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  • Writer's pictureKeidra Navaroli

Week 11 Notes and Reflection on Digital Humanities


Burdick, A., Drucker, J., Lunenfeld, P., Presner, T., & Jeffrey, S. (2012). Digital_Humanities. MIT Press.

Reflection and Application:

Chapter 3 examines DH in light of its impact on society as a whole as well as distinct communities. It examines various themes including social media, academia, authorship/ownership, collaborative creation, publication, and the nature of public spaces. The book provides a useful framework for understanding the history of the DH field and its helpful suggestions for future students allows me to think critically about my own work within this discipline.

Chapter 3 Notes and Key Terms:

This chapter focuses on the social aspects and societal impact of the Digital Humanities.

All knowledge or cultural materials cannot be shared on equal terms. Digital diversity means recognizing fundamental differences as regards technological platforms and the uses to which materials are put.

Social media not only enable democratic ends but can also make possible domination

and subjugation.

Ideally the university should be a nodal point within a fluid, porous, and dynamic landscape

“What is an author?” We no longer imagine authorship as autonomous work or as the labor of a solitary genius (something that, to be sure, critical theory has been chipping away at for decades). Instead we think of the harnessing and expressiveness of the creative energies of an ever-expanding, virtually boundless community of practitioners. Collaboration, a key component of this work, must be legitimized. Legitimization itself is connected to power.

Current limitations of the field: humanities—in broad strokes—remain fixated on discrete publications by individual scholars. The university legitimates knowledge in a privileged way, supervising rules of admission to and control over


Publication is not an endpoint or culmination of research, but is something significantly more process-oriented, indeterminate, experimental, and even experiential.

Questions the author notes must be considered in this practice:

  • What does materiality and media mean for the instantiation of the argument?

  • Who are the authors of the work and how are their contributions articulated and credited?

  • How does the design of the interface, the data structures, and the database convey meaning and function as part of the argument? How does a reader interact with the work, and how do the authors expose the rhetorical elements of their interface, data structures, and database?

  • Is the mode of navigation and kinetic signposting appropriate for the argument?

  • How complete is the bibliographic apparatus of the work and how do readers access both the sources cited and the data presented?

  • Can the work be deployed and enhanced by putting it in new contexts or in new digital environments with other projects?

  • Is the work extensible and iterative? That is to say, can it continue to grow as more research is done either by the author or other people?

  • How can the participatory dimension of the work be characterized? In other words, does the argument demand greater participation than page-turning or mouse clicks?

  • Does the scholarship support federated (non-silo based) approaches to scholarly publishing?

  • Above all, how does the work embody standards of traditional scholarship that can inspire a broad community with its insights?

Humanistic design of digital environments can challenge and even undo the normative assumptions that encode ideological assumptions in operational features.

The decolonization of knowledge in the most profound sense will arrive only when we enable people to express their otherness, their difference, and their selves, through truly social and participatory forms of cultural creation.

By conceiving of scholarship in ways that significantly involve community partners,

cultural institutions, the private sector, nonprofits, and/or government agencies, the

Digital Humanities expands both the notion of scholarship and the public sphere

in order to create new sites and nodes of engagement.

Construction of the public vs counter-public vs subaltern: public was constituted by literate men, who became literate because of their belonging to a particular socioeconomic stratum. “Counter-publics” emerged as a parallel phenomenon, constituted by intellectuals, some of them outstanding women authors who organized salons in their homes—in tension with, often against, but still connected to, public discourse. Subaltern,” those whose class, race, and gender positions

situate them fundamentally outside any dialectic of “public” and “counter-public,”

One of the fundamental questions confronting Digital Humanities is what kind of student will its methods produce? 21st century citizenship requires that students of Digital

Humanities see social networks as having both pro- and anti-social agendas, that

they develop political literacies, and that they harness the collaborative energy of

their academic experiences and apply them to the broader culture.

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