Reflection #4- Erik Carneal

The digital humanities is a very new form of scholarly practice. Neoliberalism ideas and values often appear on the digital humanities due to it being so new. One of the main ideas in neoliberalism is the idea of a free market. In the digital humanities, the market is open to anyone. All are allowed to and have the equal opportunity to create a digital humanities project and present it for public knowledge. This is made possible because of the digital humanities remaining free to create and access. If money was involved in the digital humanities, then the market would become less of an open market. Neoliberalism is strongly against capitalism and so are the digital humanities. Capitalism revolves around monopolies and big money complains that seize control of the industry. The fact that there is money directly from these digital humanities projects means that no company or individual can try to take control of said project. 

Another idea that is a result of the open market is the idea of scholarly collaboration. As Matthew Kirschenbaum touches in the article Am I a Digital Humanist? Confessions of a Neoliberal Tool, scholars within the field have the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas without harm. The open market not only means open in terms of money, but open in terms of the free sharing of information. One a digital humanities project is published, it enters a mixing bowl of ideas the the digital humanities presents for all. With proper citation, this information can start flowing through the open market still with no cost to the consumer. This creates an explosion of digital humanities projects that evolve around the use of cited work. For example, my project here at Gettysburg is mostly others information just presented in a visual way. I would not have the opportunity to create this project if it wasn’t for the free and open access to the information I need to visualize. In the article In Defense of DH, Grace Alfasi-Mamagani mentions that the digital humanities is very much a form of project-based learning. She again implements the idea that the digital humanities is all about open collerbation. She mentions that the digital humanities have similar values as public humanities, which also reflects neoliberalism values. The public humanities is the work of presented history, culture, and tradition to the public sphere in a way that is relevant to the modern world. 

As the weeks continue here at Gettysburg, I have learned more and more about the values of the digital humanities. Being a Political Science major, neoliberalism has been a topic of study for the past couple years. The digital humanities certainly incompase the neoliberal values. The values allow for the scholarly field to grow and expand because everyone has the equal chance to produce. The neoliberal values are what allow me and my colleagues to have this opportunity this summer to create a digital humanities project and contribute to the melting pot of information that comes as a result. 


One Reply to “Reflection #4- Erik Carneal”

  1. I think you make good points here. Should DH openly embrace neoliberalism? Will it help us advance our goals? If we delve too deeply here, we run against the idea that any market carries with it ideologies, and without some sort of check against it, it could become problematic fast. Thankfully, the DH community has acted as a check of sorts to make sure that values are adhered to. That DH has very few boundaries is what makes it great, but as scholars, we must also know how to be ethical and value-based DH practitioners, which is why the humanities remain such an important aspect of DH that we can’t leave behind.

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