HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) was established in 2002 as an organization that brings together humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and technologists in order to change the way we teach and learn through the promotion of collaboration between the disciplines. The founders, Cathy Davidson and David Goldberg, felt a growing anxiety about the lack of humanistic learning in our age of technology, and decided to write “A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age.” From this manifesto grew HASTAC, which called from an alliance between humanists, artists, social scientists, natural scientists, and engineers, working collaboratively to keep up with the changing learning environments. Their goal is to rethink the ways in which we research, learn, communicate, collaborate, and interact, so that knowledge remains inclusive of all the different disciplines rather than involving only the more technologically-based disciplines.
There are over 13,000 members who come from over 400 different organizations, which includes alliances with specific universities in the United States. Membership is free and inclusive, however to join one must receive a nomination from a university or professor. The members are categorized between five different groups, which include the Humanities, Arts, & Media, Technology, Networks, & Sciences, Social & Political Issues, and Educational & Cultural Institutions. Members can interact with each other through different forums and platforms, and many fellowships and competitions are offered. HASTAC has multiple initiatives that work towards their goal of interdisciplinary collaborations, such as The Futures Initiative, HASTAC Scholars, and The University Worth Fighting For. The current competition offered by HASTAC is the 6th Digital Media and Learning Competition, which offers developmental grants of anywhere from $25,000 to $125,000 to advance connected learning. Overall, HASTAC holds competitions in order to provide further financial support to members who have a vision for the future of education that is in line with their ultimate goals of connecting different fields.
We think HASTAC is a very relevant organization in today’s age. Their vision of bringing together the different learning disciplines helps bridge the divide between the humanities and the sciences. So much more can be accomplished when we bring together these different skills rather than advancing them in separate directions. This progressive way of thinking is necessary in our day and age, where through technology we are becoming more and more connected. The creators of technology need to consider the humanistic side of the inventions they create, and the humanists need to see the importance of incorporating technology into our learning. Incorporating these ideas in higher education will allow the future to grow in the right direction.
-Hailey Ruffner & Sara Grab