Digital Humanities as the Expansion of Scholarship

The questioning of what happens when anyone can speak and publish explores the ideas of the elite status of academic institutions. There are many prestigious publishing presses all around the world, and they are well respected for the high level of work and effort that goes into the books, articles, and journals that are published by them. But they are also very exclusive because it allows only one path for publishing and there are strict standards of what can be published, which allows only a certain type of people to be published. Academic institutions are exclusive in that they only allow certain people in, which is where privilege coming into play. People with certain privileges like being white or coming from a middle-class background helps them access these opportunities in a way that people of color do not have. This is how publishing in academia is controlled, through who has access to these elite institutions.

But this limited access does not allow for the full diversity of ideas and opinions, because people from marginalized backgrounds, people of color and people from the LGBTQ+ communities often do not have access to these institutions or have more institutional barriers in the way of getting into the institutions. And when the it is mostly straight white people, often times white men, who get published and given the prestige it is leaving out these other perspectives and backgrounds that lead to new ways of thinking and to new discoveries.

Allowing knowledge to be credentialed by other people, instead of elite academic institutions allows for more people to have the opportunity for their knowledge to be credentialed. This leads to a wider diversity of thought, ideas, and creators. But when credentialing is no longer controlled by an institution it does lead to potential issues with misinformation, information cannot be checked or vetted in the same way because there is not an institution to check it.

A good compromise for this is to allow for people to publish their own work in their own way and to expand the idea of scholarship. This can be done through digital humanities. Traditional academic institutions do not yet consider digital humanities scholarship in the same way that a paper being published is considered scholarship. Digital humanities allows for more opportunities because it is more accessible to people from marginalized background because it is based on sharing information and tools that are free. Digital Humanities is often run by people already in academic institutions but it also allows people who are not within those institutions to work within them, engage with the community, and by engaging in the community the work and knowledge can be credentialed.

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