A discipline, inter-discipline, multi-discipline…
On the Digital Humanities (DH) mailing list, at various points there have been discussion threads that fret way at the ‘what is it’ question. Some see it – digital humanities – as distinctly different and so think about it in disciplinary terms; others instead as a kind of impulse or rather an intellectual concern of both methodological and theoretical character that can surface sometimes here and sometimes there. Computational thinking, big data, digitisation, visualisation, are in the air. Such questions, around the use of computational strategies to address if not solve a set of intellectual issues, are at back of the Olive Schreiner Letters Online and also the Whites Writing Whiteness project. Shake the kaleidoscope and literary studies, shake it again and social science, another shake and digital humanities. What is it? Think rather, what does it do?
This is a prolegomenon, and an important one given research matters in hand, to my work over the next ten days or so. The Digital Humanities Institute, held at the National Humanities Center, North Carolina, starts this weekend, and I fly off for this eight day event early on Saturday morning UK time. Having read about a hundred articles and seven books in preparation, I’m comforted by how much is familiar ground. The Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield certainly provided an excellent training in DH thinking, methodology and specific working practices during work on Olive Schreiner’s letters, and I look forward to building on this. And while the Institute is in progress, I aim to blog a few times on matters particularly relevant to WWW, as well as to make the most of things happening throughout the Institute so as to get good ideas for pushing WWW research forward.
Last updated: 4 June 2015