Teaching & Learning through Digital Humanities
Teaching & Learning through Digital Humanities

Teaching & Learning through Digital Humanities

English Dept. Newsletter (2010)

English Matters

Full Title: “Teaching and Learning through the Digital Humanities”

Written for the University of Washington’s English department newsletter, English Matters (screen shots left), “Teaching and Learning through the Digital Humanities” frames the digital humanities as “a field that blends technical competencies in computing with critical approaches to literature, language, history, and culture.” Through that articulation, I argue for broadly imagining what “writing” implies in English studies. And despite revolutionary rhetorics that have enveloped the digital humanities over the last few years, I conclude the piece with a hint of techno-skepticism: “new technologies should not be adopted based upon their newness alone. The rationale for teaching and learning must be there, and within that rationale is precisely where the digital humanities rest.” In short, the digital humanities are not simply the instrumental use of technologies to re-present existing research; they also demand critically thinking about how technologies are culturally embedded and to what effects.

What I Learned

In an academic context, this column was one of my first descriptions of the digital humanities for non-expert audiences. The challenge was concisely stating why digital humanities pedagogy and research matter for not only alumni of the University of Washington’s English Department but also a broad spectrum of readers in the humanities, arts, and sciences. From the experience, I learned more about how to write about my work across genres and contexts.