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In this essay, I reflect on my experience working in the field of Digital Humanities at The Graduate Center (GC) of the City University of New York (CUNY) to refute the misconception that the point of intersection of humanities and computation is dependent on robust technological infrastructure and, therefore, outside of the reach of underfunded public institutions. On the contrary, my tenure as a GC Digital Fellow suggests that the development of DH communities of practice can be an especially valuable asset for public universities, due to the waterfall effect they can produce for both the academic and the local community. Finally, I present evidence of second and third-order effects of the GC’s institutional DH culture by briefly introducing two projects developed at CUNY that both rely on and engage critically with technology: the CUNY Distance Learning Archive (CDLA), a GC class project, and QC Voices, a structured initiative established at one of the four-year CUNY colleges.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

This work was originally published as: Morello, Stefano. "Digital Humanities at CUNY: Building Communities of Practice in the Public University." América Crítica vol 4, no 2, 2020, pp. 113-122,



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