Holy Digital Humanities!

By Kat Geuea

Who knew that such a thing existed?!  Well, not me… But then again, I have been in the trenches and not the war room for a good many years.  I am very fascinated with what I am finding, however ironic that happens to be.  Humanities was the only subject I ever failed in my undergraduate classes and the only grade I  received that was lower than a B.  I thought it was SO boring when I was 19-years old!

The bottom line understanding I gleaned from reading through the following pages is this, simply reading/studying historical documents in the traditional way leaves a lot undiscovered.  When one uses technology to process art, literature, wartime maps/troop movements, or various other historical material, altogether new perspectives can be found.  In addition, new digital collection methods provide previously unimaginable access to information.

Before launching into a comprehensive search for an understanding of the definition of digital humanities, a novice like myself might appreciate a glance over a few important and relevant terms.  The following glossary from The Humanities and Technology Camp of St. Edward’s University will fill that bill.

Lisa Spiro, executive director of Digital Scholarship Services at Rice University’s Foundren Library provides a great jumping off place for understanding “Why Digital Humanities?”  Her slideshow was designed for undergraduates, but I found it especially helpful.   In addition to her slideshow, Ms. Spiro’s blog entry titled, “Getting Started in the Digital Humanities,” gives beginners many tips in the form of links for finding information about the topic.   One of those links is CUNY’s Digital Humanities Resource Guide.  From this page, one can really find a number of good resources.

New York Times writer Patricia Cohen is the author of In Our Prime: The Fascinating History and Promising Future of Middle Age.  Ms Cohen wrote  about how “Digital Keys [are] for Unlocking the Humanities’ Riches,” in her November 16, 2010 New York Times article.

In the ADE Bulletin, Number 150, 2010, Matthew G. Kirschenbaum discusses, “What is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments?”  Besides being an associate professor, Kirschenbaum is the University of Maryland’s associate director of the Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities.  He explained about how they arrived at the name, digital humanities instead of humanities computing and suggested some social applications.

When he became the head of the digital humanities program at London’s King’s College, Andrew Prescott presented the following speech titled, “An Electric Current of the Imagination: What the Digital Humanities Are and What They Might Become.”  This is a VERY long read, but some of the ideas about what technology can do with poetry and art are interesting to think about.

Finally, Dan Cohen, Vice Provost, Dean, and Professor at Northeastern University relates pop-movie culture to digital humanities in his May 14, 2018 blog entry titled, “Haunted by the Past.”




Author: admin

This is the launch of my masters journey!!

2 thoughts on “Holy Digital Humanities!”

  1. Well done! Digital humanities is an emerging area in which many people are now spending their lives studying, so it is easy to get overwhelmed. The point of the Search and Research assignment isn’t to capture the whole field, but to start developing a feel for what it basically is and the outlines of it.

    That Kirschenbaum piece (can you go ahead and link to it for future readers?) is, in effect, a Search and Research of its own. I particularly liked this bit at the end:

    digital humanities today is about a scholarship (and a pedagogy) that is publicly visible in ways to which we are generally unaccus- tomed, a scholarship and pedagogy that are bound up with infrastructure in ways that are deeper and more explicit than we are generally accustomed to, a scholarship and pedagogy that are collaborative and depend on networks of people

    Given what you have learned so far, what branch/topic/area of digital humanities do you find most interesting?

  2. For some reason the last three sites I linked didn’t actually link. I’ll see if I can find time to fix it tomorrow before I leave.

    I’m curious about all the possible history applications.

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