As Anne Burdick et al point out in Digital_Humanities, 21st-century communication takes place in a variety of media that go beyond the conventions of linear text. This provides routes for re-imagining content and argumentation in the humanities, which sees both scholars and students alike “generating not just texts (in the form of analysis, commentary, narration, critique) but also images, interactions, cross-media corpora, software, and platforms” (10). The advent of these new technologies has placed an emphasis not just on the text of an argument, but its design as well, with the visual element (and its relation to the text) becoming increasingly important for the Digital Humanities. In accordance with these new media, such as digital networks and video which can later be edited and re-mixed, the authors suggest that oratory argumentation, the “embodied performances of argument,” should be given a renewed sense of importance.
And not only do the Digital Humanities offer new and exciting ways of delivering an argument, moving away from the solitary argumentative essay, they also allow this content a broader reach and relevance, opening up “the prospect of a conversation extending far beyond the walls of the ivory tower that connects universities to cultural institutions, libraries, museums, and community organizations” (82). Where in the past, work in the humanities was distributed among small groups of experts, new technologies allow for greater distribution of content. So the Digital Humanities offer students and scholars not only the ability to compose, conduct research, and present arguments in a variety of media, with more opportunities for collaboration, but also to expose their work to a greater number of people via networking and online platforms. The Digital Humanities allows for a shift away from the insular, solitary text and author of the past, and toward a greater participation in an ever-expanding public sphere.
Burdick, Anne, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp. Digital Humanities. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2012. Print.