A Public History Newbie's Thoughts on Everything and Nothing

Public History. Comments. Questions. Sarcasm. Maybe Some Hippie Rants.

Not a Clever Title: A Report on “DH Will Not Save You”

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“Let’s consider class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, nationality primary to and constitutional of the digital humanities, not simply the “diversity box” of political correctness. Let’s remember the fringe fields and movements who did this in the past, but did not receive widespread support and funding, as part of the central history of DH. Only when we completely reconfigure and recenter the humanities in DH will we be able to talk about using the field to “save” humanities departments from extinction.” –Adeline Koh, “A Letter to the Humanities: DH Will Not Save You,” April 19, 2015

Adeline Koh writes like she is charging on a white horse to say the Misconception Dragon. This article, written for Hybrid Pedagogy, attempts to clarify that using Digital Humanities (DH) is the not the be-all and end-all of how to save academic departments from boring stagnation.

While her fervor may be a tad over the top, I see her point. Her point (I believe) is that all the fantastic teaching of digital tools in Digital Humanities such as History, are worth much less if the students are not also being taught the human connection needed. She calls out that many is the DH field have been letting the digital tools or method be the accomplishment without centering on the true humanities, implications, ect…  In her eyes the humanities need to stay at the core of DH without the alluring glitz and glam of the “digital” becoming center stage.

To summarize the quote that I began with, just using new technologies will not be the only savior to the field. The people themselves must be in focus- in very pointed detail. Again, Koh comes across as very serious about this belief. I do not know any of her other work or main profession so it is not fair to judge but, I have to say that even as a completely new user of Digital History, it has changed enhanced how I will operate, research, and apply history. So, while Koh is very doom and gloom about the DH losing its heart, I am leaning toward DH being an open door for exploration.


Author: greengoddesshistory

Public History Masters Student. Museum Director. Trail Runner. Gym Lover. Dove owner.

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