This job posting came across one of the listserves I read last night. It lists a tenure-track position in media studies, big data, and health care, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t want to apply for it myself. The job seems to be a beautiful clashing of discplinary walls that offers to do what universities, ideally, do best – research, reflect, plan, create, gather resources, and analyze.
Coupled with an article like this one from Forbes, it also hints at the types of collaborations that are necessary, I think, if we are to create the sorts of structures that new economic development can come from. Billy Beane is a believer in data (despite the fact that the A’s spent a month crashing to reality without Cespedes), and yet he deals in a game that has always been as much about touch and feel as any hard science. I don’t want to romanticize Beane – there is more than a bit of arrogance in him that comes with the job – but his ability to navigate two seemingly disparate geographies points to a place of intersection or interruption or disruption that digital humanities can provide, if we are smart and quick and flexible enough. As much as we might think otherwsie, we do not have a monopoly on ethics, but our different perspective (and ability to look at problems from many different directions) should be an invaluable component of any collaborative efforts to address the types of questions that MSU is asking the person who takes that job to look at.