Patrik Svensson’s modes of epistemic engagement provide an opening framework. Svensson proposed five modes: as a tool, a study object, an experimental laboratory, an expressive medium, and an activist venue. Other classifications also benchmark shifts in the practices and identity of the field: from “humanities computing” to “digital humanities,” from Humanities 1.0 to Humanities 2.0, and from Web 1.0 to Web 4.0. The recent rise of blogging humanities and multimodal humanities highlights new forms of publication and scholarly communication, amplified by new affordances of visualization and spatialization. And, heightened interest in digital media and learning is fostering new pedagogies, modes of learning, and literacies.
The “interdisciplinary shift work” of digital humanities, to borrow a concept from Anne Balsamo, is not a single form of work. Methodological interdisciplinarity accentuates tools and methods that form the backbone of sites and resources we rely on daily. Critical interdisciplinarity interrogates the nature and implications of new technologies and media, a project evident in critical cyberculture studies, internet studies, and critical gaming studies. Theoretical interdisciplinarity engages epistemological reflection on computing and on knowledge representation, inquiries gaining force today in code studies, software studies, cultural informatics and analytics. Join us to explore the contours and edges of the heterogeneous field of digital humanities.
Julie Thompson Klein, professor of humanities in the English department at Wayne State University, is a Mellon Visiting Fellow in the Digital Humanities at the U-M Institute for the Humanities. She is co-editor of the University of Michigan Press series digitalhumanities@digitalculturebooks, and her book Mapping Digital Humanities is forthcoming from U-M Press. Klein also serves on the executive board of HASTAC (the Humanities Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory). She is an internationally known expert on interdisciplinary history, theory, and practice.