Humanities 2.0

December 3rd, 2010 by Jean-Jacques Strayer

The New York Times recently launched a new series of articles on digital tools that are changing how scholarship is practiced in history,literature and the arts. In "Digital Keys for Unlocking the Humanities' Riches," Patricia Cohen describes an increasingly sophisticated and technologically powerful field of digital humanities.

Linked to this article are several examples of scholarship in which data (factual information from primary sources)has been digitized and displayed graphically to produce interactive research tools. It is fascinating to see how patterns emerge and how a "reality" (or at least new ways of looking at possible realities once hidden in the details) can now be visualized, examined and added to the academic discourse.

Here is a sampling of this new digital scholarship:

Voltaire's "social network" digitally mapped

Tracking Thomas Jefferson's travels and correspondence

Tagging medieval maps and texts

Much of the interest in these new digital humanities projects is in the fact that they are "communal" -- increasingly open-source and shared across global communities of scholars and students alike. For those interested in joining such a community (locally), check out the Digital Studies Group and the Digital Humanities Initiative in the CUNY Academic Commons. These are groups of CUNY faculty and doctoral students interested in the growing research and educational potential of these new digital media.

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Posted in Research, Uncategorized

2 Responses to “Humanities 2.0”

  1. Brian Lym Says:

    great post!! utterly fascinating to see this kind of visual data analysis applied to humanities studies

  2. Clay Williams Says:

    Good post, Jean-Jacques,

    I noticed that the number of virtual topics at the MLA conference this year outnumber the same at the AHA conference in Boston–folks are keeping track about how wired professions are.

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