Thursday, 29 November 2012
"Digital Humanities" Should Be Undigitally Re-Mastered

"Digitall Humanities."

Apparently all the rage. Lots of newly-endowed fellowships and suchlike in "digital humanities."

What are "digital humanities"? Do they make sense? Or is this something like Cliometrics Gone Wild? Is it applying computers to the very subjects where they should not be applied, save in the most obvious and banal ways (i.e., in literary studies, constructing a concordance or counting how many times the word "metempsychosis" appears in Ulysses, or in history, running the entire records of the U.N., for twenty years -- 1947-1967 -- through the computer mill to find out just how many times an Arab representative used the phrase "Palestinian people" before the Six-Day War).

Or does the sudden appearance of "Digital Humanities"  merely reflect the obvious: the money comes from someone who made it big in hardware or software, and he's convinced himself that the computer has many important uses in "the Humanities," and no one in the Development Office is going to turn down his money, so "Digital Humanities" it is, coute que coute, and everyone on the faculty had better get with the program and not say a word, or there will be hell to pay. For not being "collegial" and not working to further the institution's "mission" and all that other stuff on which decisions for promotion are made nowadays.

"Digital Humanities" need to be redimensioned, put in their place, and History, Literature, Art, Philosophy, be Undigitally Re-Mastered.

Fight back, you boys and girls with tenure. Really, what do you have to lose?

Posted on 11/29/2012 1:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
29 Nov 2012
Send an emailMary Jackson

There's something not right about digital humanities, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

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