank Chase F. Robinson, Louise Lennihan, Don Robotham, Mario DiGangi, Jacqueline Jones Royster, and Richard Utz for their support. At the Graduate Center, CUNY, we wish to thank Andrew T. Dunn, a doctoral candidate in English, for his exemplary work as our editorial assistant. But our deepest thanks go to our partners, Liza and Greg, and to our children, Felix, Oliver, and Loie, who supported us through every stage of this process. We are so glad to be able to spend time with you again . . . until the preparations for Debates in the Digital Humanities 2017 begin in a few months.