Reply To: Theorizing the Digital Humanities

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Daniel Fawcett

So, I guess I will keep this running.

I’m not going to directly address the reading (yet… I’ll get back to it). Instead, I want to further complicate this by pointing us to this blog post. I think that many digital humanists, and humanists in general, are conflicted as to what we, as humanists, actually do. According to this blog post, we as DH scholars should be concerned with “resistance.”

But “resistance” is not necessarily what we do. I doubt that anyone would argue that Harold Bloom or Stanley Fish are “humanists,” and neither give a pair of plumber’s patooties for “resistance” as part of their academic practice.

Of course, the blog is arguing that we DH scholars are better poised to engage in resistance than even traditional humanists are. But what are we “resisting?” I know several scholars (some of whom are instructors at BGSU) who have argued, essentially, “activism is great… but keep it separate from your pedagogy.”

I think it’s hard for us to figure out what the digital humanities are supposed to be if we can’t even come to a solid definition of what the humanities are in the first place.

Of course, I don’t want to suggest that we shouldn’t try to figure out what the digital humanities are just because the problem is hard. The hard questions are the ones worth asking. But considering that there are significant questions as to what our scholarship is and should be in the first place, maybe we need to push the question back even further.

I’ll actually connect to the reading here in a bit, after I’ve composed my thoughts. I just wanted to get that out there.