Faculty, graduate students, alumni, and staff from History partnered with colleagues at Matrix and in Anthropology to stage three digital humanities and social sciences sessions at the annual meeting of the African Studies Association in November 2014.
Three dozen scholars attended a pre-conference Digital African Studies workshop. This four-hour event introduced participants to concepts, projects, and digital tools that help academics find new interpretive paths and connections in their courses and research. Presenters included: Walter Hawthorne, Liz Timbs, Ethan Watrall, Dean Rehberger, Peter Alegi, and Brandon Locke.
Two days later, Watrall, Timbs, and Hawthorne joined Carla Martin and John Mugane (both from Harvard) in a roundtable about cultural mapping, digital pedagogy, online multimedia repositories and databases. The presentations sparked a vigorous discussion about the significant opportunities and not insignificant challenges of working with IT tools, open access and open sources approaches, international partnerships, best practices, research ethics, and the digital divide.
Last but not least, Laura Seay (Colby College), Alegi, and Rehberger participated in a roundtable focused on merging professional and personal online identities. The wide-ranging dialogue with the audience pivoted around the role of social media (e.g. Twitter, Tmblr, Facebook), blogs, podcasts in advancing Africa-focused research, teaching, and public engagement.