Introduction to Digital Humanities

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

Digital Humanities- What and Why? (September 9th, 2015)

Both of our readings today centered on various aspects of what makes the Digital Humanities the Digital Humanities. Mark Sample’s “The Digital Humanities is not about Building, It’s about Sharing” focused in on the future of DH, talking of the MLA’s new “Office of Scholarly Communication” and how with its leadership under Kathleen Fitzpatrick he has high expectations. He rattles off a list of potential outcomes for this future and his desire to advance DH. “Now is not the time to base the future on the past” is brought up at the end of his article, which points out and ignores the questions of legitimacy and scope, showing his desire and wishes for DH to flourish. His last point is that as Digital Humanists, we should share, “Because we can”. He raises the notion that we should share, collaborate with each other whether we are creating or analyzing. And this point is supported by Lisa Spiro’s “‘This is Why We Fight’: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities”. She first uses her article to prime the reader on the necessity of having an overarching and more cohesive “Statement of Values” which would help to define the questions in this post: What are the Digital Humanities and Why are the Digital Humanities? Spiro’s proposed set of values include openness, collaboration, collegiality and connectedness, diversity, and experimentation. Collaboration goes back to what Sample talked about with Digital Humanists sharing and working together to make something greater than the sum of its parts. She proposes these values as a base for the rest of the DH community to expand upon, and with all of her listed values, I agree with them.

To answer the first question: What are the Digital Humanities?

I answer with: The Digital Humanities are a conglomeration of different, related though disjointed from their history with each other, set of thinkers and creators whose goal is to produce knowledge that furthers that which is already available to humanity through the use of new and emerging technologies and interaction opportunities.

The second question: Why are the Digital Humanities?

Can similarly be summed up as: The Digital Humanities exist as a critical eye to criticize, dissect, and produce that which we are now able to create and manage through the use of these new medias available to us, so we use and refine our definition of DH to suit what we are experimenting with in new ways to learn with this technology.

-Luke Bolle

1 Comment

  1. I like how you first wrote a paragraph about the readings before you provided your own take on Digital Humanities. I saw how you connected Sample’s definition to Spiro’s by using Spiro’s article to support it. Like you, I also agree with Spiro’s listed values and I think that they are important in defining Digital Humanities. Collaboration is extra important because that is how society will evolve alongside the Digital Humanities. Your personal definition of DH was spot on in that you explained how the Digital Humanities are many things that come together. I agree with your “Why the Digital Humanities” section. With the DH, there are so many endless opportunities to produce more knowledge and explore the technological world.

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