What Are(n’t) the Digital Humanities?

Announcing the next meeting of the Digital Scholars reading and discussion group
Friday, February 19, 2010
in the Skybox, Williams building, room 415
on the topic of

What Are(n’t) the Digital Humanities?

In a recent document declaring itself a “Digital Humanities Manifesto,” the authors wave the banner of the “digital humanities” while seriously doubting “that the phrase adequately describes the tectonic shifts” of the communications revolution come to humanities scholarship. What are the digital humanities? What are they not? Are they (in)distinct from humanities computing or new media studies? How does digital scholarship qualitatively differ from its analog or traditional counterparts? What are the disciplinary or professional consequences of redefining humanities as such?

For the second meeting of the Digital Scholars reading group (ENG 5998-02), we will explore some of these questions as they’ve been recently been discussed. Everyone is encouraged to read the recommended articles in advance. Participants from English and Modern Languages may be additionally interested in the optional readings, as they track (through the academic blogosphere) a discussion about the Modern Language Association’s 2009 convention and the digital humanities.

Recommended readings (alphabetical):

Davidson, Cathy N. “Humanities 2.0: Promise, Perils, Predictions.” PMLA 123.3 (May 2008): 707-17. [on Blackboard]

“The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0.” UCLA Digital Humanities and Media Studies. May 29, 2009. [browse]

Flanders, Julia. “The Productive Unease of 21st-century Digital Scholarship.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 3.3 (Summer 2009).

Liu, Alan. “Digital Humanities and Academic Change.” ELN 47.1 (Spring 2009): 17-35. [on Blackboard]

Mandell, Laura. “What Is/Are/Isn’t the Digital Humanities?” AIMS News March 2, 2009. [very short]

Optional reports/reflections on digital humanities and the MLA (chronological):

Pannapacker, William. “The MLA and the Digital Humanities.” The Chronicle: Brainstorm Blog Dec 28, 2009. http://chronicle.com/blogPost/The-MLAthe-Digital-Hum/19468/

Howard, Jennifer. “The MLA Convention in Translation.” The Chronicle. Dec 31, 2009. http://chronicle.com/article/The-MLA-Convention-in-Trans/63379/

Parry, David. “The MLA, @briancroxall, and the non-rise of the Digital Humanities.” academHack Jan 6, 2010.

Davidson, Cathy. “The Future of the Humanities.” HASTAC blog Jan 9, 2010.

Bogost, Ian. “The Turtlenecked Hairshirt: Fetid and Fragrant Futures for the Humanities.” Bogost blog Jan 9, 2010.

Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. “The Stakes of Disciplinarity.” Planned Obsolescence Jan 14, 2010.


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