digital humanities

Collaborative Modernisms, Digital Humanities, and Feminist Practice

Nancy Cunard began printing alone in 1927—in a heat wave no less, as she notes in her posthumously published memoir, These Were the Hours (1969)—and struggled her way through the difficult early stages of learning how to make serviceable prints on an Albion press.[1] She quickly realized, however, that she would need help if the Hours Press were ever to become a successful small publishing house. In 1928, she therefore initiated her well-known collaboration with her lover, the jazz musician Henry Crowder, turning the printing room into a space where, as Jeremy Braddock has recently argued, “Cunard’s advocacy of radical race politics” was often perceived by others as working “in concert with the open publicizing of her own romantic relationships with black men.”[2]

Make It Useful: The Modernist Journals Project and Medium Data

In a charged essay recently published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Daniel Allington, Sarah Brouillette, and David Golumbia offer a sharp corrective to the utopian claims that have so often been used to describe the digital humanities. Noting the overlap with Silicon Valley’s rhetoric about “disruption,” they contend that digital humanities is about “the promotion of project-based learning and lab-based research over reading and writing, the rebranding of insecure campus employment as an empowering “alt-ac” career choice, and the redefinition of technical expertise as a form (indeed, the superior form) of humanist knowledge.”[1] This new field, they conclude, aligns too neatly with a neoliberal view of a higher education that uses the digital to hollow out the core critical, intellectual, social, and even professional practices of the humanities.

We Are All Digital Modernists Now

We modernist scholars are all digital modernists now, and for a variety of reasons.[1] Listening to recent debates in both modernist studies and the digital humanities, one would not think this was the case.[2] Digital scholarship is often presented as the preserve of a special inter- or infra-disciplinary conversation distinct from the professional fields that contribute to it, thus presenting digital scholarship as a set of methods distinct and particular to digital humanists.

From Practice to Theory: A Forum on the Future of Modernist Digital Humanities

The future of the digital humanities is field-specific. Past models of the digital humanities (DH) have emphasized interdisciplinarity—not, perhaps, so much the idealized version of interdisciplinarity that implies a fertilizing combination of disciplines and their existing, unique methods as the strategic development and deployment of new, shareable methods that could (at least theoretically) apply to any number of humanist disciplines or literary subfields. Reaching across disciplinary boundaries was necessary, on a practical level, in order to assemble a sufficient number of peers performing the everyday activities of scholarship (collaboration, mentorship, peer review, critique) for a robust new field to emerge.

Topic Modeling Modernism/modernity

Laura Heffernan’s introductory post describes work being done in what she calls the “new disciplinary history.” I have an interest in using quantitative methods to practice disciplinary history. In this post, I explore some of these methods using the archives of Modernism/modernity.

The quantitative analysis of a journal has a long history. Sociologists of science, for example, have long used citation patterns to reveal the disciplinary structure of a field.