What are the digital humanities? How can they constitute a discipline distinct (however inseparable) from the humanities at all? What are the foundational principles? Which are their methods? How does one characterize a “digital humanist”? What is the importance of the Digital Humanities reflection on the world today?
These questions will be explored through an eponymous book, Digital_Humanities (2012), authored collectively by Anne Burdick, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner and Jeffrey Schnapp. Ten years later, their ideas remain as fresh as ever.
We live in one of those rare moments of opportunity for the humanities, not unlike other great ears of cultural-historical transformation such as the shift from the scroll to the codex, the invention of moveable type, the encounter with the New World, and the Industrial Revolution. Ours is an era in which the humanities have the potential to play a vastly expanded creative role in public life.
Sometimes in manifesto-like style, sometimes examining the way of doing things by scholars (questioning legitimization, rethinking collaboration), the book is rich starting point for a multidisciplinary attitude, with expanded and revised audiences and methods:
It is a global, trans-historical, and transmedia approach to knowledge and meaning-making.
Understanding the world: the initial impulse of any project animated by the merest curiosity.