I hope everyone is having a great holiday season!
In class, I presented a final project proposal which I am still very passionate about (and hope to eventually work on)–however when I actually went to write up my project proposal with all of the details I kept getting stuck on the section of how the project relates to DH. I was curious as to what it means to create a Digital Humanities project and research. Was my project a DH project? How did I know? There was so much information in our class that I began to go back to the questions that were addressed at the start of the class regarding what DH is (or is not). I know that we had discussed the topic a bit in class, but I felt like I needed to define it (I use this word loosely) for myself in order to have a better understanding of how my research interests fit into DH. Thus, I ended up scraping the project proposal to write a seminar paper titled “Defining the Digital Humanities: A Graduate Student’s Exploration Into the Guiding Principles of DH”.
I was primarily interested in exploring the academic space of DH to better understand the commonalities of the research encompassed within the field and what these may mean for the future. I was specifically inspired by Spiro’s work defining the core values of the Digital Humanities and wanted to create something similar (but not quite the same) which is what led me to develop guiding principles (as opposed to hard and fast “rules” which I don’t believe DH does or should ever have). Spiro’s recognition that, “By developing a core values statement, the digital humanities community can craft a more coherent identity, use these values as guiding principles, and pass them on as part of DH education,” was what ignited my interest in this exploratory writing. Through my paper, I offered an attempt to classify what I believe Digital Humanities means as a field of study by addressing questions and current debates within the field to identify the guiding principles which shape it. While it is hard to say specifically which work is or is not considered DH, I argued that by defining the guiding principles of the field we could more thoroughly understand and recognize the potential for its future.
The questions I explored in my paper were:
- Does Digital Humanities have to answer questions?
- Does the Digital Humanities have to be collaborative?
- What role does the Digital Humanities play in breaking down systems of power and oppression?
Writing out my responses to these questions helped shape my thoughts on what I feel are some of the guiding principles of DH. This process was super helpful to me (and maybe it would be for others as well). I outlined my answers to the above questions in detail in my paper, but feel free to share your thoughts on the questions above in the comments!
Happy New Year!