The Humanities in Full: Polemics Against the Two Culture Fallacy

chad wellmon

The New Republic does not like the digital humanities. Following Leon Wieseltier’s earlier diatribes, Adam Kirsch recently warned that the digital humanities and their “technology” were taking over English departments. Kirsch posed some reasonable questions: Are the digital humanities a form of technological solutionism? No, not withstanding the occasionally utopian strand. Are the digital humanities “post-verbal”? With all their graphs, charts, and network visualizations do they aspire to a discourse of mere pictures and objects? No and no. With all their generously funded projects, are they embracing the “market language of productivity to create yet another menacing metric for the humanities?” A good question that deserves thoughtful responses (here and here).

But Kirsch’s essay isn’t really about the digital humanities. It’s about the humanities more broadly and Kirsch’s truncated and ahistorical vision of what they ought to be. The problem with the digital humanities, he…

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