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Entries tagged 'theory'


Full Stack DH: Building a Virtual Research Environment on a Raspberry PI

The text and slides of my presentation to the DH2016 conference, Kraków, July 11 - 16, 2016.

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Knowledge Machines: Digital Transformations of the Sciences and Humanities

Video: This panel discussion of Eric T. Meyer and Ralph Schroeder's Knowledge Machines: Digital Transformations of the Sciences and Humanities (M.I.T. Press, 2015) occured on January 27th, 2016 at the University of Oxford. It was part of the TORCH Books at Lunchtime Series, and associated with the Oxford Internet Institute.

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Towards a Systems Analysis of the Humanities

Video: This is a video of my contribution to the workshop 'The Frontiers of DH: Humanities Systems Infrastructure', presented by the UC Digital Humanities Programme during November 2015. See also Prof. Paul Arthur: Smart Infrastructures for Cultural and Social Research, Prof. Alan Liu: Against the Cultural Singularity, and (earlier in the month) Dr. Tim Sherratt: Towards A Manifesto for Tactical DH Research Infrastructure.

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Theory, Systems and Vino

I’ve been watching the current Theory Debate via Digital Humanities Now this past week or so with interest but have only just found the time to write down my reaction to it. It’s a topic that has been dear to my heart for some time now. It touches on the question of where the digital humanities stand in relation to the core tradition, and what direction it’s going to take as a practice (I’m not sure I’m keen for it to become a ‘discipline’ in the traditional sense of the term). I’ve often said that if DH is to be taken seriously by the analog humanities it will need to begin to engage with some core humanities practices, develop some kind of theoretical framework(s), identify some core methodologies, and  generally produce some writing that has recognizable intellectual ‘grunt’.

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The moral imperative of the digital humanities

I’ve been taken by the final report of the Comité des Sages (‘the reflection group on bringing Europe’s cultural heritage online’) , The New Renaissance (January 2011). It articulates a moral imperative that has long been a driving force of the digital humanities but is infrequently surfaced, perhaps for good reason given the dangers of mixing intellectual and cultural movements with claims that they coincide with the morally correct.

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Digital Humanities: The Pacific Node

Tom Scheinfeldt’s recent blog entry ‘What Digital Humanists Like’ suggests the discipline is structured in a similar way to social networks, with the main conversation based on Twitter and an organizational structure best conceived as a series of horizontally (as opposed to vertically or hierarchically) organized nodes. My feeling is that the digital humanities also need to be conceptualized from the point of view of engineering and the history of technology, but that’s another issue.

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The Social University Model

People keeping an eye on the digital humanities Twitterverse (or Digital Humanities Now) may have already come across this set of slides describing CUNY’s move to develop a social university. I’m reposting here to pick up those people – hopefully New Zealanders! – who missed it. It’s time to get with the program…

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An Open Letter to New Zealand Humanities Academics

‘Open Letters’ are often dramatic affairs, but this one has a more pragmatic purpose: to give New Zealand university staff working in the humanities a leg-up into the digital humanities, and point out where they should focus their attention. My activities over the past few years have hit the radar of some of my close colleagues, and latterly a slightly wider audience with the publication of this blog and www.humanitiesmachine.org.nz, but I’m constrained by only working in the digital humanities in my spare time, and outside a university setting. I’m grateful to Paul Millar at the University of Canterbury Humanities Computing Unit for both setting up the unit (it represents a significant advance) and adding me, and therefore my occasionally intemperate ideas, as a Research Associate, but we need to get more people onboard.

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Digital Anarchism and the Digital Humanities

Further to my purpose of offering NZ humanists some snapshots of what the digital humanities are about, here is an excerpt from Todd Presner’s ‘Digital Humanities 2.0: A Report on Knowledge’. I particularly like the paragraph below, but I’m uncomfortable about his calls in the (UCLA) Digital Humanities Manifesto to label anyone who wants to close off open web spaces as an ‘enemy’. This style of DH will appeal to post-structuralists, digital anarchists, and postmodern Marxists, but I personally don’t support calls to remove Capital from the digital world – I suspect I’d have to find yet another new career if that happened.

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Digital Humanities 2010 Keynote….and the purpose of this blog

I think this blog, and my associated Twitter account that I’ve added to the sidebar for all those non-twitterers out there,  is finding its focus. Unlike my previous blog and websites, which were focused towards the international digital humanities community, I’d like this one to provide digital humanities news for busy New Zealand humanities scholars who don’t have the time – or perhaps the inclination – to keep up with developments in this emerging field. So no polemics (if I can help it), just a series of posts to keep people up to date.

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Technological Agnosticism

I’ve long held that both digital and analog humanists need to take a more agnostic approach to technology. Digital humanists are getting there, but neither  group seems to have the level of maturity present in the commercial and public sectors in this regard (evidenced by continued debates about the pros and cons of this or that format or presentation medium – the ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’). I’ve been reading ISO/IEC26514 (2008), which is the international standard for the development of user documentation, and am impressed with it on this score.

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Digital Manifesto, THATCamp Paris

Geoff Rockwell’s report on centerNet 2010 reminded me how much work is required to get the Asia-Pacific region up to speed in the Digital Humanities. Where better to (re)start than the Digital Manifesto produced at THATCamp Paris on 18-19 May, 2010? Click here for the website and on the image for a scalable version.

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Dr. James Smithies

Director | King’s Digital Lab

King's College London

Strand | London WC2R 2LS

Blog Categories
Digital Humanities | History