Many disciplines of the humanities are experiencing a turn from a largely theoretical approach to research to a methodological one. The methodological turn, as it is known, has been driven, by and large, by a fairly new field called Digital Humanities.
Digital Humanities has exploded long-held assumptions that humanities research is qualitative rather than quantitative; focused on close rather than distant reading; carried out by a ‘lone scholar’ toiling away in the archives or with stacks of books rather than working as part of a team; structured around arguments rather than modelling. It embraces new forms of knowledge creation and challenges what was in many disciplines the hegemony of text.
Digital Humanities challenges notions of disciplinarity. Digital Humanists not only freely borrow from fields as diverse as computer science, engineering, design, heritage and information studies, but frequently cross humanities disciplines themselves, putting further pressure on long-standing disciplinary silos and self-identification.
Digital Humanities is, by its very nature, public humanities, reaching out to and engaging communities as active collaborators rather than passive consumers of knowledge. It is also, however, currently going through a period of self-examination on issues that range from gender bias to imposing western norms on a global DH community.
This introductory module will explore these tensions, the opportunities it creates for redefining humanities scholarship and what it means to be a researcher in the humanities, as well as new methods and their implications for research in the twenty-first century.