Category Archives: digital humanities

Race, Technology, and the Word “Traditional” in the World-System

Wallerstein, Historical Capitalism (Verso, 1982)

“Traditional” is one of the more interesting words to keep track of in contemporary discourse, particularly when it comes up in discussions of technology. For the most part, it is used as a slur. It is a word used to disparage an object or practice, to compare it to whatever one wants to posit as […]

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Right Reaction and the Digital Humanities

UKIP

A while back, I had an encounter that struck me at the time, and continues to strike me, as perfectly emblematic of the Digital Humanities as an ideological formation. While it includes a kind of brutal incivility that I associate with much of the politics that persists very near the “nice” surface of DH (of […]

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Social Media as Political Control: The Facebook Study, Acxiom, & NSA

NSA Facebook

Although it didn’t break the major media until last week, around June 2 researchers led by Adam Kramer of Facebook published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) entitled “Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion Through Social Networks.” The publication has triggered an flood of complaints and concerns: is Facebook […]

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On the Idea of a Feminist Programming Language

Arielle Schlesinger, a student in Technology and Social Change (at an unnamed school) who is working on a thesis about Feminist Programming Languages, has written a couple of blog posts about the topic at HASTAC: Feminism and Programming Languages and A Feminist & A Programmer (Brian Lennon has a thoughtful reaction, “A Feminist Programming Language,” […]

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On Allington on Open Access

open access

Daniel Allington has written the best thing I’ve yet read anywhere on open access, called “On Open Access, and Why It’s Not the Answer.” Anyone interested in the question should read it now. It is much more deep and detailed than most of the pro-OA writing out there, and gets at some of the deep […]

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Postcolonial Studies, Digital Humanities, and the Politics of Language

world oral literature project

Excerpted from a longer essay in progress. Adeline Koh and Roopika Risam recently started an open thread on DHPoco based around an observation by Martha Nell Smith about the politics of race and gender in the digital humanities. I find these topics distinctly connected to questions about language and the relationship of various humanities fields. […]

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Definitions that Matter (Of ‘Digital Humanities’)

closeness over time

In a recent post, “‘Digital Humanities’: Two Definitions,” I tried to point out an ongoing conflict in the deployment of the term “Digital Humanities.” While my goal was in part to show the practical range in definitions of DH, that was not really my main purpose. A lot of the time, definitions aren’t all that […]

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Building and (Not) Using Tools in Digital Humanities

TOPIC MODEL

As I mentioned in my last post, the “Short Guide to Digital Humanities” (pages 121-136 of Digital_Humanities, by Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp, MIT Press, 2012) includes the following stricture under the heading “What Isn’t the Digital Humanities?”: The mere use of digital tools for the purpose of humanistic […]

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‘Digital Humanities’: Two Definitions

DH wordle

Those of us working in or close to the field of Digital Humanities know that the very definition of the term has been vexed from its inception–in my opinion, moreso than typical academic fields. I’ll not go into them in depth here, but two of my major concerns about the term have been that (a) […]

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Computational Precision, Almost (Rhetoric of Computation #2)

from The New York Times, Feb 9, 2010 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/books/10mason.html?pagewanted=2&emc=eta1 A Calculus of Writing, Applied to a Classic By Larry Rohter Published: February 9, 2010 … In person, Mr. [Zachary] Mason is extremely soft-spoken and tends to talk in a flat, unemotional tone, though he does note with regret that he “turned down Google two weeks […]

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