Sorry I’m later than planned posting this– one thing after another today. Anyway, just like part 1, we’ll talk about the second group of digital humanities readings right here; they are:
- Alexander Reid, “Graduate Education and the Ethics of the Digital Humanities.”
- Mark L. Sample, “What’s Wrong With Writing Essays.”
- Cathy N. Davidson, “Humanities 2.0: Promise, Perils, Predictions.”
So, in “order of appearance,” a few thoughts:
Alex Reid makes more clear (perhaps than the previous readings) that part of what is at stake here in the terminology “digital humanities” is money because the N.E.H. specifically names “digital humanities” as being eligible for grant money. But mostly what he’s talking about here is the increasing relationship between scholarship and teaching with “technology.” It’s always been there– think back to Ong and his discussion of literacy as a technology– but it is increasingly important. That’s important for would-be scholars, especially in fields like literature because increasingly, “reading books” just isn’t enough anymore.
Of course, I think we assume a certain familiarity with the digital from up and coming composition and rhetoric scholars. As Reid points out, you would be hard-pressed to find a PhD program in comp/rhet right now where there isn’t at least one (and often times many) faculty invested in “computers and composition,” and where students aren’t required to take at least one (often times several) courses that explore the connections between comp/rhet and technology. This is not the case for literary studies.
Speaking of which: I think what Mark Sample is saying in his brief essay is completely true, that we should be pushing beyond the “form of writing that is not meant for anyone to read,” the academic essay. His example of the student driftwood project is interesting– and a picture of that project (along with a previous version of this essay) are visible here. But again, here’s someone coming from (more or less) a literary background and bringing up ideas that I think have been bubbling up in comp/rhet for a while now. This is basically the kinds of projects Jody Shipka was writing about in her book.
Last but far from least, Cathy Davidson: I think this is a nice “bookend” piece in terms of the history of where DH is coming coming relative to past movements and connections with technology. It’s a bold assertion to me that technological advances have always lead to artistic advances, but I see the basic point. Like Bogost suggested, the problem is not with the rise of the sciences so much as it is the constant crisis of the humanities. Her basic points about how “Humanities 2.0″ challenges assumptions about things like disciplinary boundaries, peer review and collaboration make sense to me, but those assumptions are so entrenched that it seems to me it will take a lot for these things to really change globally. I like the bibliography with this piece too. Oh, and Cathy Davidson is a pretty big deal.