In a system (academia) built on elitism (scholars) and hierarchy (institutions) it is not hard to see why this type of information renaissance is causing a controversy for some. For a long time being an academic was a club where the average Joe or Josephine was not on the invite list, frankly Josephine was likely home baking muffins unless her voice had the command or bravado of a Joe. Scholars in the humanities want to believe they are true humanist but have not necessarily been open to taking information, or rather, equally valuing information from others who were not part of the club (scholars). I do see where digital humanities revolutionizes the process of gathering knowledge and educating and it’s not solely on giving credit to scholarly bloggers, or tagging people and items of pertinence. I see being a DH-er as taking the principles of humanism to the place it was initially meant to be which is a place of informational inclusion instead of exclusion. If we look up one philosophy of humanism we may find the below definition:
Humanism is the denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth; the rejection of religion in favor of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts.
Our current academic system has the average scholar enslaved by the politics of upper administration by tirelessly trying to get published or reach tenure. I believe what this Digital Humanities movement is doing is lifting the curtain that separates and allowing scholars and non-scholarly professionals share, collaborate and truly be open/transparent with regards to information and the advancement of humanistic studies. Maybe for some this cheapens the value of their position as a scholar, that is to say, if they believe information should only be propagated by academics under the watchful eye of an institution. I think scholars are empowering themselves by taking back their freedom to progress from the institutional powers that be. Good by Wizard of Oz, have a good retirement! Hello digitization and collaboration!
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