Jump to content

Still in Digital_Humanities (2012), the authors note the gap which has formed between practical and theoretical knowledge:

A division emerged over the course of the 20th century that separated humanities knowledge into study analysis on the one hand, and practice and application on the other. … In other words, the process of “how” became separated from the content of “what.”

Digital_Humanities, p. 76

This distinction tends to treat formal questions as second-class considerations—if not dismissing them altogether—but doesn’t it miss the constitutive part of practice in the construction of knowledge?

The “how” requires attention to design, format, medium, materiality, platform, dissemination, authorship, and audience, things that are all taken for granted or assumed to be implicit, value-neutral, secondary, or even irrelevent when scholars turn over their manuscripts to a university press. But there is nothing neutral, objective, or necessary about the format of a book, the space taken by a page, the medium of paper, or the institution of a press. In fact, the “what” is shaped by the “how” in a profoundly recursive, process-oriented manner.

Digital_Humanities, p. 76

Design, once again, is not a dressing technique for ideas: it rather encompasses “the means with which to investigate and articulate an idea.” It is an attitude which gives a crucial importance to the process and creativity in any project, even the most analytical ones (and vice versa, the intellectual effort is in turn constitutive of the practical processes).

Shouldn’t craft be regarded as an idea-making activity?