On Saturday, November 4, 2017, leaders of the CUNY Humanities Alliance and the Futures Initiative’s CUNY Leadership Fellows Program presented at the HASTAC 2017 conference at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, FL. “Reimagining the Digital Humanities with ‘New Majority’ Students for Public Higher Education” was designed to consider the following questions: When we talk about the digital humanities as scholars and practitioners in higher education, who do we imagine to be the students of this emerging field? How is this connected to efforts to make the digital humanities more inclusive and interdisciplinary? The interactive session invited audience participants to meditate on these questions to reimagine the digital humanities for today’s “new majority” students who are increasingly students of color, as well as low-income, first-generation, and community college students.
During the hour-long session, Kitana Ananda (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, CUNY Humanities Alliance), Lauren Melendez (The Futures Initiative’s Leadership Fellows Program Director & Administrative Specialist) and Mike Rifino (Futures Initiative Fellow and PhD student in Developmental Psychology) presented a brief overview of the digital humanities tools and methods used in each program, along with examples of student work. Undergraduate leaders Cherishe Cumma (CityTech and FI Leadership Fellow) and Jenny Perez Bruno (City College and FI Leadership Fellow) discussed their experiences within the Leadership Fellows program, with a focus on peer mentorship at the intersection of digital literacy, writing and the humanities more broadly. Members of the audience shared what they found inspiring about the students’ presentations. The session demonstrated how programmatic structures that create a space for students in reimagining the digital humanities could provide the field with a renewed sense of purpose.
For a play-by-play of the session, take a look at our collaborative notes.