Cathy N. Davidson
Director, HASTAC / Co-Director, PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge
Cathy N. Davidson's main contributions have been in the areas of history and theory of technology, including history of the book, history of industrialism and postindustrialism, and history of new technologies and society. As Vice Provost of Interdisciplinary Studies, innovative new cross-campus technologies for research and teaching were part of charge and she has had an impact in this area both at Duke and nationally, including as a leader in national policy on digital media and learning. Her interest in issues of race, gender, and sexuality cross all her work, from eighteenth-century literature to envisioning the future of digital media and learning institutions in a digital age.
Cathy Davidson has published numerous books, including Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (Viking, 2011); The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (with David Theo Goldberg, MIT Press, 2010) ; Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (Oxford, 1986; Expanded Edition 2004), Reading in America: Literature and Social History (Hopkins, 1989), The Book of Love: Writers and Their Love Letters (Pocket/Simon and Schuster, 1992), Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji: On Finding Myself in Japan (Dutton/Penguin, 1993; New Edition with Afterword, 2006, Duke U Press), and, with Linda Wagner-Martin, The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States (1995) and The Oxford Book of Women's Writing in the United States (1995). In collaboration with documentary photographer Bill Bamberger, she also wrote Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory (Norton, 1998). She is General Editor of the Oxford University Press Early American Women Writers series, past President of the American Studies Association, and past editor of American Literature. She was Duke University (and the nation's) first Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies from 1999-2006, and is co-founder of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke. She is also the co-founder of HASTAC ("haystack"), the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, an 8000+ network of digital visionaries committed to new forms of learning and education. She serves on the Board of Advisors to the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation "Digital Media and Learning" initiative. Her current research interests include Olaudah Equiano and the controversy over origins, a MacArthur Foundation monograph and collaborative online publication on "The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age" (with David Theo Goldberg), and a study of the culture and neurobiology of "knowing" and attention. With Goldberg, Davidson is co-PI of the HASTAC/MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Competition. She is also the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. President Barack Obama nominated her for a six-year term on the National Council on the Humanities, which began in July 2011, after confirmation by the U. S. Senate.