Dr Juan Garcés, Academic Coordinator, Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities
Digital Humanities: the cultural evolution
The rapidly evolving field of Digital Humanities is clearly en vogue. Judging from its presence in esteemed Humanities super-events such as the conferences of the Modern Language Association or the Society of Biblical Literature, it is also seemingly catching on with the mainstream academic discourse. Yet, despite its impact as the new kid on the block, Digital Humanities comes with a bag of insecurities: Is it its own discipline or merely a Hilfswissenschaft? Is it here to reform or to revolutionise?
In addressing Digital Humanities’ identity crisis, I will remind the audience that this development converges with several broader social and technological phenomena: the digitisation of society, the transformation of information into a key commodity, and the crisis of the Academy, in general, and the Humanities, in particular, to name but a few. In understanding it as a product of these phenomena, I will make the argument for Digital Humanities as a new opportunity to reconfigure our social (and technical) protocols in order to fulfil the promise of critical knowledge in the current context.
After studying theology in Giessen and Marburg, Germany, Juan Garcés received a doctorate in Biblical Studies from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2003. He has since gained experience in the field of Digital Humanities as an analyst, consultant, and adviser for digitally-based research projects, particularly in the field of Greek texts. Before coming to Göttingen University to take over the academic coordination of the recently created Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities (http://www.gcdh.de/), he worked for the ReScript Project at the Institute of Historical Studies, University of London, and as Project Manager of the Greek Manuscripts Digitisation Projects at the British Library. His grounding in Digital Humanities comes from the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London, which awarded him an MA in Digital Humanities. He is one of the founding members of the Digital Classicist (http://www.digitalclassicist.org/), the organiser of the Open Source Critical Editions workshop, and co-author of ‘Open Source Critical Editions: a Rationale’ (in: Text Editing, Print, and the Digital World, eds. Marilyn Deegan and Kathryn Sutherland, Ashgate Press, 2009).