Wednesday, May 6, 2015

No, Digital Humanities; the Question is, What are We?

When answering the question: What are the digital humanities and what are the deformed humanities, I think the first question we must ask is what are we? And who gave us the authority to determine the answer to either of the first two questions? As you might be able to guess the direction I'm headed in here, I believe that the best part of theory is deconstruction. The digital humanities, as well as deformed humanities deal very much with deconstruction of texts and ideas as a whole. It is a cycle, or a dance and we go round and round; never really finishing, but always starting over where we began. You cannot deconstruct anything without an original copy. The deconstructed version of a text could very well be the original for somebody else. Humanities, especially the digital and deformed fashioned ones deal with this first hand.

Without the concept of deconstruction and poststructuralism, there would be no digital or deformed humanities. Everybody in the whole entire world should understand that we create our own contexts, nothing is ever set in stone for us; whether in terms of text, or the every day circumstances of our lives.

One of the best pieces from the Deformed Humanities reading was that broken pieces are just a beginning. We begin to form the day we realize that we are broken and that is okay. The example in the article was Humpty Dumpty and how he didn't actually HAVE to be put back together except that it made the fairy tale sound good. Any text that is broken down is just a new beginning for something just as, if not moreso, beautiful than the original.

The digital and deformed humanities are a beautiful thing that we can examine in any way we please and that is what makes them unique based on the person who approaches them. I may have a different view on a digital database than the person sitting next to me in the library as I type this, but we both absorb the information given to us by the digital database uniquely and that's the point.

Nobody needed to give us the power to make these judgement calls; we just did that on our own. That's what the digital and deformed humanities are: making comments, understandings, and observations on what we see and how that impacts us overall.


  1. This is such a great post! I love how you break down deconstruction and when you say that broken pieces are just new beginnings. It has such an inspiring feel to it, and I never though about the Digital Humanities like this before!

  2. Honestly, this is really moving! A broken text is a new beginning....the start of the next broken text. I like the idea that somehow the broken is beautiful, that the creative is also destructive, etc. Really love this all.

  3. I really liked this post and it had a lot of interesting points. My favorite is when you mention the idea that nothing in life is set in stone. Considering the relationship between the fields of digital humanities and humanities computing as well as the debate over what humanities as a field is; I think it is a very fitting statement. In my opinion it seems strange that theorists, those who stretch knowledge to find new meaning, would be more willing to allow their fields to expand to allow new ideas. Who really cares what someone chooses to call their research so long as it doesn't somehow affect yours? Like you said, broken pieces are just the beginning, so shattering one field to create another can't be an impossibly horrible act.