If the recent diatribes against the digital humanities have done anything, they have demonstrated how truncated and ahistorical most of our conceptions of the humanities are. We need a history and vision of the humanities capacious enough to see them not as a particular method or set of disciplines but as a disposition, as a way of engaging the world. This talk sketches what such a history might look like and what it might accomplish.
The On Method Heyman Center Workshop Series will examine the range of methods, theoretical and practical, used by humanities scholars and critics, past and present. What are the overarching techniques (technê)--what John Unsworth calls our "scholarly primitives"--and epistemologies (epistēmē), or theoretical apparati, inherent to humanities research? How are the technological challenges and opportunities provided by new research methods (computational, quantitative), organizational structures (labs, workshops, co-working) tethered to epistemological shifts as well? Following Thomas Kuhn, can we outline paradigms of humanistic inquiry? Does it make sense to define "method" in the context of the humanities, and if so, what are the varieties that method has taken on? What are the national speicificities of these methods, and of descriptions of the humanities itself?
While much time has been spent theorizing the "digital" in Digital Humanities, the workshop seeks to gain a greater understanding of the heritage and future of humanities methods in general, while contextualizing more precisely the contributions of computational approaches in the process.