Critical Discourse in DH my thoughts.

Recently I read a piece by Fred Gibbs called “Critical Discourse in Digital Humanities” where Gibbs examines how Critical Discourse applies in the Digital Humanities. Critical Discourse means both Criticism and Debate, criticism being saying something negative about something while debate is where two people argue over a topic. In the paper Fred says he was asked where the Critical Discourse in the Digital Humanities is. Gibbs has trouble figuring it out for him thus discusses it in the text. In the end Gibbs appears to believe that there is not really any one criticizing projects other than peers who do so slightly.

One of the arguments is that peer reviews is not good enough and allows people on the outside to not understand the projects as well as the people who made it. I believe this is not really true as we are trying in the digital humanities to give people outside of digital humanities an easier way of learning things through our projects.  A second argument is that the work done in the digital humanities is not good enough for evaluation due to our methods. I’m against this as well as I believe if someone cant evaluate something its either because they are not good at evaluating or they are not really interested in what they are evaluating. The third argument for is that Digital humanities needs its own reviewing system for criticising material. I am neutral in this aspect because I am not against someone coming up with a style to criticize projects but I am against meeting criteria that could change how a Digital Humanist goes about their work by establishing limits. Limits imposed by Criticism can affect the creativity and enthusiasm of the writer in Debates in the Digital Humanities Jamie Bianco states “All Criticism tends to shift the interest from the work of art to something else” where the way we criticize can just as likely change the entire project and how we interact with it.

The whole thing with critical discourse puts in the question on is Digital Humanities a different thing to the Humanities? I believe he is putting into context is Digital Humanities really humanities at all is it just a separate subject that has nothing to do with humanities. I disagree as I believe that digital humanities are a subject that tries to be an improved system for humanities, a upgrade not a competitor. In the field of science and technology we strive to improve our current methods with new ones and I believe that is what the digital humanities are.

I believe Criticism is a factor that ensures improvement in the next round of projects. I don’t think that a lack of criticism in something is a bad thing but if there is not criticism at all then there is a problem.  A person in charge of a project is responsible to get their project to the right people to get most accurate feedback available. If you are not getting any bit of criticism after that then there is a problem. Gibbs goes on to point out MLA guidelines for projects and discusses some interesting guidelines like Transparency and Reusability of the project. Those and other guidelines are all things people would think about while working on projects anyway. The one about transparency is the one people are most likely to break. I come across a lot of text where the author of the book assumes people know what they are talking about so leave no real description of their topic in the beginning.

Fred Gibbs 2011 – Critical Discourse in Digital Humanities

Jamie Bianco 2012 – Debates in the Digital Humanities: This Digital Humanities Which is not One


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