The first guest of the Digital Humanities Initiative’s “Conversations in the Digital Humanities” series was Dr. Corina Moldovan, director of the Transylvania Digital Humanities Centre DigiHUBB, at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, on October 4.
As a conversation starter, Moldovan introduced DigiHUBB, thus far the only DH center in Romania. She also presented what she thinks are viable strategies for establishing a DH center in an East Central European country. She pointed out that while challenges exist within the traditional structures and mentalities of post-socialist academia in applying digital technologies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, support coming from the growing IT sector in these countries may balance out these challenges.
DigiHUBB received methodological and moral support from Western European and American DH centers from the earliest stages of its planning, Moldovan said. This encouragement was combined with technical expertise and investment coming from the tech companies of Cluj, “Transylvania’s Silicon Valley,” which in the recent years has become one of Europe’s IT start-up centers.
Her talk was followed by a conversation between Moldovan and the two interlocutors, DHI’s Jessie Labov and Marcell Sebok, assistant professor in the Department of Medieval Studies at CEU, about the specifics and outcomes of the DH projects DigiHUBB has overseen, including an interactive map of Transylvania’s wooden churches and a text analytical project of the works of 19th century French novelists. During the Q&A session, members of the audience engaged in a discussion with Moldovan about the role of DigiHUBB in Cluj-Napoca’s upcoming events as the 2021 European Capital of Culture.