Session Proposal: Is Coding Privileged in DH Work?

I was struck by a blog post from the Miram Posner’s Blog entitled,  “Some things to think about before you exhort everyone to code.”

She writes:

Here, there, and everywhere, we’re being told: A DHer should code! Don’t know how?Learn! The work that’s getting noticed, one can’t help but see, is code. As digital humanities winds its way into academic departments, it seems reasonable to predict that the work that will get people jobs — the work that marks a real digital humanist — will be work that shows that you can code.
And that work is overwhelmingly by men. There are some important exceptions, but the pattern is pretty clear.

Is Digital Humanities equal parts Digital and Humanities, or are we privileging one area over another?  Is it easier to call yourself a “Digital Humanist” if you are more “digital” than “humanist”?

Can humanists who like to play with computers really call ourselves “DHers”?

If we say that humanists need to learn to code, should we also ask that coders learn Humanities, or should we admit we come to this profession with a preformatted division of labor?

I think this is an important discussion to have.

 

Categories: General |

About Michelle Kassorla

Michelle Kassorla is a Lecturer in the WISE/QEP program at Clark Atlanta University. She has a Ph.D. in Ethnic American Literatures from Bowling Green State University, a Master's Degree in English from Humboldt State University, and a Bachelors in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University.

One Response to Session Proposal: Is Coding Privileged in DH Work?

  1. Richard Pearce-Moses says:

    I agree this topic merits discussion. It parallels conversations in the archival profession. See my proposal on knowledge and skills for digital archivists.

    Your statement, “If we say that humanists need to learn to code, should we also ask that coders learn Humanities, or should we admit we come to this profession with a preformatted division of labor?” is quite provocative. (I shall reserve being — respectfully — provoked until the gathering. As a teaser, though, I’ll suggest that a technologists have a general set of skills that can be applied to an extraordinarily wide range of problems. DH are the architects, and IT are the builder/contractors.)

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