Introduction to Digital Humanities

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

The Digital Humanities

I remember Googling “Digital Humanities” before I took this course, hoping to find a good definition to help me understand the class more. Even after the Google search, reading various articles, and being in class for two weeks, I still don’t have the full understanding of it. But maybe that’s all right. I feel like Digital Humanities is open to interpretation by everyone. In all the articles we’ve read, we haven’t had a complete agreement on what Digital Humanities actually is. However, we can all agree that it’s an exciting concept and provides a new way to look at the world around us.


In “The Digital Humanities is not about building, it’s about sharing,” Mark Sample states that Digital Humanities involves “reproduction of knowledge.” We can see an example of this with Voyant, which we used in class to further our analysis of various works and open our eyes to things we had not seen before. In addition, “‘This Is Why We Fight’: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities” by Lisa Spiro details the author’s thoughts on Digital Humanities. She mentions that the Digital Humanities “seeks to push the humanities into new territory by promoting collaboration, openness, and experimentation.” This refers not only to her wanting the community to collaborate and connect, but also to showcase her own answer of what Digital Humanities is and why we need it. Whenever we discuss the articles in class, I am always pleased to hear everyone interpret the articles in a different way but still collaborate with each other and agree on certain things. When we do so, everyone learns new things and sees things from a different perspective.


We all have our interpretations of the Digital Humanities, but one thing is certain: It makes us look at the world in a new way.

1 Comment

  1. I found your first paragraph relate-able because I also googled Digital Humanities to see what exactly it was. While when you google it it does produce a concrete answer, it is still very much left up to interpretation. While that may be, I think that the Digital Humanities do have a certain set of values that accompany the definition in order to make it what it is. If we keep saying that the Digital Humanities are simply up to interpretation, then literally anything could be categorized into Digital Humanities. I like how you spoke of both Sample’s and Spiro’s take on the Digital Humanities because then the readers can see that while they are still slightly different and not concrete, they both include pushing society into more knowledge through technology.

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