Debates in DH
Since beginning this course, I have been thinking about digital works (essays, articles, blogs, etc.) and wondering about how one author can be identified as the writer or originator of the idea. Much of the reading we have done so far has been to answer the question, “what is DH?” and I found it interesting that the Modern Language Association had many quotes within our book. In the reading this week, I discovered that my question was simple compared to the questions posed by Stephen Ramsay and Geoffrey Rockwell and the questions being asked to DH scholars.
Ramsay and Rockwell discussed and compared literary theory to writing code. And honestly, the argument makes sense. Again, I compare it to school because it is my life, but when I ask students to theorize about the theme, they are going to either write or discuss. Their discussion is really a professional argument where students are expressing their understanding of the reading and defending their beliefs about it. The authors are stating that code theory or “building” code can arguably be an example of the coder writing an argumentative discussion of the code. My first experience with coding was last week so I feel like I am speaking a different language, but I understand where they are coming from. To have my students better understand an idea I have them write. If a DH scholar is trying to explain a code theory, they will build code to show their understanding. A problem that is facing DH scholars is they are struggling to receive proper validation for their works. So, the question proposed is, what does count as scholarship? Can building code be compared to literary theory?
In schools, all achievement is measured by data. How can they draw data to support that the building of code is high level?
Gary Hall makes extremely valid statements about STEM programs in, Has Critical Theory Run Out of Time for Data-Driven Scholarship? DH is being disregarded by scholars because of the lack of achievement, something that doesn’t happen over night. But, STEM programs and subjects are receiving a lot of attention. STEM has a focus on “experimenting with the new kinds of knowledge, tools, methods, materials, and modes of working and thinking that digital media technologies create and make possible”(Hall). So, STEM is being praised academically for doing many of the same things as DH.
Is DH like the STEM of literature, comprehension, and theory? Is it not receiving the respect it has earned by scholars because of the pressure for science and math?
The reading this week really made me feel that DH is the underdog in this fast moving world that is education. It gave me more of a connection to this course and its subject. I felt the arguments about writing were valid, and especially the statements made about STEM programs. I am interested to hear how all of you felt about the reading and the statements comparing building code to literary theory, especially because my knowledge of building code is incredibly limited.