I’m Carrie Johnston, the Digital Humanities Research Designer at Wake Forest University. In my position I work with faculty and students from a range of departments on innovative projects. My Ph.D. is in English, but my research and teaching are not limited to literature; I have been lucky enough to find a position that encourages the multi-disciplinary curiosity that I can’t seem to shake, and that facilitates partnerships that result in new modes of scholarly research. Some of the projects in which I have been involved include collaborating on an upper-division art history course that is designing a smartphone application for a local museum; working with students in an introductory English course to develop digital stories; and augmenting modernist texts with maps, images, sound and film.
I was a reluctant DHer at first, but I quickly learned that digital scholarship opens up new ways of thinking and doing. It’s easy to be intimidated by DH—the digital world moves fast, and there are a lot of failures on the way to successful outcomes. Collaborations often involve stepping out of your comfort zone and learning to speak the language of different disciplines. But these new experiences minimize the distance between you and colleagues in departments you previously found foreign and confusing, while opening up areas of inquiry you never thought possible. Your very small academic world is shaken up on a daily basis, and research becomes a compelling way to reckon with your blind spots that once seemed impossible to transcend.
In the courses I teach, I encourage my students not to ignore these inevitable blind spots and biases, but to embrace them as a productive starting point on the way to a greater understanding of the world around them. I believe that what professors teach in the classroom, as well as the academic articles we write and the conference papers we present, all have their foundation outside of the classroom. The literary texts I teach came about in response to moments of historical change, or in protest of oppressive cultural norms. As a result, I approach texts as products of their environment, rather than pristine aesthetic objects. Yes, literature is beautiful, but it’s also messy, controversial, and exciting. And that’s how university classes should be, too.
On this website you’ll find my CV, recent talks and projects, and sample syllabi. Thanks for visiting my page!