Digital Humanities describes efforts to study digital technologies and culture, employ computational practices in research and teaching, and reflect upon the impact of the digital.
Digital Humanities ("DH") is a praxis that is transforming what we study, how we study it, and the ways we share and discuss our work. It spans humanities disciplines, as well as the humanistic social sciences. DH is often described as being data-driven, interdisciplinary, networked (created collaboratively), public-facing, process-oriented, and aware of its transformative properties.
DH can encompass a lot of different things—interactive online fiction, layered digital maps of historic places, computers reading millions of newspapers or books to find patterns in ideas and topics, infographics and data visualizations, virtual reality, gaming, memes, GIFs, podcasts, multimedia projects, mobile app development—to name a few possibilities.
A Critical Approach to Digital Humanities
Even with the best intentions, digital technologies and DH projects can pose harm, such as reducing, dehumanizing, or objectifying individuals through data visualizations that rely on objects to represent people; colonizing cultural traditions by imposing open values on communities instead of allowing local communities to determine access rights to their cultural heritage materials and practices; exposing sensitive data such as genealogical or biometric data; and re-traumatizing survivor experiences through the recounting of racist and sexist encounters, such as enslavement, lynching, or assaults and murders. It is important to think critically about the tools we use and the projects we support. To begin learning more, visit the Use section on Usability, Accessibility, and Ethical Design. Additionally, DH@SDSU presented a blog series on questions of critical inquiry in the Digital Humanities. Read the series here.
The Digital Humanities Initiative at San Diego State University (DH@SDSU) promotes critical engagement with DH by providing a hub for strategic innovation and collaboration across campus. We advocate for the humanities in a digital age, and emphasize the importance of examining, making, and critiquing digital culture from diverse, global, and local perspectives. DH@SDSU includes faculty members from across the university, as well as a Recognized Student Organization, the Digital Humanities Collaborative.
The Digital Humanities Center at San Diego State University Library (LA 61 - Bottom of the Dome) is the interdisciplinary hub and home for DH@SDSU. The center supports digitally-inflected research, teaching, and learning that values the importance of the humanities and the interactions of humans in real time and space. We welcome faculty, staff, students, and community members from across the disciplines and spanning the technological spectrum, from the skeptics, to the curious, to the consumers and producers/makers/civic hackers of digital technologies.
This guide was produced collaboratively with Tina Lumbis, Digital Humanities Instructional Support Assistant in the DH Center (2019).