What is ‘Digital Humanities’ and why does it matter?

‘Technology in the Digital Liberal Arts’ is a course that is offered at Mount St. Mary’s University. Thus, it is reasonable to delve into questions concerning the Digital Humanities; What is it? What is it not? The term ‘Humanities’ are “academic disciplines which study human culture.”[1] Digital Humanities is an extension of the Humanities, it is a “natural outgrowth and expansion of the traditional scope, not a replacement or rejection of traditional humanistic inquiry.”[2] Even though there is a lot of definitions for Digital Humanities, it “interprets the cultural and social impact of new media and information technologies- the fundamental components of the new information age- as well as creates and applies these technologies to answer cultural, social, historical, and philosophical questions, both those traditionally conceive and those only enabled by new technologies.” However, “The use of digital tools for the use of humanistic research and communication does not qualify as Digital Humanities. Nor, as already noted, is Digital Humanities to be understood as the study of digital artifacts, new media, contemporary culture in place of physical artifacts, old media or historical culture. On the contrary, Digital Humanities understands its object of study as the entire human record, from prehistory to the present.”[3] Therefore, in my opinion, Digital Humanities is the application of technology to answer questions in the humanities, not necessarily the study of technology or the study of human life.

Digital Humanities matter because we are a culture that is technologically advanced, mostly everyone has some sort of electronic that they use on a daily basis. Technology impacts us personally and universally. It is important to articulate this impact and focus and use it in a way that furthers our learning and understanding of the humanities. It provides “many new opportunities and challenges…exploring their roles.”[4] This should matter to us as college students, because we are a part of a liberal arts education and we should be using technology more to answer questions in the humanities.

Articles on Digital Humanities Used:

[1] Roger Gillis, “Digital Humanities,” Dalhousie University, http://dal.ca.libguides.com/digitalhumanities (accessed August 24, 2017).

[2] David Golumbia, “’Digital Humanities’: Two Definitions,” Uncomputing, http://www.uncomputing.org/?p=203 (accessed August 24, 2017).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Kings College London, “Digital Humanities MA,” KCL, https://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught-courses/digital-humanities-ma.aspx (accessed August 24, 2017).


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