Introduction to Digital Humanities

RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

What is Digital Humanities?

When the question “What is Digital Humanities?” is asked we think it is the use of technology to explain humanities, but it is not as basic as that. This subject of digital humanities is still new and the discussions and debates to try to explain it is an on going occurrence. In “This is Why We Fight’: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities” in Debates in the Digital Humanities they explain to us that there is a “community that comes together around values such as openness and collaboration (pg.16, Spiro).” Through my experiences in class, I portray digital humanities as a way to understand things using media and digital techniques. I think there is a crossroad between the two words “digital” and “humanities” and there are debates and problems that could arise.  The digital humanities department at UCLA attempts to define digital humanities as the interpretation of “the cultural and social impact of new media and information technologies.” I agree with this and I think that digital humanities can offer insight and explanations to things that we want to find out more about.

In the article “The digital humanities is not about building, it’s about sharing,” by Mark Sample, explains to us that today there is debate “between those who build digital tools and media and those who study traditional humanities questions using digital tools and media (Sample).” I am in favor of try to build new technology to explain the humanities and to expand and explore not only the traditional humanities, but social sciences, arts, and natural sciences.


  1. I agree that the digital humanities is a way to understand certain things. However, the field cannot be categorized that easily with a general descriptions. Rather than merely the study of aspects of the world, I took digital humanities to mean the study of the implications of technology on culture. This is especially so as researchers attempt to dissect how technology has begun to play a pivotal role in our lives.

  2. I loved the last line and how you mentioned exploring “not only the traditional humanities, but social sciences, arts, and natural sciences.” I agree that technology can be used to find more things rather than just what we have been accustomed to.

  3. I like how you portray digital humanities as a way to understand things through using media. I also really like how you found a definition from UCLA which is actually very helpful. I too do believe that digital humanities can give us insight and explanation on things and topics that we want to know more about.

  4. I enjoy the fact that you approach the definition of what digital humanities is through more than just your own scope in your writing. I would pose the question is building software vs using it mutually exclusive? In response to your definition and your last line about the building of software, they seem not to be.

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