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Friday, June 9 • 3:05pm - 3:15pm
Recalibrated Compass: Creating a Humanities, Art, and Computing (HAC) Minor at Pace University

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This talk shares our process of developing a Humanities, Art, and Computing (HAC) minor at Pace University in Lower Manhattan. The minor brings together humanistic inquiry, equity-centered design thinking, and technological problem solving to engage students in investigating and increasing public understanding of previously obscured people, places, and events on and near our campus—including the histories of both English- and Spanish-language newspapers, Chinatown, the African Burial Ground, and Lenape cultural sites. We are a collaborative team of faculty in our liberal arts and computer science schools specializing in digital humanities (DH), art, computing, and design thinking. Our goal is to create new curricular pathways that empower students to participate in critical making for social justice.  

Our prototype for the minor is an initiative called Recalibrated Compass: Counter Mapping Lower Manhattan, which connects exhibits at the Pace University Art Gallery with clusters of courses. The first such exhibit, which will open in February 2023, addresses gentrification in Manhattan’s Chinatown through an augmented reality (AR) map and zines. In collaboration with the Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB), students in a portfolio of classes during AY 2022-2023 are learning about Chinatown past and present, while participating in digital mapping, archival research, zine making, and the production of AR imagery to map spaces of resistance and facilitate collaborative placekeeping. Similar initiatives at Pace’s Design Factory will also connect local artists and activists with our curriculum.

Recalibrated Compass and the HAC minor draw on the DH and design fields. Roopika Risam’s 2019 New Digital Worlds posits, “To intervene in the digital cultural record—to tell new stories, shed light on counter-histories, and create spaces for communities to produce and share their own knowledge should they wish—is the great promise of digital humanities."[1] At Pace’s Spring 2021 Institute on Teaching and Learning, Risam delivered a keynote in which she connected that promise to “reimagining the university as a site of justice” through “interdisciplinary, community engaged” programs.[2] Risam’s vision helped our faculty to identify bridges between DH and equity-centered community design and liberatory design, which emphasize that, “as we strive for human equity, we have to be able to recognize inequity and have the ability to recognize ourselves as designers who have the power to disrupt it.”[3]
This talk will share our process, realizations, successes, and challenges as we seek to empower students to put technology to work for what Ruja Benjamin calls “retooling solidarity, reimagining social justice.”[4] Our ongoing questions include: How do we invite, respect, and support community experience and participation? How do we confront institutional barriers to operating collaboratively? We are excited to share ideas and experiences with participants.

[1] Roopika Risam, New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2019, Kindle edition), n.p.
[2] Roopika Risam, “The Engaged Futures of the University” (keynote, Institute for Teaching and Learning, Pace University, New York, NY, May 11, 2021).
[3] Creative Reaction Lab, “Equity-Centered Community Design Field Guide,” 2018, Creative Reaction Lab, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ECCDfieldguidedownload.
[4] Ruja Benjamin, Race After Technology, (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2019), 160.


Sarah Cunningham

Pace University, United States of America

Andreea Cotoranu

Pace University, United States of America

Kelley Kreitz

Associate Professor, Pace University

Friday June 9, 2023 3:05pm - 3:15pm EDT
Main 210