Reading Susan Hockey’s description of academic programs in DH has me thinking about the potential career opportunities this field can open up. It’s certainly no secret that the market for tenure-track jobs these days is bleak. So humanities studies graduates, equipped with critical reading, writing, and thinking superpowers, run the risk of not securing the dream job and not knowing what other careers to pursue. It’s an unfortunate situation to be constantly told, “There are no jobs for you,” but never, “You could do this or this or that and here’s how.” But I believe DH can help us find career alternatives wherein we can still exercise our very particular set of skills.
The prospect of still finding a career is one of my reasons for pursuing DH—it also helps that I’m sincerely interested in computer technology and it’s usefulness for archival work. But it’d be great if I didn’t have to pursue this path all on my own. Fortunately this class is being offered, which is already helping me feel validated in my pursuit. However, if this is the future of humanities (and top universities were starting such programs eleven years ago), why aren’t academic programs and opportunities in DH more prevalent? Why don’t we see any English classes cross-listed with computer classes? Why don’t more universities offer a certificate in DH?
It seems to me that the move toward DH studies and practices is a slow one. Perhaps what I see as potential for career possibilities institutions see as a fear of losing their surplus of low-wage workers otherwise called graduate students and adjuncts. It just doesn’t make sense to me that in the “Digital Age,” our English departments don’t seem to be taking more advantage of what that might mean not just for the field but also for our students and their future livelihoods.