October 2015

“Key Trends in Digital Humanities — How the Digital Humanities Challenge the Idea of the Humanities.” University of Canterbury. 28 October 2015. (Lecture delivered as part of a series in New Zealand during Fulbright Specialist residency at U. Canterbury, October-November, 2015.)

  • Abstract: How do such key methods in the digital humanities as data mining, mapping, visualization, social network analysis, and topic modeling make an essential difference in the idea of the humanities, and vice versa? Using examples of digital humanities research, Alan Liu speculates on the large questions that confront the humanities in the face of computational media–most importantly, questions about the nature and function of interpretive “meaning.”
  • Event announcement.


Citation: “Hello (again), world!.” Alan Liu, 4 October 2015. http://liu.english.ucsb.edu/hello-again-world/

This is the inaugural message I posted to the new “digital-humanities@lsmail.ucsb.edu” listserv at UC Santa Barbara, which I started in October 2015. The posting was made on 4 October 2015.


Hello (again), world!

“Hello, world!” is the customary first output for a beginner trying out a programming language. At UC Santa Barbara, many of us were saying hello, world! to the digital humanities as early as the start of the 1990s, though the name for the field had not yet been invented….

So, the underlying question that motivates me to start this digital humanities listserv now in 2015—some 20 years after we all began the great digital adventure at UCSB—is: what next? How can we exploit our advantage as early movers in the field (and in the related social science, arts, and other digital fields whose collaboration with the humanities is part of the longtime DNA of digital studies on campus) in a way that builds the next generation of digital humanities at UCSB? For example, would it be possible to exploit our unique strengths by creating a unified intellectual agenda—supported by publications, conferences, curricula, etc.—for the “digital humanities” and “new media studies”? (That unified framework doesn’t really exist yet nationally or internationally. I am amazed at how many scholars, artists, social scientists, and engineers I know working on new media or network studies with whom I have no opportunity to collaborate in conferences, co-editions, journal venues, courses, or institutional programs because such apparatus now tends to be either for “digital humanities” in a narrow sense or for “new media studies.”)

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