Digital humanities (DH) finds itself at a crossroads, particularly in its relation to the traditional humanities. As evidenced in current discussions of the future of the humanities, in print, online, and at recent mla conventions, there is a stark contrast, and according to this essay a growing tension, between the outlooks and prospects of DH faculty and graduate students and those of faculty and graduate students in the mainstream humanities. This divide is not only economic but theoretical as well. Put most starkly, academics on the left blame the crisis in the humanities on the corporatization of the academy and the neoliberal insistence that the value of higher education is chiefly economic. Conversely, it is precisely because of the apparently instrumental or utilitarian value of the digital humanities that university administrators, foundation officers, and government agencies are so eager to fund DH projects, create DH undergraduate and graduate programs, and hire DH faculty. And because there is no sign that these funding streams are going to dry up any time soon, there is great potential for increased tension between the “haves” of the digital humanities community and the “have-nots” of the mainstream humanities.
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Richard Grusin; The Dark Side of Digital Humanities: Dispatches from Two Recent mla Conventions. differences 1 May 2014; 25 (1): 79–92. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-2420009
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