Global Digital Humanities Symposium

MSU Hosting First Global Digital Humanities Symposium

MSU’s Digital Humanities Program is hosting its first symposium on global digital humanities with a focus on the Global South on April 8 and 9 at Michigan State University.

The two-day symposium will address how interdisciplinary practices of digital humanities can and should speak to the global cultural record and the contemporary situation of our planet. Of particular interest is the work that’s relevant to or stems from the challenges in the Global South, which includes Africa, Asia and Latin America.

global digital humanities symposium poster

Featuring a mix of local and national speakers, the Global Digital Humanities Symposiumwill include an extended workshop as well as a variety of presentations with the goal of strengthening networks among digital humanities scholars.

The study of digital humanities has developed in a range of disciplines and locations around the world, with much of this scholarship driven by an ethical commitment to preserve and broaden access to cultural materials.  

Along with the growth of digital humanities, a number of vexing and complex issues continually surface, including, among others, questions of ownership, cultural theft, virtual exploitation, digital rights, the digital divide, and minimal computing needs. 

The Global Digital Humanities Symposium is an opportunity to broaden the conversation about these issues and will engage squarely with issues of power, access, and equity as they affect scholarship in the digital humanities.

“The Global Digital Humanities Symposium grew out of the interests of our Digital Humanities program, which offers an undergraduate minor and a graduate certificate and involves faculty and students from across the colleges of Michigan State University,” said Sean Pue, Director of Digital Humanities and Associate Professor of Hindi Language and South Asian Literature and Culture. “MSU has two well-established digital humanities research centers, MATRIX and WIDE, as well as a Digital Scholarship Collaborative in the MSU Libraries, and a faculty and staff committed to globally engaged and ethically driven research. 

“This symposium will provide an opportunity to bring some leaders in the field together with our local experts, faculty, and students to critically reflect on the practices and challenges of global digital humanities. We are thrilled by the positive responses to this symposium and hope to repeat it annually.”

The themes and topics of the symposium include:

  • the practice of digital humanities across linguistic, economic, and technological divides
  • digital humanities in the light of current geopolitics
  • the environmental impacts of digital humanities research
  • the inflection of local accents in the practices and ethics of digital humanities

Many humanities scholars at MSU currently are engaged in digital projects in the Global South, some of whom will be speaking at the symposium, including:

  • Amy DeRogatis, Professor of Religion and American Culture in the Department of Religious Studies;
  • Charles Keith, Associate Professor of Southeast Asian History in the Department of History
  • Mohammad Khalil, Associate Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, Director of the Muslim Studies Program, and Adjunct Professor of Law
  • Candace Keller, Associate Professor of African Art in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design
  • Bobby Smiley, Digital Humanities and American History Librarian

Other featured speakers include:

  • Alex Gil, Digital Scholarship Coordinator, Columbia University
  • Dorothy Kim, Assistant Professor of English, Vassar College
  • Radhika Gajjala, Professor of Media and Communication, Bowling Green State University
  • Hoyt Long, Associate Professor of Japanese Literature, East Asian Languages and civilizations, University of Chicago

Registration for the symposium is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, visit the Global Digital Humanities Symposium website at