Colloquium: Jessica Tebo and T.J. McLemore

Date(s) - 09/08/2022
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


Jessica Tebo and T.J. McLemore,  Ph.D. candidates at University of Colorado Boulder will present for the Humanities Center’s weekly colloquium on Thursday, September 8th. The presentation will be held at 3:00 PM in room 4010 JFSB.

Jessica Tebo is a second-year Ph.D. student. She is primarily interested in the long nineteenth-century novel, particularly representations of female mobility. Jessica graduated with her M.A. in Literature from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 2018. Her thesis, “Letters from Olive Fremstad to Willa Cather: A View Beyond The Song of the Lark,” won the Folsom Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award. She is also the winner of the NCAA’s most distinguished academic award, The Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship. Her digital humanities experience includes editorial and coding work for the Willa Cather Archive, creating ArcGIS story maps for History Nebraska, earning a certification in Python from CU’s ATLAS program, and working as an Assistant Editor and Project Manager for Romantic Circles.

T. J. McLemore is a PhD candidate at CU Boulder specializing in contemporary speculative literature with an emphasis on ecological approaches to science fictions, speculative verse, and the new weird. His dissertation project draws on speculative poetics, complexity theory, digital posthumanities, and critical environmental justice studies to argue for the importance of “speculative ecologies” in staging slow mutations in human imagination, thought, and performance. McLemore is the author of the poetry chapbook Circle / Square (Autumn House, 2020), and his poems, interviews, and reviews appear in Best New PoetsNew England ReviewCrazyhorseKenyon ReviewLitMag32 PoemsPoetry DailyAdroit JournalPrairie Schooner, and other publications. For the past three years, McLemore has served as Technical Editor of the digital humanities platform Romantic Circles.

Title: What Every Student (and Faculty Member) Should Know About DH

Established in 1996 by the University of Maryland’s English Department, the scholarly website Romantic Circles is frequently cited as an early example of cutting-edge digital humanities (DH) scholarship. When the University of Colorado took over as publisher in 2018, our technical editorial staff of graduate students quickly realized that the site was in desperate need of a complete rebuild,  and they have spent the past year working with a team of undergraduate computer science majors to accomplish this task. This rebuild project has forced us not only to prioritize the invisible work of frontend/backend development over producing new academic publications, but also to rethink some of the more traditional models of digital humanities projects. Rebuilding Romantic Circles has raised concerns for us about the sustainability of the digital humanities in the face of rapidly accelerating web technologies and competencies, funding issues, and a movement towards the financialization of the digital commons.

In short, the problems faced by our team at Romantic Circles over the past year have given us ample opportunities to reflect upon the future of digital humanities and the humanities as a whole. We have, however, deliberately chosen to view these challenges as an opportunity to dramatically rethink the way in which we approach the sustainability and ethics of producing academic scholarship that reaches a broader audience, that represents marginalized communities, and that doesn’t exploit student labor. Our experience in DH has foregrounded for us the importance of both humility and collaboration as fundamental to all scholarship as the humanities faces an existential reckoning. Finally, we believe that freely sharing both technical and scholarly information is essential to the survival of DH. We look forward to sharing the challenges, resources, and marketable skills that we have learned.

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