Jeffrey Drouin is Associate Professor of English and Co-Director of the Modernist Journals Project at the University of Tulsa. He is the author of James Joyce, Science, and Modernist Print Culture: “The Einstein of English Fiction” (Routledge, 2015) and has published articles on computational techniques in modernist periodical studies, the analog and digital in Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and the First World War. He is currently completing a digital humanities project and book on church architecture and memory in Proust.
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.