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19 Digital Humanities

Mandal, Anthony 2019. 19 Digital Humanities. Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory 27 (1) , pp. 364-386. 10.1093/ywcct/mbz020

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This chapter examines material published in the field of the digital humanities (DH) in 2018, all of which explores the relationship between the digitalized present and its pre-digital past(s). In one publication, Friending the Past: The Sense of History in the Digital Age, Alan Liu notes: ‘The signal sense of history […] is not just like a plot on a radar scope. It is like the unfolding epic plot of Tolstoy’s War and Peace’ (p. 157). As political scandals over the use of social media and the role of cyber-targeting to influence electoral outcomes continue to dominate the news, it is becoming increasingly evident that not only are social media ushering in an era in which we are alienated from our personal data, but that today’s digitalized world builds on and replicates pre-digital hegemonic structures. Books by Andrew Piper and Alan Liu discuss ways in which scholars can approach the complexities and challenges of literary tradition and historical transmutation through the application of computational methods and digital tools. Discussion then turns to the ways in which digital practices have converged with wider cultural and political developments since the second half of the twentieth century. Lee Humphreys examines this transformation through the traces that we leave as the record of our daily lives while on social media, while Felix Stalder considers how such practices have wider ramifications as symptoms of a ‘digital condition’, for good and ill. Exploring the pressure points of the digital condition more closely, Safiya Umoja Noble scrutinizes the ways in which algorithmic processes, notably those that drive Google’s search engine, are shaped by and sustain discriminatory regimes at the expense of vulnerable minorities. Finally, Roopika Risam’s critique interrogates the field of the digital humanities itself, which—notwithstanding good intentions—remains dominated by the Global North and is at risk of perpetuating the very power structures that it seeks to dismantle.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1077-4254
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2019 15:31

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