Editors' note on the November 2021 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities
Roopika Risam and Jennifer Guiliano
Welcome to the November 2021 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanties! On the heels of our three-part special issue on Sound, we’re pleased to bring you an issue drawn on open submissions to journal.
Submissions for open issues come from multiple sources: submissions from project directors, nominations by others in the field, and suggestions from our editorial board. All projects featured in our open submission issues go through the review process we have designed:
Project directors are invited to submit ~500-word overviews describing the humanistic and technical stakes of their project;
Overviews and links to projects and related materials are sent to reviewers;
Reviewers compose an ~500-word review assessing the project.
As with many publications, the seemingly endless pandemic has made the process of finding reviewers challenging. We are finding that our time to publication for open submissions is taking longer than our goal of 90 days, which we ambitiously set prior to the pandemic. As we assess the goals of our pilot, two primary issues are significantly lengthening our review processes: 1) our digital humanities communities are at capacity personally and professionally, and 2) we frequently encounter potential reviewers who declare a conflict of interest that prevents them from undertaking a review. To improve our time to publication, however, we have begun undertaking sustained work to expand our reviewer pool. We are asking project directors to suggest potential reviewers who are free from conflicts of interest. As the editors, we independently evaluate all suggested reviewers to ensure they will provide constructive feedback in their reviews. We also seek reviewers beyond those suggested at our discretion.
In this month’s issue, the projects we feature vary significantly in field, topic, and method, but share a deep investment in reaching multiple audiences:
Stories in Stone, led by Rebe Taylor, Michael Jones, and Gavan McCarthy and reviewed by Paul Turnbull, is an annotated guide to the collections and papers of Ernest Westlake;
MFAngle, led by Tyechia Thompson and Joe Forte and reviewed by Hannah McGregor, is a podcast discussing the hidden curriculum in MFA programs;
Digitizing Rochester’s Religions, led by Margarita S. Guillory and Daniel Gorman, Jr. and reviewed by Jonathan D. Lawrence, is a public history project on religious communities in Rochester, New York; and
The Caribbean Diaspora Project, led by Mirerza Gonzalez-Velez and Nadjah Ríos Villarini and reviewed by Tiffany Gonzalez, is a digital project on carnival.
For an audience that includes researchers, scholars, and Indigenous Tasmanians, Stories in Stone makes an important contribution to the decolonization of Australian history by reframing Westlake’s depiction of Indigenous people in Tasmania in his collected works. In his review of Stories in Stone, Turnbull also calls attention to the shocking dismantling of the eScholarship Research Centre at the University of Melbourne that supported this and other projects.
Aimed at prospective and current MFA students, the MFAngle podcast sheds light on the challenges that BIPOC students experience in MFA programs. Developed as an assignment in a digital humanities course taught by Thompson, the podcast has expanded into a valuable resource that demystifies life in MFA programs.
A public history project, Digitizing Rochester’s Religions uncovers the histories and present of religious life in an area of Rochester, New York. A community-engaged project of interest to scholars and Rochester’s residents alike, it features collaboration with local religious leaders to tell a complex story of the relationship between race, white flight, and the role of religious groups in providing social services in the city.
Finally, the Caribbean Diaspora Project places user-experience driven approaches at the heart of inquiry. This project, which documents the variety of cultural practices of carnival in the Caribbean and its diasporas, considers how digital humanities projects can appeal to K-12 students and teachers, among other audiences, and how collaborative work among scholars and students can build capacity for digital humanities scholarship in a university context.
Want to be part of Reviews? You can submit a project for review, nominate a project you admire, volunteer for our reviewer pool, and tell your colleagues and students about the journal.
Questions? Thoughts? Concerns? Contact the editors, Jennifer Guiliano and Roopika Risam, by email or through the Twitter hashtag #ReviewsInDH.