What I'd Most Like to Do or Discuss

April 26th, 2010 |

Here’s what I wrote in my application:

I’d like to talk about the hegemony of Microsoft Word® and what we in the digital humanities might do about it – nay, why we might want to do something about it. I can’t remember ever meeting a professor who doesn’t mainly use Microsoft Word® to write academic prose (though I know they exsit), or a student who doesn’t exclusively use Microsoft Word® to write their research papers (though I’m sure they probably exist as well). When I tell people I generally don’t use Microsoft Word®, I often get confused looks, as if they’re thinking, “Well, how does he write then?” Indeed, Microsoft Word® is the de facto word processing program in most of contemporary academe and Microsoft Word® documents are often the de jure file format when it comes to things like journal submissions. What this means, of course, is that even people such as myself who don’t and don’t want to use Microsoft Word®, find themselves forced to deal with .doc/.docx documents all the time, hence the hegemony of Microsoft Word®. Why is this the case? (e.g., Microsoft Word® is subsidized by universities.) Why might it not be the most ideal state of affairs? (e.g., The tools we use to write inform the way we write.) What might be some of the alternatives? (e.g., Plain text, Markdown, HTML, LaTeX, Google Docs, programs like Srivener, Zotero instead of EndNote, etc.) How might we resist Microsoft Word® in our teaching practices? (e.g., What if we required students to submit research papers in plain text? Or what would happen if we required students to use a non-WYSIWYG word processing program?) These are some of the issues I hope to explore with a group of digital humanists interested in thinking critically about the technologies we use every day in our research and teaching.

I’m sure others have thoughts on some of these things as well – some of them likely more developed than mine – and I would be very interested in hearing them. In fact, this being my first THATCamp, I’m more interested in hearing what other people think and in participating in multiple conversations than I am in holding worth on Microsoft Word®, though I’m happy to do that too.

That said, I finally booked my plane ticket to THATCamp and am now looking for a someone to share a room with on Friday and Saturday nights. Anyone?

Comments Feed

One Response to “What I'd Most Like to Do or Discuss”

  1. Lincoln Mullen Says:

    At the beginning of the academic year I ditched MS Word for OpenOffice.Org, and have been glad for the change. This topic sounds like it would make for a good discussion. I’d particularly like to hear people talk about LaTeX as well.


  • Recent Comments

    THATCampers can use the blog and comments to talk about session ideas. Follow along by subscribing to the comments feed and to the blog feed!

    • thuyanh: A friend and I have actually made a video response that defends the “dumbest generation” and we...
    • Steven Hayes: Hi, just read your “project retrain” description as part of my background reading for...
    • Peter: Just curious: Is there a version of the National Register Nomination Form in some kind of database format,...
    • Samuel Teshale Derbe: This is excactly what I have been looking for.I have been recently invited to contribute to a...
    • plr articles: Just added more knowledge to my “library-head” :D
  • Twitter

    Here's what others are saying about THATCamp on Twitter

    • No items

    All Posts

  • THATCamp Prime Collaborative Documents
  • THATCamp Prime evaluation
  • New session: The THATCamp Movement
  • THATCamp on Flickr
  • Visualizing Subjectivity
  • More Twitter Visualizations
  • Remixing Academia
  • What THATCampers have been tweeting about (pre-camp)
  • Late to the Stage: Performing Queries
  • Humanist Readable Documentation
  • Zen Scavenger Hunt
  • The (in)adequacies of markup
  • One Week, One Book: Hacking the Academy
  • Analogizing the Sciences
  • Digital Literacy for the Dumbest Generation
  • Teaching Students Transferable Skills
  • Modest Proposals from a Digital Novice
  • Creative data visualizations
  • OpenStreetMap for Mapping of Historical Sites
  • soft circuits
  • Mostly Hack…
  • A Contextual Engagement
  • ARGs, Archives, and Digital Scholarship
  • Playing With the Past: Pick One of Three
  • DH centers as hackerspaces
  • All Courseware Sucks
  • HTML5
  • Dude, I Just Colleagued My Dean
  • The Future of Interdisciplinary Digital Cultural Heritage Curriculum (oh yeah, and games as well)
  • Project "Develop Self-Paced Open Access DH Curriculum for Mid-Career Scholars Otherwise Untrained"
  • what have you done for us lately?
  • Digital Storytelling: Balancing Content and Skill
  • Visualizing text: theory and practice
  • Plays Well With Others
  • Citing a geospatial hootenanny
  • Reimagining the National Register Nomination Form
  • documentation: what's in it for us?
  • Sharing the work
  • Digital Humanities Now 2.0 and New Models for Journals
  • Finding a Successor to Paper and Print
  • "Writing Space"
  • From Scratch
  • Cultivating Digital Skills and New Learning Spaces
  • Surveying the Digital Landscape Once Again
  • Building and designing projects for long term preservation
  • Collecting the Digital Story: Omeka and the New Media Narrative
  • Design Patterns for DH Projects
  • Chronicling America: They gave us an API. What do we do now?
  • Social Media and the History Non-Profit
  • THATCamp-in-a-Box
  • Teaching Collaboration
  • Geolocation, Archives, and Emulators (not all at once)
  • The Sound of Drafting
  • The Schlegel Blitz ("Only connect…")
  • Text Mining Scarce Sources
  • Applying open source methodology and economics to academia
  • What I'd Most Like to Do or Discuss
  • Hacking ethics for edupunks
  • Mobile technology and the humanities
  • Audiences and Arguments for Digital History
  • Open Peer Review
  • Who Wants To Be A Hacker?
  • Please advise
  • Greetings from the new Regional THATCamp Coordinator!
  • 2010 Applications Open!