The infrastructures of the digital humanities are, like all the best infrastructures, simultaneously omnipresent and invisible. The digital humanities depend on and operate through a vast, interlocked network of objects, capital, people, and ideologies: ASCII code; fiber-optic cables; tenure lines; server farms; research centers and literature labs; wage laborers and graduate students who scan, attach metadata, and program search functions; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); the manpower, capital, and geopolitical location required to apply for a .edu domain name ($185,000, US institutions only); laptops; postdoctoral fellowships; silicon mines; Silicon Valley; the contemporary fetish for STEM in higher education. And while more and more resources are accruing to digital humanities scholarship, developing more and more entrenched infrastructures for its practice within academic institutions, relatively little attention has been paid within that scholarship to the infrastructures of the digital itself. Digital humanities scholarship is primarily seen and sold as a...
Aesthetics and the Infrastructural Turn in the Digital Humanities
Jessica Hurley is a Harper-Schmidt fellow in the Society of Fellows and collegiate assistant professor in the humanities at the University of Chicago. She works on twentieth- and twenty-first-century American literatures with a particular focus on how narrative forms organize our literary, social, technological, and environmental worlds. Her current book project analyzes the relationship between American literature and the nuclear complex, demonstrating the extent to which apocalyptic narrative forms are used to both enforce and resist the destructive logics of the nuclear age as they play out unevenly across axes of race, sexuality, and citizenship.
Jessica Hurley; Aesthetics and the Infrastructural Turn in the Digital Humanities. American Literature 1 September 2016; 88 (3): 627–637. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-3650271
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