Sean Latham is the Pauline McFarlin Walter Endowed Chair of English at the University of Tulsa where he serves as Editor of the James Joyce Quarterly and Director of the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities. He is the author or editor of eight books on modern literature and culture, including The Art of Scandal (2009), The Little Review Ulysses (2015), and (with Gayle Rogers) Modernism: Evolution of an Idea (2015). He is the co-editor of Bloomsbury’s New Modernisms series, a past president of the MSA, and founding director of the University of Tulsa Institute for Bob Dylan Studies.
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.” 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.