“Digital Humanities and the Reorientation of the Humanities Knowledge Space.” Keynote talk for Expert Meeting on Spatial Discovery, UC Santa Barbara. 18 June 2015.

  • Abstract: I am participating in this “Spatial Discovery” event not as an expert in spatial research, linked data, or libraries but instead as a “digital humanist” offering a reflection on some of the themes of the event from a humanist perspective. With the advent of digital media and collections, the traditional “knowledge space” of the humanities disciplines has been eroding. At the interface, that space consisted of such spatially organized structures as the “page,” “book, ” and associated finding aids. More foundationally, the knowledge space of the humanities depended on the tacit orientation provided by place-based collections and the spatial-juridical architecture of archives (with their hybrid physical-conceptual notions of the “archival threshold,” “respect des fonds,” “original arrangement,” etc.). This talk considers methods and practices in the digital humanities that at once further the erosion of the knowledge space of the humanities and attempt to reconstitute that space in new ways, including through maps, network, and provenance structures serving as way-finding aids.