Seven reasons why we need an independent Digital Humanities

Gregory Crane Professor of Classics and Winnick Family Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship Tufts University Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Digital Humanities Open Access Officer University of Leipzig April 28, 2015 Draft white paper available at http://goo.gl/V9Ddjq This paper describes two issues, the need for an independent Digital Humanities and the opportunity to rethink within a digital space the ways in which Humanists can contribute to society and redefine the social contract upon which they depend. The paper opens by articulating seven cognitive challenges that the Humanities can, in some cases only, and in other cases much more effectively, combat insofar as we have an independent Digital Humanities: (1) we assume that new research will look like research that we would like to do ourselves; (2) we assume that we should be able to exploit the results of new methods without having to learn much and without rethinking the skills that at least some senior members of our field must have; (3) we focus on the perceived quality of Digital Humanities work rather than the larger forces and processes now in play (which would only demand more and better Digital Humanities work if we do not like what we see); (4) we assume that we have already adapted new digital methods to existing departmental and disciplinary structures and assume that the rate of change over the next thirty years will be similar to, or even slower than, that we experienced in the past thirty years, rather than recognizing that the next step will be for us to adapt ourselves to exploit the digital space of which we are a part;...