Wait…what is DH again?

Digital Humanities as a field resists definition – for all kinds of very good reasons. Sometimes, however, you only have a couple of sentences (or 30 seconds in an elevator) to tell someone what it’s all about. Those moments are tricky for DHers.

In the interest of helping us all wrap our heads around the topic we’re coming together to discuss, I wanted to share a brief definition of DH I just came across in a very nice post by Jentery Sayers at the University of Victoria, “Making Things in the Digital Humanities.” (With apologies to Mr. Sayers for pulling this particular quote out of a post with a much broader focus and no intention of defining DH in a tidy way. Sorry – it was too good to ignore!)

And in the interests of transparency, I’ll also cough up the definition I typically provide when teaching DH courses at the University of Victoria (UVic): “Digital humanities is the combination of technical competencies in computing with critical thinking in areas such as history, literary criticism, cultural studies, textual studies, media studies, geography, musicology, and information studies.”

I call what I’m doing “digital humanities” when I shift from treating technologies as objects of inquiry (e.g., a cultural history of magnetic recording) to actually expressing my work through them (e.g., using a platform like Scalar).

What do you think, THATCampers? Does this definition make sense? Does it apply to work you do?

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