The penultimate presentation had us looking at Digital Humanities (DH). We were instructed to select a text from In the Shadow of the Digital Humanities and provide information back to the group about the topic and position of the paper.
Selecting Digital Humanities for the Next Five Minutes by Rita Raley, we relayed the author’s thoughts on DH and how it could define itself and be defined. My turn focussed on the suggestions held within the essay relating to what DH presently looked like, what could it be, and how the discipline could develop in the face of a changing academic landscape.
Raley notes that the Digital Humanities currently feel like the application of computational power to humanistic thought (2014: 36). This approach runs the risk of restricting the potential of what DH could be, and what it could offer academia. Instead, the essay interrogates the possibility of a tactical approach in alignment with Matthew Kirschenbaum’s notion:
“What if we were instead to extend Kirschenbaum’s account of the digital humanities as a tactical term and take a “tactical media” approach to the field?” (2014: 36-37).
In answering this question, Raley introduces paradigms lifted from the likes of Critical Art Ensemble, Anarchist Cookbook and The Cultural Jammer’s Encyclopedia. A tactical media approach, rather than engendering chaos, can provide innovative and flexible insights on dealing with tasks such as documenting experiences, sharing information and building a knowledge base.
Molecular Invasion (2002) by Critical Art Ensemble.
The idea of a entrepreneurial-hacktivist style discipline within the humanities filled me with enthusiasm. Although the discourse about how DH will be crystallized into academic administrative culture is still young, the lack of, or resistance to, crystallization may be one of the disciplines best offerings to future education.