Lauren Klein, assistant professor in the Georgia Tech School of Literature, Media, and Communication, was featured as one of five “rising stars” of the digital humanities in an article in Inside Higher Ed, “The New Wave in Digital Humanities.”
How can you do digital humanities at an engineering school? Klein models how to both practice digital humanities and cultivate a broad interest in the humanities. Working at a large public research institution, Klein founded the DH Lab to create meaningful research opportunities for students.
“Students tend to come in with computational questions, and it’s my job to introduce them to humanistic ones,” she explains. While her undergraduates are eager to perform portfolio-worthy technical research, Klein also brings students to the annual Alliance of Digital Humanities Organization (ADHO) conference, where they present on humanities work.
Klein’s own scholarship deploys data visualization in conjunction with literary and critical techniques, calling attention to people and stories that might otherwise be overlooked. Janet Murray, associate dean for research and faculty affairs, observed, “Lauren’s work is among the most sophisticated technically and critically of those practicing digital humanities.”
In addition to visualizing the culinary labor of the enslaved men and women who cooked for Thomas Jefferson, Klein’s most recent work, The Shape of History, completed with her students, excavates forgotten historical visualization schemes.
“Lauren is a brilliant scholar, a skilled researcher, a careful editor, and generous collaborator,” explained Gold. “I wanted to edit Debates in the Digital Humanities with her because she is independent-minded, fair, empathetic, and wise; she has a great sense of where the field is and where it is heading.”
Klein and Gold are uniquely equipped to shape digital humanities through Debates, one of the field’s pre-eminent publications. “I see my role as helping to clarify and amplify the perspectives that our writers each bring to the book,” said Klein. “The field can only gain by placing people in conversation.”
Klein hopes these various practitioners will use digital humanities to facilitate collaboration. “I think we will see a continuation of the specialization and sophistication that has characterized the most exemplary recent work in the field,” she noted. “But I’d hate to see that come along with additional barriers. We’ll only need more ways of facilitating conversation, collaboration, and credit as the field continues to grow.”
For the full article, read here.