The Digital Humanities - An Introductory Exploration
Gabriel Wolfenstein
We are surrounded by technology. It has changed the way we see the world and interact with each other. But this revolution has also offered us new tools to pursue humanistic inquiry. Literature and history, political science and sociology, and other humanities and social science disciplines have been transformed as well. We can analyze thousands of books at once to better understand the changes in the Victorian novel; we can map business data in Brazil in order to ask and answer new questions about the nature of women’s work; we can visualize the experience of the working on the transcontinental railroad in the 19th century to explore the lived experience of the Chinese railroad workers who helped build that railroad (and build Leland Stanford’s fortune). By bringing digital and computational tools to humanistic inquiry, we can ask new questions, and answer older questions in new ways. This does not mean that previous forms of scholarship are to be ignored or forgotten: just the opposite. These new tools can enrich our research in exciting and challenging ways, allowing practitioners to build new skills that can transcend the walls of the classroom.
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