In 2018, Humanities Commons honored one of the most time-honored traditions of the season: summer camp. We hosted a virtual summer camp for users old and new. It helped participants to update, build, and achieve an outstanding digital presence through HC. Please check out the discussions from Summer 2018 to see the fantastic work and thought-provoking conversations that our participants took part in last year.

In 2019, we hosted two Humanities Commons Summer Refresh Workshops. These events encouraged you to set aside time to update your digital presence on HC. The group is a space to ask questions, connect with other users, and see the various exciting ways that other scholars use HC to build their presence online.

You can use these materials as you update your presence on the Commons.

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Challenge #2: Networking (6/11-24)

20 replies, 14 voices Last updated by Jeannette Vaught 5 years, 7 months ago
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    • #14340

      Caitlin Duffy

      Welcome to your second challenge!

      Whether you completed the first challenge or not, we encourage you to take part in our networking challenge! It will help you to explore two different methods of finding Humanities Commons users and engage with Humanities Commons groups.

      The full details and instructions for our second challenge can be found on our blog.

      Use this space to share your accomplishments, challenges, and discoveries once you’ve completed the challenge. Did you learn anything new? Is there anything that you’re excited about as a result of following users and/or joining and engaging with groups? Did you come across any challenges or difficulties? Are there any groups that we should know about? Do you have any questions about networking and groups on Humanities Commons?

      I look forward to hearing your experiences with our second challenge! Keep up the good work!

    • #14341

      Kate Koppy

      Just in case anyone else had trouble finding the Humanities Commons homepage for item 1 of Challenge 2…….

      Once you log in, click on the Humanities Commons logo in the upper left of screen.

      It’s such a useful page, and I’m grateful that this challenge prompted me to find it. 🙂

      • #14400

        Caitlin Duffy

        @KKoppy Thanks for looking out!


         Thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts! When the platform launched, the Humanities Commons team debated whether or not they wanted to allow members to see who others are following and ultimately decided that they didn’t want this to be visible. While they understand that seeing who other members are following could allow users to discover relevant profiles, they didn’t want the Commons to take on the sort of popularity contest quality that tend to characterize other social media platforms.


        Thanks for sharing your experience for this challenge (and for calling me awesome 🙂 ). I’m excited to see the discussion your post on Animal Studies generates!


        and @Sbanville Thanks for sharing your experiences! I’m happy to hear that this challenge was helpful for you both! One thing I might recommend to help you get the most out of the groups you’ve joined is to start discussions regardless of whether or not that group has a lot of activity already. Humanities Commons groups can only reach their full potential through you, the users, so it’s really up to us to make the activity happen.

    • #14369

      Andrew Carroll

      So I’ve gone and added anyone who shares interest in the Etruscans, I’ve found there are very few people here who are in those groups. I wish there was a way to see the members that other people follow. I wonder if some of the people I follow are following Etruscan Scholars who just have not added Etruscan to their interest and so are not coming up when I click on that topic.

    • #14373

      Sara Santos

      Hello, everyone!

      I’ve just completed Challenge #2. I started following 5 people, mostly scholars in postcolonial ecocriticism, Global South lit and environmental humanities, and joined 2 new groups, Animal Studies and Lit and Economics. At first I had difficulty finding people with similar interests, perhaps because I was searching very specific terms, so I broadened the search and found that there’s a large number of people on HCommons with interest in ecocriticism and Global South lit. I think the slightly more challenging part was starting a discussion. I almost never participate in these group discussions, so this time I created a discussion thread using one of the strategies suggested by our awesome camp director. I asked the Animal Studies group which 3 key texts they would recommend to anyone in the field of animal and environmental studies. We’ll see what replies I get!

      Overall, this challenge was helpful in encouraging me to engage more actively in digital communities!

    • #14375

      Nina Lager Vestberg

      I’ve started following three more people, and joined one more group. I am pondering whether to start a new discussion topic in one of the groups or reply to an existing one, but haven’t decided yet. None of the groups I’ve found as yet have an enormous amount of recent activity, so I’m not sure which would be the best option for the purposes of the challenge. But at least I have now posted a discussion reply to each of the two HC Summer Camp challenges so far 🙂

    • #14394

      Scott Banville

      I’ve added a few more folks–and even found a few that I follow on Twitter as well.

      I’ve also joined two more groups. Both the ones I’m most interested don’t have a very active discussion board so I’m thinking I may add a discussion topic here.

    • #14410

      Kirsten Ashley Bussière

      I found a few people to follow so far and I will continue to look for more. In one of the groups I posted a new topic but nobody has answered just yet on Humanities Commons. On Twitter though I had a fellow scholar respond to my tweet which summarized what I did for this challenge and the topic of my discussion. It turns out that we both are working on mapping and literature so I guess this networking activity helped me network elsewhere as well.

    • #14411

      Charlie Gleek

      There are precious few folks on HC-some of whom I already correspond with- who work in and around AfAm Print Culture, Consequently, I followed a few folks who work in DH as this is an area of interest and I’m in need of some network connections as my program has lost it’s DH faculty. The groups I’m looking to join lack active discussion threads; if anything, the activity in these groups are CFPs and deposits (I’m guilty of posting these and not participating in the discussion as well). My reading of this thread makes me think that a lack of discussion is not uncommon here at HC (?)


    • #14421

      Caitlin Duffy

      @Kirstenbussiere Thanks for sharing! I’m happy to hear you made contact with someone in your field through this networking activity! I guess the fact that it happened outside of HC (but while discussing your HC work!) just goes to show how far your digital presence extends! 🙂 Feel free to keep the group updated if anything comes of this connection, we’d love to hear about it!

    • #14422

      Caitlin Duffy

      @Cgleek Thanks for sharing your experiences with this challenge, and welcome to the camp! I hope HC can help you stay connected to a DH community.

      Yes, the Humanities Commons team has also noticed less activity in some of the public, subject-based groups and has been trying to think about how to encourage more discussion and community. It’s really up to the users to keep these groups lively, so it’s important that we consider what features or moves might help.

      I’m going to post a question to this group asking if anyone has ideas about how to liven up dead groups. Also, the mini-challenge blog post (to appear early next week) has some more thoughts about what could help a group foster more engagement.

    • #14429

      Lisa L. Tyler

      I’ve found a number of people to follow, but I’ve been disappointed that there are so few people in Hemingway studies and even modernism more generally who have a presence here. I think one of the problems is that those groups have existing networks (email lists, newsletters, journals, Facebook groups) already and don’t see the need to join. Still trying to find somewhere I could logically post a question about my research interests.


      • #14431

        Lisa L. Tyler

        Since I’m working on an essay on Hemingway and ecocriticism, I decided to ask the Environmental Humanities group about texts I should read on ecocriticism and modernism more generally. I’ll be interested to see what happens next.

    • #14463

      Dana Gavin

      This challenge was difficult for me at first — until @kirstenbussiere posted about completing the challenge on Twitter, was retweeted by HC, and I found out how networking can manifest!

      Like everyone (I imagine), I felt awkward starting a new conversation in groups that seemed inert, but I understand that if no one overcomes the awkwardness, communities die off. Which is depressing, because I have had great success networking on Twitter, and I would like to have another complementary platform to use for longer discussions, document sharing, etc.

      In order to complete this challenge, I got off Twitter for five seconds and posted a longer response to Kirsten’s inquiry — the sort of response Twitter really can’t handle. I really appreciate events like this Summer Camp, and folks like @caitlinduffy49, for inspiring the kind of action that can keep this place thriving.

    • #14505

      Mollie Freier

      I’d already joined some groups and followed two people, but I checked out the membership of the groups I’d already joined and added some people to follow. I also found a group on Digital Pedagogy that intrigued me, so I joined that.

      The group on Detective Fiction doesn’t have a lot of traffic–people have posted some work, but there didn’t seem to be any discussion. I did post a question about any work people were doing on cozy mysteries, but I really don’t expect an answer right away.

      That said, I intend to post a link to Humanities Commons and the Detective Fiction group to an e-mail list on mystery and detective fiction, and I’ll probably post on Twitter as well. There’s a good deal more going on in the field than is reflected in that group.

    • #14519

      Caitlin Duffy

      @Djgavin Thanks for being part of (what looks like) a helpful discussion on the Speculative and Science Fiction group! I also appreciate your observation that Twitter and HC groups may not offer the same sort of networking possibilities. It might be helpful for all of us to strategically consider which platform(s) we want to invest time in and how exactly we want to use them. I also use Twitter and HC, but I think I can be more thoughtful in the ways that I use them. Thanks for bringing that up!

      Thanks for spreading HC and the Detective Fiction group to your email list. The participants on your list may be interested in one of HC’s newer features, which allows group members to post new discussion threads and respond to pre-existing threads using their emails. The HC added this feature partly to continue the benefits of email discussions that list serves and other email lists provide. This new feature might also be helpful to your groups, @ltyler.

    • #14541

      Caitlin Duffy

      I forgot to mention this during our first challenge, but I am completing each activity with you all.

      For this challenge, I followed a few more users based on the personal recommendations list on my homepage. I also joined the group @sarastarbucksantos created (over here) and responded to her introductory post. I look forward to the discussions we’ll have!



    • #14563

      Eliseo Jacob

      I’ve actually enjoyed completing the second challenge.  I did not realize how many scholars in my field already had profiles on H-Commons.  Hopefully this will encourage me to reach out more to other academics and network over projects and research that we have in common.

      I joined several groups related to my research.  For the task to create a new discussion thread in a group, I decided to share a call for papers for a symposium on Black literature in Latin America taking place in Brazil in November: 

    • #14584

      Joelle Mann

      Hi everyone,

      Happy Friday!  I joined several new groups: Comics Scholarship/Comics Studies, Narrative theory and Narratology, Autofiction, and Neoliberal Fiction (thanks @sarastarbucksantos). I started threads in two of the groups based on what I’m currently working on (both having to do with voice and co-mix). I also tried to join groups that seem to have more participants. I have, in the past, found the groups not to be very helpful, so I’m hoping to get some responses. I didn’t start a new group, but that might be my next step.

      Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions and ideas on this discussion.


    • #14613

      Kirsten Ashley Bussière

      I’ve been having a really good time discussing maps and speculative fiction with  @djgavin in the Science and Speculative Fictions group. This challenge has allowed me to network with people working on some similar but different tasks that I think will allow for fruitful discussion of maps and literature and the act of creating maps more generally.

      I also went ahead and did the second part of the challenge and created a Utopian Studies group to discuss topics related to utopias, utopianism, utopian literature, utopian theory, and intentional communities.

    • #14776

      Jeannette Vaught


      I came to this challenge a bit late, but it is a very good one!  I joined a few groups with varying levels of activity, and created two new ones (Science and Technology Studies and Agricultural History).

      It was great to have another summer camper to chat with over on the Animal Studies list 🙂

      One question I have is an HC identity one: many animal studies scholars already have vibrant discussion hubs going on other internet places (i.e., H-Net) — how might HC develop a different, but no less robust discussion space?


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