It is easy to perceive the current Digital Humanities trend as playful or supplementary to true study. It is also easy to see interactive maps and archives, as well as some of the more imaginative projects, as not having applicable value in our wage-driven culture. E Leigh Bonds’ “Listening in on the Conversations: An Overview of Digital Humanities Pedagogy” relates the current trend in the growing opportunities for employment of humanities graduates who have experience and knowledge in DH areas that complement their degrees. The correlation Bonds establishes is one between the collaborative undergraduate classroom and the much-maligned humanities’ job market, especially those of the “semi-academic and para-academic” fields (Bonds 148). Many take for granted that libraries and other archives exist in strictly public or academic contexts. When, in truth, legal firms, hedge funds, banks, and other large sectors of the professional world hire humanities graduates for their ability to read and comprehend at the level of an expert.
Many academic writers are placing this trend within the context of pedagogy. Bonds’ consults Digital Humanists like Paul Fyfe and Stephen Brier and uses phrases like “making and doing” and “tinker-centric experimentation” (150-1). All of these references are reducible to one fact, the fact that “inquiry, problem solving, and collaboration remain consistent” within the respective fields of the humanities (152). Even in light of the growing requisite experience in text-coding that many foresee as becoming a part of the complete Digital Humanist’s skillset, the ability to roll with new developments and changes in cultural climates and modes of thought is the humanities area of expertise.
But, how does this relate to pedagogy, digital or otherwise? Other than financial gains, such as the Mellon Foundation grant Bonds mentions, which do bring needed research opportunities to colleges and universities, Bonds cites the changes happening at the classroom level. Students are, in a sense, building their own educations through new pedagogic methodology, some still undefined in traditional terms. Simply put, Digital Humanities and pedagogy go hand-in-hand. DH projects and their collaborative natures possess the potential to erase the lines between abstract idea and concrete reality, a method that drives innovation and growth in any profession.
Bonds, E. Leigh. “Listening in on the Conversations: An Overview of Digital Humanities Pedagogy.” The CEA Critic 76.2 (2014): 147-157. Print.