Looking back over the myriad definitions we’ve read for digital humanities, I think the one that has made the most sense to me, in the most succinct form, was the one from Kathleen Fitzpatrick that Chris Forster repeated on his post. I also appreciate the way Forster portions off the discipline in his four rings, even if by sectioning it off this way, some nuances of the field are left uncovered.
With the digital humanities, I think there is an obvious advantage and equally obvious pitfall associated. For the benefits, or possibilities, being able to analyze humanities objects of study through digital tools not previously available will allow scholars to gain new insights, open new areas of inquiry, lead to discoveries that were not conceivable without these tools. The pitfall, which is the same pitfall, I think, that besets any technological advancement, is that it is very easy to become ensnared by what the tools do without reaching real or original conclusions.
With that said, however, I’m all for digital humanities work. I think the opportunities they afford are very exciting, especially the first two rings that Forster mentions—new methodologies and new media. The Orlando Project, for example, is a project that strikes close to my interests, and it opens to me female writers I may never find in any anthology or classroom. In a scholarly approach to considering the project, I think it could be interesting to investigate where these writers are distinct from their male counterparts. Another area of digital humanities—which may actually be less a part of the discipline than as tangential to it—is media/internet studies. I just think it is interesting to explore how the internet and new types of communication available through new media have altered our society and societal conceptions.
On a final note, I went back and read the ideology vs. methodology link that Forster has in his post, and the idea of the fluctuation from methodology in the late 19th & early 20th centuries to ideology during the 20th back, I suppose, to methodology now is a nice way of thinking of that debate. It also directs me to think that my previously mentioned pitfall is perhaps not so much that as a growing pain—right now, it seems, there are so many new methodologies available, maybe scholars do need to get caught up in them… and the new ‘isms’ will follow later.