Endings are harder than beginnings. No matter how worn out we feel at the end of a week of DHSI, we have carefully honed a new knowledge set, and in the process have become part of new networks that reinforce and extend our existing networks and the communities that they foster. The end of DHSI this year is a special ending. Not only is it the culmination, for me, of six years of apprenticeship in the digital humanities, but it is also a marker of an impressive amount of personal, intellectual and communal growth. I can’t help but look back and see how far we have come individually and collectively since our first time here.
I am an affective writer, so I am compelled to write this one last post to acknowledge, but not fully express, the conflicting and overwhelming affective experience that has been DEMiC for me for the last six years. It has been frustrating, exhausting and overwhelming. It has been exhilarating, reassuring and empowering. It has encapsulated so much pain, and so much hope. There really are no words.
The thing that I can most decisively point to and hold onto at this important ending is the community that has grown out of this experience and has taken root. I have strong faith that I know who ‘my people’ are and where to find them. The sense of affiliation and devotion I feel to many of you does not have an end date. It doesn’t have research allocations and it can’t be fully explicated on my CV under the general auspices of professionalization. It is more clannish and less coherent. I guess, it is, at the end of this experience, a very clear and concrete understanding that my work does not exist in a vacuum, that my work is part of a larger whole that has an invested audience and means something to someone outside of my institution and outside of my own head. As a scholar, it also means that I also mean something to someone outside of my institution thanks to this community. Our ground is fertile and it has produced much fruit.
At the end of this last DHSI, I just wanted to take one last opportunity to celebrate and mourn this wild journey we have undertaken. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this project and this community during a formative period in the lives of so many Canadian literary scholars. Goodbye, DEMiC. Goodbye, DHSI.
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