POST: We Have Never Been Digital

Geoffrey Rockwell (University of Alberta) has written a post responding to Thomas Haigh’s reflection “on the intersection of computing and the humanities,” concluding that “we have never been and never will be entirely digital.” Rockwell explores the implications of this on digital humanities and whether the discipline can evolve to meet new scholarly demands. Citing Haigh:

“There is a sense in which historians of information technology work at the intersection of computing and the humanities. Certainly we have attempted, with rather less success, to interest humanists in computing as an area of study. Yet our aim is, in a sense, the opposite of the digital humanists: we seek to apply the tools and methods of the humanities to the subject of computing.”

Rockwell responds:

On this I think he is right – that we should be doing both the study of computing through the lens of the humanities and experimenting with the uses of computing in the humanities. I would go further and suggest that one way to understand computing is to try it and that which you know and that is the distinctive contribution of the digital humanities. We don’t just “yack” about it, we try to “hack” it. We think-through technology in a way that should complement the philosophy and history of technology. Haigh should welcome the digital humanities or imagine what we could be rather than dismiss the field.

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This post was produced through a cooperation between Julie Adamo, Katrien Deroo, Nickoal Eichmann, Cindy Fisher, Paula S. Kiser, Jennifer Millen, and Sarah Parme. (Editors-at-large for the week), Caro Pinto (Editor for the week), Sarah Potvin (Site Editor), and Zach Coble and Roxanne Shirazi (dh+lib Review Editors).