Until I encountered the Unsworth article, I hadn’t viewed humanities computing as a practice that could be seen as “representation, a form of modeling or…mimicry.” The way I pictured this concept was quite simple, like most of our cultural norms and educational systems we, as a society, have rapidly evolved to center ourselves in the world of digital media. Full courses at universities have lecture series online, you can download digital books, etc. The humanities become digitized and more intertwined with computing seemed like a seamless extension of where our current social media loving society was headed. Perhaps, because I never had a label for this field, I never thought of it as “othering” (for lack of a more precise term). Reading the Unsworth article allowed me to break down how the digital humanities/humanities computing can be viewed, providing a foundation that I desperately needed. Step one, use the computer as a tool for modeling data and our understanding of it. This step seems applicable enough to me–I’ve used corpora to analyze works of literature to help establish a data set for noun to verb usage, identify sentence structures, etc. Unsworth then moves to discussing how DH can be used to identify both masters within the field and charlatans, though this is where the field gets murky for me. I didn’t think (and perhaps still don’t) that there is a way to present a concept within the field of humanities that is absolute; there will always be a gray area, a new way to view a concept, or interpret an event. I also think the humanities are always shifting or building on new knowledge or a new interpretation, so the idea of charlatanism within the field is hard for me to grasp. I supposed there are people out there who do view the world of the humanities as one that is ruled hard and fast, but for the most part, I think what both the sciences and the humanities have in common, is there need to be in constant communication with others in the same field; the strive for human connection. The difference I’m struggling with, however, is that when a set of data is given to a scientist there is (generally) only one way to interpret those results where as when data is collected within the humanities, that’s less likely to occur. I think I’m still struggling, however, with the broad categorization of what is and is not digital humanities. It seems like after reading the Unsworth article, he’s still struggling to really define what fits into this category and what doesn’t and, furthermore, I’m not sure if what he claims fits and does fit are mutually exclusive.
Is imitation the highest form of flattery? Tucker Blog #1