“Digital Humanities: An Introduction” (UCSB)

“Digital Humanities: An Introduction.” Panel on IT Research Methods, Center for Information Technology and Society, University of California, Santa Barbara, 11 March 2014.

“Digital Humanities”

URL for This Talk:
Resources for this talk are drawn from:
  • From “Humanities Computing” to “Digital Humanities” (DH)
  • State of the DH Field

    • Ngram viewer: Digital HumanitiesThe field has taken on a redefined and firmer shape as “digital humanities.” (Sample of recent writings on state of the field)
    • The number of scholars in the field has increased at both entry and mid-career levels.  Symptomatic are programs at institutions like U. Virginia, Stanford U., U. Nebraska–Lincoln, U. Maryland–College Park, UCLA, and others that are doubling down on existing strengths in DH by training more students though DH initiatives such as Scholars Lab (U. Virginia), Center for DH (UCLA), and The Praxis Program (https://praxis.scholarslab.org/).  Also symptomatic are proliferating “THATCamps”– self-organized workshops and “unconferences” that train graduate students in DH (http://thatcamp.org/).
    • An increasing number of universities are building DH programs. These include public universities such as U. North Carolina and U. Nebraska that are conducting “cluster hires”; private universities such as Northeastern that are building-to-strength by recruiting eminent DH scholars; and elite private universities that are either adding to their programs or seeking to make an entry in the field (e.g., Stanford, Yale).
    • Academic and “alt-ac” jobs for DH are on the rise.  The experience of many of the UCSB English department’s graduate students in seeking both DH jobs and traditional jobs in the field in recent years shows how valuable it is for beginning scholars to have DH competence on their c.v.  Students are also encountering an increasing number of “alternative-academic” positions that blend tasks in DH management, DH support, project development, grant-agency or cultural-institution work, and adjunct teaching. Ads on the MLA Job Information List in “technology and digital media” have grown from 10% in 2007 to over 14% in 2013.
    • Awareness of DH in the profession and in general media has markedly increased. Sessions offered at the annual MLA convention in DH-related areas have grown steadily, from 27 in 2009 to 78 in 2014 — nearly 10% of all sessions. (http://goo.gl/wHtrB4)

The question that information technology helps the humanities ask anew: what does it mean to be “human”?