Although he couldn’t make it to our Google Hangout, Jason Heppler was kind enough to respond by email to some questions that I sent him. Feel free to chime in with further questions or comments!
1. Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your individual research interests.
I am a historian of the twentieth century American West and digital history. My Master’s thesis and accompanying digital history project studied how mass media covered the Trail of Broken Treaties in 1972, a Native American protest that included marching on Washington D.C. and occupying the Bureau of Indian Affairs for seven days. Early in my Ph.D. program, I was hired to serve as the project manager on the William F. Cody Archive at the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. I’m currently working on a born-digital scholarly article about Cody and Native Americans hired to perform in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.
Lisa Spiro, the Director of NITLE Labs, has a long history of involvement in the digital humanities, and her career shows some of the unique career opportunities available through that involvement.
After receiving her B.A. in English and history here at Rice, Dr. Spiro received her Ph.D at the University of Virginia, where she worked some on the Valley of the Shadow Project mentioned on the first day of class. At Virginia, she began an interest in DH work (and particularly in text encoding) that continued after she became the director of the Digital Media Center here at Rice.
While here, Dr. Spiro started a widely-read blog on Digital Scholarship in the Humanities as well as a widely-used wiki on Digital Research Tools (DiRT). Those ventures led to speaking invitations and new opportunities for collaboration that eventually took Dr. Spiro to her new position at NITLE, where she is also overseeing the start-up of Anvil Academic, a digital publisher in the humanities.
Our first guest speaker this semester will be Scott Nesbit. In preparation for his visit, please take a look at the site Visualizing Emancipation and familiarize yourself with what it does.
Nesbit is also featured in A Conversation with Digital Historians, a very helpful interview published in the journal Southern Spaces. The interview covers topics ranging from the technical challenges of digital history work to the professional possibilities it has opened up. Check it out!