Something Like a Bio
I’m Kathleen Fitzpatrick. My official job title is Director of Digital Humanities and Professor of English at Michigan State University. I direct several other things besides, including MESH Research, a lab dedicated to developing open-source, interoperable, academy-owned tools for the future of scholarly communication. Key among our projects is Humanities Commons, an open-access network serving more than 30,000 scholars and practitioners across – and beyond – the humanities and around the world.
Humanities Commons, like much of my work across my career, is focused on facilitating resilient, sustainable scholarly communities and enabling their processes of communication to foreground connection, conversation, and collaboration. We launched Humanities Commons in late 2016, during my stint as Associate Executive Director and Director of Scholarly Communication of the Modern Language Association. The network built on lessons we’d learned from our prior work with MLA Commons, as well as from MediaCommons, a network for scholars and students in media studies, which I co-founded with Avi Santo and with enormous support from the Institute for the Future of the Book and the NYU Libraries.
Alongside this network-building work, I write. I’ve published three single-authored books – Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University (Hopkins Press, 2019); Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy (NYU Press, 2011); and The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (Vanderbilt Press, 2006) – and was lead author on the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. I’ve also been blogging since 2002, originally at plannedobsolescence.net and most recently at kfitz.info. (It remains to be seen whether the blog, and the domain name, will follow me here.) Since January 2022, I’ve served as president of the board of directors of the Educopia Institute, and I’ve been a member of the board of directors of the Council on Library and Information Resources since 2013. I was also president of the Association for Computers and the Humanities from 2020 to 2022.