digital humanities

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  3. 3. From Humanities computing there was a shift to new media and now New media has lost out on popularity among researchers; there were people who went to extremes in their objection to the term: in the early years of my PhD I would secretly start avoiding people who said they were working on new media. There were times when I even stopped playing videogames with them. Anyway, almost in response to this: Digital humanities is the now current term for digital mediations in the Humanities. I cant say I like it very much but Im being super-fussy. ------ 3
  4. 4. The borders of DH are at best still fuzzy. And for me, thats a good thing. 4
  5. 5. The general perception might be different even negative (talk about the Presidency videogame parlour) but whatever it is , DH has attracted the attention of academia and the media. 5
  6. 6. The key question is What is different with digital humanities?. Why all the interest the world over? At a digital humanities session at the SHARP conference in Dublin this year, I was given this postcard by some digital humanists from the Bodleian. They sent out an unambiguous message and I havent forgotten it. The message is intriguing: old words, new tools. So are we then using digital media to do what we did before in Humanities without much changing the concepts? There is a proclivity amongst commentators to argue for a repetition of traditional tasks via the often much quicker and easier digital means. J-C Carriere talking to Umberto Eco sees nothing new in USB drives except the much larger space. Sawday and Rhodes are aware of the playful instability of the hypertext and are quick to distance this from the comparatively stable nature of print culture. Yet, they too join the old words new tools party maybe hypertexts arent like print but they are certainly like medieval scrolls. I find this problematic. The postcard is now a treasured keepsake but Ive modified it for myself, slightly: Ive added a word - really???. 6
  7. 7. Old Words New Tools image. Is it really old words and new tools? The computer, through its possibilities for interactivity, play and the creativity of hypertext, is now rapidly undoing that idealization of stability, and returning us to a kind of textuality which may have more in common with the pre-print era. Thus, Vincent Gillespie has argued that the contemporary users experience of hypertext seems to me to be similar to a medieval readers experience of illuminated, illustrated and glossed manuscripts containing different hierarchies of material that can be accessed in various ways. Computer-generated texts, now, are beginning to exist as far more provisional entities than we have ever been used to since Gutenberg first printed books from moveable (that is, redistributable) type. Ink and paper writes Leah S.Marcus are relatively stable media by comparison with the computer screen. This shift represents not so much the oft-proclaimed Death of the author but, rather, the possibility of multi- authorship, where an individuals contribution to a scholarly or scientific debate is just one voice amongst many which go to make up the totality of responses. (Imagining the Renaissance Computer, p. 10 11) Also compare Jean-Claude Carriere : Then there are our USB sticks and other ways of storing and carrying information. These too are nothing new. At the end of the eighteenth century, the upper classes would pack a small library in trunks and take them on their travels [] these libraries, of course, were not measured in gigabytes but it was the same idea. (p.50) Discuss remediation 6
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  9. 9. Mobled queen. Bichitra as one of the largest DH databases 8
  10. 10. I find something that Jacques Derrida says quite useful in this context: Derridas Archive Fever : This is another way of saying that the archive, as printing, as writing, prosthesis or hypomnestic technique in general is not only the stockroom and the conservatory for archivable contents of the past which would exist in any case, and just the same, without the archive. No, the technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable contents even as it comes into existence and its relationship to the future. This means that in the past psychoanalysis would not have been what it was (no more so than many other things) if electronic mail, for example, had existed. And in the future it will no longer be what Freud and so many psychoanalysts have anticipated now that E mail, for example, has become possible. ----- So any move towards the digital archive effectively involves a thinking through of the ways in which such archives function the querying of digital databases is not necessarily the same as it would be to search Diderots encyclopaedia. The creating of such databases might involve the creation of structures that can be accessed by the digital logic of systems like SQL etc. [??? Finish] 9
  11. 11. ------------- Anyway, for me digital humanities is not just about designing digital archives, creating electronic texts, coding concordances or the very textual uses to which computing in the humanities can be put. ------------ For me, there is a key element that is often left out of the consideration culture. As Derrida clearly says, the technical aspect relates to its relationship with the future. There is a cultural shift that we cannot do without. [speak about originary technicity] There is no natural originary body: technology has not simply added itself, from the outside or after the fact, as a foreign body. Or at least this foreign or dangerous supplement is originarily at work and in place in the supposedly ideal interiority of the body and soul. It is indeed at the heart of the heart (JD, Points) ------------------------ 9
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  13. 13. Locating the digital humanities show wordle cloud Social media, virtual worlds, roleplay, story creation, data-mining, concordances, digital texts / hypertexts, videogames Further, is it digital humanities or the digital humanities: is it singular or plural? 11
  14. 14. This was part of a project on the impact of web 2.0 on professionals in Leicester, UK. The case of Inspector Bill Knopp merits study in terms of digital culture. 12
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  16. 16. Game Studies as digital humanities Barry Atkinss quote. One day, perhaps, the computer game will even produce its la Recherche du Temps Perdu or its Ulysses, its Casablanca or its Citizen Kane. It is, as yet, early days, and this is a reading of those early days. MacTavish - To date, the most common debates have been between ludological approaches, which define digital games as primarily rule-based objects and activities, and a collection of other approaches rooted in the study of narrative, theater, and film. For many ludologists, remove the story-line and high-tech special effects and you still have a game based upon rules. While this may be true, the fact remains that many digital games include stories, performance, and audiovisual pleasures that are configurable by the player in some fashion. Remove them from the game and you might still have a game, but it won't be the same one you started with. It is safe to say that digital games are currently an important object of study for scholars of digital culture. If safety comes in numbers, then we need only to acknowledge the growing number of conferences, monographs, essay collections, 14
  17. 17. and university courses and programs treating digital games as cultural artifacts that express meaning and reflect and shape the world we live in.1 A far riskier claim would be that digital games studies is a definable discipline. While there may be abundant evidence that scholars are engaging with digital games, it's too early to see an established discipline with a set of matured methodologies and canonical texts or a broad base of institutional structures like departments and academic appointments. This does not mean that digital games scholars are not trying to establish a discipline. Indeed, an important component of academic discourse around digital games has been less on gaming artifacts and practices, and more on defining appropriate methodologies for analysis that are more or less unique to digital games. Many scholars want to treat digital games with the same analytic seriousness as they treat works of literature, theater, visual art, music, and film, but they are also concerned to understand what is distinctive about digital games. The burning question at hand is, should the study of digital games be guided by theories and methods unique to digital games, or can we apply theoretical models developed to explain other cultural forms such as narrative, theater, and film? On the one hand, this primarily political dimension of digital games studies draws attention away from games and gameplay; on the other hand, answering the question has very real and material effects on the generation and distribution of knowledge around digital games. There is nothing new in scholars debating approaches to their subject matter, especially when it comes to the study of new or updated forms and presentations of culture. This is normally a sign of a healthy and growing field. In the area of digital games studies, though, the stakes seem very high as participants bandy about the rhetoric of colonialism to protect their turf against invasion from opposing teams of scholars.2 One might imagine these debates in terms of team building in schoolyards where groups select the players they want on their team, leaving those outside the debate standing on the sidelines waiting to be picked or going off to play their own game away from the popular kids. The danger of such team building, of course, is that the popular kids would like to believe that they are the only game in town. In other words,