What Doesn’t Fall Under the DH Umbrella?

Hello!  I’m Courtney.  I am a second year MA student at American University and this is my first class through the consortium.  I’m really excited to be in the DH class because our program at AU offers nothing remotely similar, and, as someone who wants to work in publishing post-graduation, I think it’s extremely important.  As I said during our class introductions, I come from a TV production background.  I was a writer/producer at MTV/VH1 for nearly a decade and left for the career change.  I wanted to marry my love of TV and its technologies with my love of literature, and I feel digital publishing will be that field.  I also feel that it would be remiss not to study the field of DH as it is the field where every other field will have some contribution to it, especially in the publishing industry.

While I have never before considered myself a DHer, I’m now curious if, based on my previous career, I am without knowing it.  I am curious about Ramsay’s “On Building,” and whether or not each of us who tweet, status update on Facebook, or share pictures on Instagram are unwitting DHers.  Do these actions constitute building, as we are adding to the forum?  Or is only coding building?  Similarly, I was struck by Scheinfeldt’s “Sunset for Ideology, Sunrise for Methodology?” and his idea that DH is influencing all areas of study.  I am currently taking a course called Modernism and Painting and it reminds me of how Impressionism influenced the writing of the time.  Will DH influence all aspects of our work and lives?  I’m certainly curious to find out!

4 thoughts on “What Doesn’t Fall Under the DH Umbrella?

  1. I like your idea about comparing DH to a movement/era/methodology like Impressionism. Perhaps a discussion of DH as theory will further this comparison–so far we’ve been defining DH and classifying DHers, but I’m curious about the “theory” side of things–and how can we can apply DH theory to other realms of our work. Perhaps then, even if we aren’t “builders,” we can still use DH theory.

  2. The question of what constitutes building is certainly important, and (from the readings) hasn’t been answered definitively yet. Perhaps it isn’t in simply using Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram that makes us DHers, but HOW these tools are used. This would imply there is a right way and a wrong way to make use of social networking when it comes to DH, which also implies setting up boundaries, but perhaps this is unavoidable. At the end of the day, humanistic inquiry (not just the use of the tools themselves) is essential to DH, so if we aren’t asking these types of questions, presumably we aren’t DHers, much as the field wants to pronounce its open-ended nature.

    • These are my questions too, Dan. I wonder whether students see school/personal life boundaries in the same way we do on the other side of the desk? I think I’m inclined to agree that some self-reflection on our use of media is necessary if we are to call it “doing DH,” but that leads to its own paradox: If our students grow up using digital communication and thought processes intuitively, can re really communicate with them on that level if we are actively attending to, monitoring, and curating our use of those supposedly intuitive environments?

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