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Review: A Note on the Current State of Humanities Scholarship

Thoughts on Jerome McGann’s “A Note on the Current State of Humanities Scholarship”*

I found his article positive on the whole, exciting even. His thoughts on collaboration, interdisciplinary work, the uniqueness of the situation that Humanities now finds itself in. His discussion on the academic side, of its recognition by universities, the current graduate system, and also funding initiatives, seem to be the major fence digital humanities must climb.

It always boils down to the money. But I had to remember, that while writing this, he is a professor, running a funded lab, he is writing from the safety of his desk, he is not a recently graduated, unemployed digital culture student. Would the article have even been printed if it had been written by an unknown newly decorated humanist?

What I found most interesting is the uncertainty of Digital Humanities. Is it human or technologically pushed? In the future, will it be sponsored by philanthropy or by corporate businesses? Can it expand, to “a well-designed and conceptually grounded space, whether mainly physical, digital or necessarily mixed, can help bring people together, instantiate technology, be clearly invitational, support collaborative and processional work practices, and allow ongoing, cross-sectional, and profound dialogue”?

I found his use of quotes from blogs and twitter interesting. Social Media is now allowed as a verifiable source in academic papers. According to the Modern Language Association, there is now a designated format for citing a tweet in an academic paper:

Last Name, First Name (User name), “The tweet in its entirety”. Date, Time, Tweet


*A Note on the Current State of Humanities Scholarship

Jerome McGann

Critical Inquiry

Vol. 30, No. 2 (Winter 2004), pp. 409-413

Published by: University of Chicago Press

DOI: 10.1086/421142


So, what do you think ?