What We’re Reading | February 24, 2015

Debates in the Digital Humanities series

7744258278_ef878b67b2_zFor those of you who are curious about the “digital humanities”–a notoriously hard term to define–there is no better place to start than the 2012 Debates in the Digital Humanities volume edited by CUNY’s own Matt Gold.  Debates made quite a splash when it came out for several reasons: its collation of virtually all the significant names in the field and breadth of intellectual range for sure, but especially for its innovative mode of presentation, for example, the inclusion of tweets and blog posts in its pages to capture some of the flavor of DHers’ penchant for exchanging ideas in fluid and conversational online forums.

But the most innovative feature of the collection is its simultaneous publication of an “open access” digital edition that allows readers to interact with the text (and with other readers’ interactions), making it less a static book than a dynamic platform.  The University of Minnesota Press has just announced a fascinating and welcome extension of this concept that readers may want to check out.  First, in January 2016, the press will debut a Debates in the Digital Humanities Annual, which will bring together the most vibrant work of a given year.  And second, it will produce occasional edited volumes on more focused topics, beginning with Making Humanities Matter (Jentery Sayers, ed.), which “examines the role of the humanities in an age of programmable worlds and digital/analog convergence.”

The striking thing about the overarching effort is the boldness with which it confronts fundamental shifts in academic publishing.  Without abandoning print or the idea of the book completely, U of MN Press is clearly pushing the boundaries of publishing in interesting ways, reconsidering relationships between print and digital, authors and readers, periodicals and books, and so on.

Image credit: Quinn Dombrowski. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.


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