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digital humanities

Reading’s Black Boxes

One of the bigger challenges facing the humanities today with the changing nature of our reading interfaces is the problem of technical opacity, what goes by the colloquial name of the black box. Do we need to know how computers or computation work to understand an electronic text? Or can …

Back to School: What do you do when you come back and your department is gone? Go to computer class of course.

When I returned to school last month, two things had changed noticeably on my campus. First, my department was gone. The department of German literature and culture, in which I had been a professor, was the latest victim in the so-called decline of the humanities. (To be fair, we weren’t …

Reading your own cognitive decline

I recently attended the Digital Humanities section of the annual Canadian academic Congress. Ian Lancashire of the University of Toronto was on my panel and he gave a very moving paper on the correlation between language decline in writers and the onset of alzheimers. His most famous paper on this …