David Golumbia has a pair of posts tackling, first, [in-group and out-group dynamics][dynamics] that plague the digital humanities community, and, second, the [role of tools and tool use][tools] in definitions of what is, and is not, work in the digital humanities. Both posts have already attracted a fair amount of discussion, but the latter post is great because it highlights the work of my collaborator Jonathan Goodwin in trying to think about the relationship of topic modeling methods and outputs and humanistic forms of inquiry.
Early in the essay, Golumbia references his own experience and background in computational linguistics. I wonder if that couldn’t be the key to the wobbly nomenclature that everyone seems to be struggling to stabilize and/or right? That is, before there was the digital humanities, there was computational humanities. In an effort to be more inclusive, and because many of the practitioners were interested in it, digital media got folded in and, *presto*, take the adjective from one and the noun from the other and you’ve got *digital humanities*. Only the practitioners of the two already very diverse fields of inquiry, along with those interested in the digital arts, just don’t speak the same language.
This is my very impressionistic view of the history. I could be completely off base. And I wouldn’t mind ignoring them altogether, except as Katharine Harris points out in her comments: some of the definitions offered up not only don’t help but also harm.
Then there was the whole [Dark Side of the Humanities][dark] panel at MLA that I missed. That’s what I get for not going and not following Twitter during such things.