Digital Humanities or Digital Liberal Arts?

What is the Digital Humanities (DH)?

[T]he digital humanities today is about a scholarship (and a pedagogy) that is publicly visible in ways to which we are generally unaccustomed, a scholarship and pedagogy that are bound up with infrastructure in ways that are deeper and more explicit than we are generally accustomed to, a scholarship and pedagogy that are collaborative and depend on networks of people and that live an active 24/7 life online. (Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, ADE Bulletin 150 (2010)).

Wikipedia calls Digital Humanities (DH) “an area of research, teaching, and creation concerned with the intersection of computing and the disciplines of the humanities.” One popular definition points out that if you’ve tried to define DH, then you are already doing DH. Here is a recent list of brief definitions by recognized “DHers”. Choose your favorite. And welcome to the fold.

See the useful links page for many resources (both quick and in-depth) about the digital humanities.

Why are we using the term Digital Liberal Arts (DigLibArts)?

We prefer the term “Digital Liberal Arts” (coined by William Pannapacker in this article in the Chonicle of Higher Education) since we see the interdisciplinarity of digital methodologies as essentially related to the mission and goals of a twenty-first century liberal arts education.

Rafael Alvarado usefully summarizes the distinctive ethos of Digital Liberal Arts:

the dig­i­tal lib­eral arts seeks to locate dig­i­tal media squarely within the frame of the lib­eral arts, broadly con­ceived as a cur­ricu­lum, not a dis­ci­pline or even set of dis­ci­plines, and as a dis­tinc­tive mode of edu­ca­tional expe­ri­ence, not a set of received the­o­ret­i­cal con­cerns.

Alvarado goes on to point out three distinctive features of Digital Liberal Arts

First, [diglibarts] is inclu­sive of the entire arts and sci­ences spec­trum, from the human­i­ties and per­form­ing arts to the social sci­ences and the nat­ural sci­ences.
Sec­ond, [diglibarts]  is explic­itly res­i­den­tial and dia­log­i­cal…DLA is from the out­set con­cerned with the inte­gra­tion of tech­nol­ogy into the every­day life…
Third, [diglibarts]  is as con­cerned with ped­a­gogy as it is with research, pur­su­ing mod­els of research and ser­vice based teach­ing that char­ac­ter­ize small lib­eral arts col­leges today.

Read his full blog post here.