A new book has been published by Springer The Digital Arts and Humanities, co-edited by Alexander von Lünen, Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Huddersfield, and Charles Travis, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas. The book offers a rich narrative on the potential of digital media in the arts and humanities, with a particular exploration of how the digital arts may inspire the digital humanities.
The book hopes to address some of the methodological conservatism in the digital humanities that, for example, Andrew Prescott has observed by stating that the digital humanities have become “annexed by a very conservative view of the nature of humanities scholarship”. Oftentimes, the digital humanities are merely creating online repositories and then use quantitative methods to analyse them. This books sets out to discuss these tensions, digital vs. non-digital scholarship, by broadening the scope to topics such as performance art, neogeography or conflict studies.
From 23–26 August 2016 the International Network for the Theory of History (INTH) held a conference in Ouro Preto, Brazil. Dr Alexander von Lünen, Senior Lecturer for Digital Humanities at the University of Huddersfield, presented a paper on the concept of “presence” applied to Digital History. The term “presence” in the philosophy of history refers to the process of the narration of the past by historians, and thus translating it into the present, as well as the “presence” of the past, for example in memorials and political debates.
Dr von Lünen argued that Digital History has no present, as most of its advocates live in the past, i.e. methods and ideas developed in the 1950s and 1960s (sometimes even earlier) are still being discussed as standard methodology, when the technology and its applications have made big strides elsewhere in the meantime. This may explain why digital tools are still on the fringes of the subject of history.
There were two sessions on Digital History at the INTH 2016 with a good level of attendance and participation. It was widely accepted that digital media are key to historical scholarship in the form of dissemination etc., but there were many uncertainties how digital tools could be harnessed for historical scholarship beside publication platforms or quantitative methods. The debate continues…