Defining "Digital Humanities"
There is no one definition for the term "digital humanities." The often-cited www.whatisdigitalhumanities.com site presents a collection of distinct crowd-sourced definitions pulled from Day of DH conferences from 2009-2014 just by hitting the refresh button.
While quibbles over defining "dh" may seem inconsequential, arguments about what is and what is not DH correspond directly to the material needs of scholars. Posner (2018) keenly attributes the disagreements in part to expanded institutional attention to digital humanities scholarship. This has "animated" the field into "struggles over grants, jobs, space, resources, and institutional investment" (p. 332).
It may suffice to say that the term digital humanities refers to the use of digital tools and methodologies in service of humanistic inquiry. In other words, DH can be the exploration of the human condition as represented and analyzed by machines (and by humans operating the machines).
This can take many different forms. Posner (2018) identifies several common digital methods, including:
- Digital exhibits and archives
- Data visualizations
- Network analysis
- Computational text analysis (distant reading)
If you'd like to learn more about frequently used terms and concepts in digital humanities, check out The Digital Humanities Literacy Guidebook (Weingard, Grunewald & Lincoln, 2020).
Posner, M. (2018) Digital Humanities. In M. Kackman & M. C. Kearney (Eds.), The Craft of Criticism: Critical Media Studies in Practice (pp. 331-346). Routledge.
- "Debates in the Digital Humanities" seriesThis biannual book series explores important issues being discussed in digital humanities research. Available digitally.
- Digital Humanities Quarterly (journal)Open access, peer-reviewed online journal publication "covering all aspects of digital media in the humanities."
- The Digital Humanities Coursebook byISBN: 9781003106531Publication Date: 2021-03-24This book overviews several methods, platforms and frameworks influencing current digital scholarship research.
- Reviews in Digital Humanities (journal)An open access journal that reviews digital scholarship projects. The series prioritizes digital projects centering critical ethnic, African diaspora, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, post-colonial, and queer studies.
- Transformative Digital Humanities byISBN: 0429399928Publication Date: 2020-04-23Transformative Digital Humanities takes a two-pronged approach to the digital humanities: it examines the distinct kinds of work currently being undertaken in the field, while also addressing current issues in the digital humanities, including sustainability, accessibility, interdisciplinarity, and funding.
- The Programming HistorianThe how-to guides and articles on this site provide great overviews on a range of digital scholarship tools and topics, as well as lesson plan ideas.
- Introduction to Python and Cultural Analytics (Walsh, 2021):This free, open-source textbook walks readers through fundamental concepts in text analysis using the user-friendly programming language Python and provides introductory walk-throughs on various text analysis methods.