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Call for Papers

Invisible Work in the Digital Humanities
Special Issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly (2018)

Guest editors: Tarez Samra Graban, Paul F. Marty, Allen Romano, and Micah Vandegrift
Florida State University

Project Description

At a recent symposium at Florida State University, digital humanists, librarians, and technology specialists explored the challenges of diverging expectations, unequal labor, and invisible work in the digital humanities -- http://iwdh.cci.fsu.edu/. The symposium provided an opportunity for participants to address questions such as the following: In intellectual and economic climates that prioritize external over internal validation, how do we define and defend the value of the digital humanities work? Whom do our projects and conversations include and exclude? How can we make the invisible work of digital humanities workers more visible? and What is the epistemic potential for questioning agency, access, participation, and use in digital humanities projects?

To further explore these questions, the symposium organizers are pleased to announce a special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly (DHQ) to be published in late 2018. For this special issue, we seek contributions that theorize, highlight, and illustrate the challenges facing researchers and practitioners in the digital humanities when their work is invisible to a wide range of audiences and stakeholders. Questions to be addressed in this issue include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the nature of invisible work in the digital humanities, to whom is this work invisible, and why might they not see it?
  • What problems arise when invisible work in the digital humanities remains invisible, and how can we address those problems?
  • To whom should we strive to make invisible work in the digital humanities visible, and why should we focus our efforts on those entities or individuals?
  • Conversely, should "visibility" be an unquestioned value in the digital humanities, within or without of the academic institution, or is there an inherent value to work being invisible?
  • How might we write a counter-narrative to the kinds of external validation that often drive (and often kill) most digital humanities initiatives? What would that counter-narrative look like?
  • How might we argue for making invisible work in the digital humanities more visible internally (to ourselves) rather than externally (to outside observers), and what might the consequences of such a decision be?
  • How can a focus on the internal or external validation of invisible work in the digital humanities heighten the unique methodologies of practitioners in certain disciplines, or bring their fields' critical questions into deeper relief?


For this special issue, we seek contributions of two principal types:

  • Article-length pieces describing original research (~8000 words in length); and
  • Substantive, provocative, opinion-driven short essays (~1500 words in length).

If you wish, you may submit an optional abstract for feedback from the editors by emailing your abstract (max. 500 words) to Tarez Samra Graban (tgraban@fsu.edu) by June 1, 2017.

Please follow Digital Humanities Quarterly's guidelines for preparation, content, formatting, and submission: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/submissions/. All submissions should be marked as intended for the special issue on "Invisible Work in the Digital Humanities." We prefer submissions in RTF, OpenOffice, or Word, but may be able to work with other formats as needed.

If you have any questions about this special issue, please contact the editors by emailing Tarez Samra Graban at tgraban@fsu.edu.


  • Optional Abstract Deadline: June 1, 2017
  • Manuscript Submission Deadline: November 15, 2017
  • Review Decisions/Acceptances: May 15, 2018
  • Final Versions Due: September 1, 2018
  • Publication: End of 2018

A PDF version of this CFP is available at http://iwdh.cci.fsu.edu/dhq_cfp.pdf