I’d like to propose a Talk session titled “Envisioning a Digital Harrisburg.” I’ve been deeply impressed with projects such as Digital Durham, Digital Harlem, and other digital humanities projects focused on the history, culture, and forms of social life of various cities. The City of Harrisburg and the surrounding Central Pennsylvania region has a rich history and cultural life. Moreover, in many respects, though we don’t think of it as such, Harrisburg is a “global” city, experiencing its own cultural and political changes over time through patterns of immigration, economic displacement, and the simple fact of its being enmeshed like everywhere else in large scale movements of capital and commerce. What would it look like to give Harrisburg and its surrounding regions that kind of close critical attention that humanists always give, and to disseminate the knowledge that we produce through the various digital tools available to us? Such a project could have the potential for bringing together a number of educational and civic organizations in the area, combining scare resources to achieve larger contributions to the cultural and civic life of the area than we could accomplish separately.
Some Questions to be discussed in this session:
1. What are the projects that individuals or institutions already have underway that touch on Harrisburg and the Central Pennsylvania region?
2. Where do those projects overlap or where could they complement and reinforce each other?
3. What are some areas of history and culture in the region that might be especially interesting to examine? Oral histories of immigration? Connections between local and national politics? Harrisburg as a center for jazz and other forms of musical development?
4. Would it be worthwhile to imagine incorporating some of these projects in to a larger scale project on the order of a Digital Durham or Digital Harlem? What kinds of collaborative models might work and what kinds of resources might be necessary? What benefits might accrue to different institutions and their constituencies?