Claire Bond Potter is a professor of history at The New School, where she directs the Digital Humanities Initiative. She is also a codirector of OutHistory.org, an LGBT digital history project. Prior to coming to The New School, she taught in the history and American studies departments of Wesleyan University for twenty years as well as at Baruch College-CUNY and the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of War on Crime: Bandits, G-Men and the Politics of Mass Culture (1998) and a coeditor, with Renee Romano, of Doing Recent History: On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History that Talks Back (2012). She is currently writing a political history of antipornography campaigns, "Beyond Pornography: How Feminism Survived the Age of Reagan," and a collection of essays on humanities scholarship in the digital age, "Digital U: Why Crowd-sourcing, Social Media, Word Press, and Google Hangouts Could Save the Historical Profession." With her students, she is producing a teaching site on the history of ACT UP and the AIDS pandemic, "The United States of AIDS." She blogged as Tenured Radical from 2006 to May 2015.
In this lecture, I reflect on several decades of transformation in our scholarly lives that have been more rapid than any other, except perhaps the 1890s, when research universities emerged as a powerful force in American life and the post-World War II years, when science and war brought millions of dollars into higher education. Historians of all ages are both excited about, and suspicious of, the role technology is playing in our teaching, scholarly and collegial lives; yet it is not an option to refuse changes we do not understand or like. Simultaneously, many of us are in the position of defending traditional curricula and pedagogies that we value; and learning the tools we need to employ to make degrees in history relevant to, and functional within, an increasingly digital environment. In this talk, I argue that the world of digital history is not a separate track: it is already embedded in everything historians do, and everything our profession can be in the future.