• Sympathetic Networks:Negotiating Multiple Scholarly Identities as a PhD Student

    Julia Polyck-O'Neill (see profile)
    CSDH-SCHN 2020
    Digital humanities
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    CSDH/SCHN 2020
    Conf. Org.:
    Conf. Loc.:
    Conf. Date:
    June 1, 2020
    feminist leadership, mentorship, research assistantships, Humanities PhD
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    Nearing the completion of my PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities, I have been taking stock of my experience working between digital humanities (DH), art history, visual culture, and literary studies. One of my first doctoral courses was in DH; I remember repeatedly having to provide basic definitions of the field for both professors and colleagues to explain exactly what studying and working in “digital humanities” meant. In retrospect, this was perhaps an omen, and a sign that I would receive minimal support within my institution. When I discovered that I found DH work meaningful and compelling, I had to forge my own path, working on two separate but related tracks: my “traditional” dissertation in visual arts and poetry, recognized by my program and committee, and my independent foray into digital versions of these, which combine critical discourses in DH and Digital Art History (DAH), Electronic Literature as it relates to new media art and visual cultural studies. The roster of my “extra-curricular” DH work includes presentations of my research at CSDH and ADHO conferences, collaborations with international scholars, employment as a research assistant on DH projects of varying scales led by English, Visual Arts, and Faculty of Education faculty, regular attendance of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria since 2014, and serving on the program committee for two multi-institutional Digital Pedagogy Institutes; I will be starting a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at York University’s Sensorium Centre in 2021 that builds from my expertise in using, building, and theoretically engaging with digital archives. I have discovered that, while maintaining parallel career tracks has been time consuming, not only are the paths now merging in fruitful ways, but I have access to a network of generous mentors who have similarly needed to work against the grain of institutional conventions.
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