Four Stages of DH

[This mostly serious look at the four stages of DH reflect my own journey in learning about the digital humanities/digital history. The experiences of others may vary and I reserve the right to add stages at a later date.]

Practical-ist
You see DH as another way to make yourself stand out as a job applicant. While not really knowing what DH means or how to go about practicing DH, there is curiosity.

What you should do if you are a practical-ist:
Learn more about DH. Some good starting places are Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s Digital History, Stephen Ramsay’s On Building, Mark Sample’s reflection on DH as sharing, and the Day of DH (2011, 2010)

Optimist
You have just learned what DH is and are now excited (possibly overwhelmed) with the possibilities and promise of the digital medium. DH is more than a job opportunity, but now a way of life.

What you should do if you are an optimist:
Talk to someone about digital scholarship and tenure/publishing. Read some dystopic literature (try Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death). The readings from my UNL seminar this week were also nice and dark.

Pessimist
After finding out the realities of the job market and the way in which much of academia values digital scholarship (still not very much) you are down on the future of DH. The realities of the unchanged scholarly infrastructure have you convinced that nothing is going to change while you are on the job market.

What you should do if you are a pessimist:
Learn about alt-ac opportunities. There are a number of great DH opportunities that are valued, though not “traditional” academic jobs. #alt-academy and Bethany Nowviskie are great resources with which to begin.

Realist
You have now emerged from your depression. You are now developing specific skills that will benefit you in the future. You acknowledge the real challenges facing DH in academia, but they no longer seem insurmountable.

What you should do if you are a realist:
Encourage people to check out DH. Bum out Optimists. Cheer up Pessimists. Have fun

2 thoughts on “Four Stages of DH

  1. A Brave New World « Peter Kotowski

    […] experience for my students.  As I work through this four goals, I hope to move through the four stages of digital history, moving from a practical-ist who sees the utility of digital history to a realist who embraces […]

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