What Is/Are the Digital Humanities?

According to Kirschenbaum, what is/are the Digital Humanities?

  • public form of scholarship that promotes collaboration [social undertaking (5)]
  • but also more personal and anonymous: social media encourages group participation as well as individual contributions.
  • a “network topology” (structure as opposed to a hierarchy)
  • research, teaching, and invention: intersection of computing and humanities.
  • Wikipedia! (has no limitations)
  • “term that has evolved into collaborative movement”
  • methodological outlook (4)

What’s DH doing in English Department?

  1. about text
  2. association between computers and composition
  3. convergence editorial theory and electronic editions
  4. hypertext and electronic literature
  5. cultural studies
  6. e-reading and text digitization

What’s DH doing in a theory class?

“DH is more akin to a common methodological outlook than an investment in any one specific set of texts or even technologies.” (4)


Macroanalysis: how does Jockers describe the pros and cons of the macroanalytic approach?

Pros Cons
·      Means of examining outside forces affecting writers

·      Challenging commonsense ideas

·      Can comprehend broad generalities (like genres)

·      Can explore reactions against literary and cultural trends

·      Can better question the canon

·      Does gender, ethnicity, and nationality play an impact.

·      Things we literally can’t see otherwise.

·      Not everything is digitized

·      Have to maintain interpretive insights at individual level

·      Macro: finding info, but still need imagination of scholar to make insights

·      Danger of quantification as being ends in itself. (alternative methodology)

·      Problematic to make generalizations about texts based on general sense of whole.

·      Doesn’t bring any new knowledge.

Published by

Kevin L. Ferguson

Assistant Professor of English and Director of Writing at Queens