Digital Humanities: What Is It and Setting an Agenda



So, I found the two texts for this week’s reading to be overwhelming, which is the opposite of what I had expected. I have some beginner’s knowledge of the digital humanities and what it is, but not enough to be able to understand some of what was included in these articles. The first piece, ” What Is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments?” by Matthew Kirschenbaum, was a very thorough introduction to digital humanities and its history in how it came to be. While reading the first article, it felt like I was watching one of those documentary-style videos of a timeline  of the history of a particular topic with a narrator’s voice in my ear the entire time going through important dates, years, and names and just relaying general information to me.

When I got around to reading the second piece, “The Literary, the Humanistic, the Digital: Toward a Research Agenda for Digital Literary Studies” by Julia Flanders, could almost act as a continuation from the first piece going int more depth about what I would like to know regarding the digital humanities, but didn’t quite help because of the unfamiliar jargon throughout. By the end of the article, Flanders was posing “next-step questions” that I thought would’ve been answered within her article. It seems Flanders put together a matter-of-fact article that just got started into telling its readers how to get this thing called Digital Humanities off of the ground and into real live action. Now, I am sure that all of what I read can probably be explained in a more clear and concise way; I have a feeling that once Hailey and Marissa give their presentation and speak on this topic, I will be able to make connections in my head and it won’t be as complicated.

From my understanding, though, the digital humanities seems like a very vast branch of the humanities that seeks ways to incorporate technology/media into the learning and writing processes. I can be a bit off with this understanding, but I am aware of the shifts that have been made as far as ebooks, electronic literature, analyzing digital culture, and computers with composition. All of these aspects and more seem to be at the forefront of what digital humanities is working with in terms of finding ways to have computers/technology/media improve and enhance humanities as it exists today. It is very important work that I admire, and wish to know more about. I feel I am also taking my part in contributing to this field with my contributions thus far a s a graduate student and I hope to continue to grow and learn as much as I can by the time that I graduate.



I am a current graduate student at Kean University's Nathan Weiss Graduate College. While majoring in English and Writing Studies, I am also working as a graduate assistant in the writing center and enjoying my time to grow, learn, and explore!

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