The Important Questions

There is a question has been circulating the DSSF group and our counterparts at Muhlenberg for some time- can we define a hot dog as a sandwich? It does seem like a silly internet joke at first glance, and in some ways it is. However, I have been thinking about the question in regards to DH and how easily we may dismiss some scholarship simply because it doesn’t seem like DH.

In DH, it is often easier to define what isn’t DH than what is. Even then, answers vary. Is archiving and creating metadata not DH because it serves a different purpose? Or do they qualify because they require in depth scholarship and careful consideration of end users on digital platforms? There are many more questions of this nature in DH, all asking if something really has the right to be considered truly Digital Humanities.

I am of the mindset that we should include more in DH, not less. Like a hot dog, some forms of DH are not what immediately springs to mind when we talk of “Digital Humanities,” but like hot dogs, they share enough characteristics that excluding them would be ludicrous. DH comes in many forms, with all types falling under the larger umbrella of the term. It includes new scholarship that fits no where else but in DH. Including these “unconventional” forms of DH diversifies the whole, which is something that DH should strive for and pride itself on. Definitions do not have to be prohibitive.


Emma Lewis

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