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.
"The Discipline" explores untold histories of literary study in the twentieth century. What futures for our discipline do these new pasts make possible?
In the Spring of 2001, while a graduate student in Philadelphia, I inherited the instructorship for a Temple University continuing education course called, accurately if awkwardly, “Books You Wish You’d Read.” Everything about this gig screamed “easy money,” starting with the course title’s modest past perfect promise — no one, it seems, was expecting me to transform adult students into readers of the classics; all I had to do was turn a few classics into books they had read.