Design and the Digital Humanities CFP

Co-organized by our own mighty NUDHL contributor Josh Honn!
Topic: Design and the Digital Humanities

With this year’s M/MLA topic of “Art & Artifice,” the new Permanent Section on Digital Humanities will explore issues of, experiments with, and provocations on design. Digital humanities (DH) is often equated with tool-oriented, procedural tasks like text analysis and data gathering. For example, the recent MLA open access publication Literary Studies in the Digital Age, focuses on textual databases, mining, analysis, and modeling. However, Johanna Drucker, Anne Burdick, Bethany Nowviskie, Tara McPherson, and others have argued that interface and systems design, visual narrative, and graphical display are not peripheral concerns, but rather important “intellectual methods” (Burdick et al. 2012). Likewise, DH projects and publications often segment (content first, design last) and/or outsource (hire a firm, select a template) the design process, overlooking the powerful and important dialectic of design and argument, at times to the great detriment of the project itself. In an effort to further the conversation, we invite papers related to any aspect of design and the digital humanities. Possible topics/questions may include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • design of interactive fiction, hypertext fiction, and electronic literature
  • games and virtual spaces
  • hybrid digital/analog fabrication practices and the ethos of hacking, making, and crafting that surrounds them
  • tensions between original designs and prefabricated templates and visualizations
  • the relationship between content and design in a scholarly edition, web archive, course website, or other digital content management project
  • design and affect, design and imagination
  • the tendency of DH project groups to separate designers and programmers on a team; tendency to divide design concerns from “technical” concerns
  • design standards, web standards, responsive & participatory design, and issues of accessibility of online publications and projects
  • skeuomorphism vs. born-digital design?
  • design and code as language art, code poetry, etc.?

Please send 250-word abstracts by May 31st to both Josh Honn ( and Rachael Sullivan (
Co-chairs: Josh Honn (Northwestern University) and Rachael Sullivan (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

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