Digital Humanities: Now and Beyond

17 April 2013

The Manifestos

When the American scholars Jeffrey Schnapp and Todd Presner launched their influential and controversial ”Digital Humanities Manifesto” in 2009, it was the initial culmination of a new age in the humanities. Europe published a ”Manifest for the Digital Humanities” in 2011, which was developed during a conference, ThatCamp, in France. Despite their rhetorical, instrumental and transatlantic differences, it was clear that the digitization had entered the realm of the Humanities for good. Due to the technological improvements and the far-reaching possibilities presented by the internet, digitization challenged and altered the
fundamental ways we organize our universities and create new institutional models and, ultimately, how we think about and perform basic humanistic research.

The History

However, from the start the term has been a hypernym that covers several fractions, theoretical approaches and waves, thus the term is still widely debated and constantly negotiated. Humanities Computing marked the first wave, which was widely considered both quantitative and instrumental, and as a technological possibility of service. The discursive shift to Digital Humanities signalled that the focus had become qualitative and intellectual; a philosophical and theoretical approach and mode of thinking. Consequently, the two modes did not agree on the primary focus of research: The former is basically text-oriented, whereas the latter chooses to include the multi-modal and visual objects in its scope of analysis. Also, the discussion whether digital humanities is or should be an autonomous center or it should interact or interrelate with the traditional humanities has been a constant battlefield of different and often ideological discourses during both the first and second wave.

In 2005 the editors of Humanist promoted a vision of Digital Humanities that was based on dialogue and centrifugal developments. It is not only crucial to note the editors’ accentuation of ”a continuous influx of new, vibrant and diverse communities”, but also the term’s immanent hybrid nature. This was supported by the very first edition of the web journal Digital Humanities Quarterly from 2007. The editors issued an op-ed promoting a Digital Humanities based on inclusiveness, openness, community and exploration of endless boundaries. David M. Berry wrote in his ”The Computational Turn: Thinking about the Digital Humanities” from 2011 that we need a third wave that analyzes the computational turn of Digital Humanties – e.g. a discussion of how medial changes produce epistemic changes.

This conference asks: What is the current status of Digital Humanities?

The keynotes by Jeffrey Schnapp (Harvard University) and John Naughton (University of Cambridge) will discuss their respective visions of Digital Humanities and prominent Danish scholars within digital humanities will present on both the critical-problematic perspectives of the Humanities turned Digital or present their own research projects within the area of Digital Humanities.

The conference will take place on the 10th floor of the building Nordkraft, Kjellerups Torv, 9000 Aalborg (room 10.14).

Associate Professor, PhD in American Literature and Culture
Mia Rendix – Organizer
Aalborg University - Denmark
Spring 2013

Programme 17 April 2013

The conference will take place on the 10th floor of the building Nordkraft, Kjellerups Torv, 9000 Aalborg (room 10.14)

10.00-10.15 Welcome and introduction by organizer Associate Professor Mia Rendix and Dean of the Humanities, Professor Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld
10.15-11.00 Keynote by Professor Jeffrey Schnapp (Harvard University)
11.00-11.15 Questions
11.15-12.15 Keynote by John Naughton (Cambridge University)
12.15-12.30 Questions
12.30-13.30 Lunch
13.30-14.00 Lecture: Professor Helle Porsdam (University of Copenhagen)

Introduction of the Danish DigHumLab, by Associate Professor Erik Champion (University of Aarhus)

14.30-14.45 Coffee
14.45-15.15 Lecture Professor Lars Ole Sauerberg (University of Southern Denmark)
15.15-15.45 Lecture Associate Professor Niels Brügger (University of Aarhus)
14.45-16.30 Round-table discussion – chaired by Professor Thomas Ryberg (University of Aalborg)
16.30 Goodbye



Conference coordinator Mia Rendix

Conference secretary Marianne Høgsbro