Defining Digital Humanities: A Shifting Frontier

Blog post type: AI

Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s essay, “The Humanities, Done Digitally,” takes us on a insightful exploration of the digital humanities field. She delivers key insights and observations that shed light on an ever-evolving academic landscape.

Fitzpatrick starts with a lighthearted story about her struggle to title her talk, emphasizing the ongoing challenge of defining digital humanities due to its constantly shifting nature.

The essay highlights the term’s evolution from “humanities computing” to “digital humanities” in 2001, underlining its adaptability in response to technological advancements.

One notable aspect is the interdisciplinary character of digital humanities. It bridges traditional academic disciplines, fostering collaboration among scholars in diverse fields like history, musicology, performance studies, and media studies.

The tension between “making” and “interpreting” in digital humanities reflects broader academic debates. Scholars are now expected to both create digital content and critically analyze it, requiring a balance between production and interpretation.

Fitzpatrick intriguingly suggests that not all scholars working with digital materials belong to digital humanities. This distinction recognizes the field’s unique traditions and practices.

Lastly, the essay encourages viewing ongoing debates within digital humanities as opportunities for growth. These debates help refine the field’s identity and facilitate interdisciplinary connections, enriching academic discourse.

In summary, Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s essay offers valuable observations into the world of digital humanities. Its adaptability, interdisciplinary nature, and capacity for constructive debate make it a vibrant and dynamic field within academia. As technology continues to reshape humanities scholarship, embracing the multifaceted and ever-evolving essence of digital humanities promises exciting prospects for scholarly exploration and knowledge creation.

*Notes: This time I tried copy and pasting the text into ChatGPT so it could pull from the exact text and hopefully be more accurate. Although I saw more accuracy in the first draft, it was much too long and was much more of a summary vs commentary like my other AI posts have been. I think this was helpful to ChatGPT, but required more fine tuning. I want to work on making my prompts better the first time so they don’t require too much editing or rewriting.

Prompts used:

  • What are the key points of “The Humanities, Done Digitally” by Kathleen Fitzpatrick? Text is as follows: The Humanities, Done Digitally’…. (I used this prompt to see how it understood the text)
  • Write a 300 word blog post about this essay that includes analysis, insights, and application (response was much too long)
  • This is too long. Please base if off the original text I provided and rewrite it to be 350 words.
  • Please rewrite to include less analysis and more observations/insights

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2 responses to “Defining Digital Humanities: A Shifting Frontier”

  1. Elizabeth Thomas Avatar
    Elizabeth Thomas

    I like how thoughtful you tried to be about the prompt that you gave the LLM. It’s so interesting how differently the AI will respond to different prompts, and that it just ignored the 300-word boundary that you gave it. I wonder when it actually applies these word count maximums and what words signal real boundaries. Maybe using the words “Write a blog post of no more than 300 words” would produce the desired result.

  2. Brian Croxall Avatar

    It’s interesting to see how you’re interacting with ChatGPT, Shelby. This sort of screwing around is very much in the mode of DH; plus it should help you understand what it can and cannot do.

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