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My new book "The Humanities in the Digital" is now out Open Access!

Watch my book launch presentation at the University of Luxembourg!🤩

On the 3rd May 2023 I presented my new book "The Humanities in the Digital: Beyond Critical Digital Humanities". In full post-pandemic style, the event was hybrid as they are now called, meaning it could be attended both in person (as it now needs to be specified) and online. It was wonderful to share this great achievement with my colleagues and friends as well as part of my family who was attending online.

The Digital Turn had promised to ‘free’ knowledge from subjectivity, but as there is no such a thing as ‘neutral data’ or ‘objective methods’, what is now the role of the digital scholar?

In this talk, I presented the main argument of the book: our current model of knowledge creation needs urgent changing. I analysed many of the different ways in which reality has been transformed by technology: the pervasive adoption of big data, the fetishisation of algorithms and automation, the digitisation of education and research. I argued that the full digitisation of society, accelerated by the COVID-19 health crisis, has not only worsened existing inequalities in the world but also added levels of complexity to reality that our model of knowledge creation can no longer explain. Indeed, based on a rigid division into compartmentalised, competing disciplines, the current model has contributed to exalt computational methods as neutral whilst stigmatizing consciousness and criticality as carriers of injustice.

Taking the humanities as a focal point, I retraced schisms between the humanities, the digital humanities, and critical digital humanities as an example of the ‘paradox of interdisciplinarity’, and I showed how such divisions are embedded within the old dichotomy of science vs humanities.

Digital objects are living compositions of actors and processes which react to societies and therefore bear consequences

I then presented a novel conceptual and methodological framework, the post-authentic framework. This framework offers a more complex conceptualisation of digital objects than mere collections of data points: digital objects are living compositions of actors and processes which react to societies and therefore bear consequences. As it intentionally refers to digital objects rather than to the disciplines within which they are created, this framework provides an architecture for issues such as transparency, replicability, Open Access, sustainability, accountability, and visual display with no specific reference to any discipline. Beyond our current rigid model of knowledge creation, the post-authentic framework ultimately aims to address the increasingly pressing questions: how do we create knowledge today? And how do we want the next generation of students to be trained? I propose a novel way: knowledge creation in the digital.

I propose a novel way: knowledge creation in the digital.

This book is Open Access thanks to funding from the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History 🙏

Watch my presentation ➡️ here (presentation starts at 2:20)

Link to book ➡️ here


Department of Art and Culture, History, and Antiquity

Faculty of Humanities

Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (VU )
De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, Netherlands

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© Copyright Lorella Viola and, 2024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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