Why an iSchool
If you know me, you know that I’m horrible at keeping things up to date. I tend to forget people might be curious as to what I’m up to, and also notoriously juggle too many projects, so things like emails or updating my bio get pushed to the side (also standing apology if I owe you an email!). Hence my CV posted here is from maybe 2017 and my linkedin is practically a ghost town. I’m trying to be more on top of these things, though I also realize that maybe this is just the type of person I am – one who both struggles with day-to-day tasks and also if I’m being completely honest has an almost pathological need to keep most of my life private (not very millennial of me).
One major update that I haven’t posted yet is that in August I officially joined the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an Assistant Professor.
To be honest even writing that sentence still leaves me frozen with shock. Even though I’m already teaching and starting to plan future initiatives and join projects, it all still feels frankly surreal. I had for a long time assumed there was no spot in academia for someone like me - too in love with coding and computation for most history departments and too in love with thinking about how knowledge is produced for most CS departments. In the last year, I’ve been asked to join quite a few career panels and that story probably deserves its own post but suffice to say I didn’t take the established path to end up here (in fact I didn’t even until a few years ago know this option existed).
On one hand, it feels embarrassing a bit to admit that I wasn’t focused on this path since I was twelve since that seems to be the norm these days. But on the other hand, I increasingly think that maybe my lack of direction was emblematic of how until recently doing digital humanities work had to be outside of the normal established paths.
So rather than go into a long deep dive about how I ended up here, this post is largely supposed to announce that I’m at UIUC and then encourage graduate students to apply. In fact, I meant to post this a few weeks back when my new colleague (though long time academic inspiration) Ryan Cordell’s posted this fantastic “Why an iSchool?” https://ryancordell.org/research/why-iSchool/. Ryan details how he made his decision to join the iSchool and also why humanists might want to