Digital humanities is a broad term encompassing both the development of digital tools and methods in the pursuit of humanistic study (Lev Manovich’s work is one example), as well as connoting a burgeoning critical digital humanities, which looks at the sorts of political, epistemological and theoretical commitments that are embedded in such digital technologies as they encounter humanistic projects (as recently articulated by Johanna Drucker, Geoff Bowker, and others). How might we understand the goals of digital humanities writ large? When teaching digital humanities to students, what sorts of questions can find a balance between encouraging the design of digital tools and methodologies while instilling a rigorous examination of the epistemic issues such tools bring forth?
I propose we collectively identify key issues in the digital humanities by looking at a small number of specific digital humanities projects. This workshop would have participants form four or five smaller sub-groups, each choosing and looking at one particular exemplar. Together, each group would analyze the digital humanities project they chose with the aim of identifying key questions, looking to better unpack the methodological gains of the work, as well as the theoretical assumptions built in to its structure. The last part of the workshop would have each sub-group report their findings to the group at large. The result of this workshop would be a list of questions that participants can take away, using these to aid in designing novel projects in the digital humanities, as well as for pedagogical interventions in teaching both innovation and criticality to students interested in various forms of digital humanities.