By the end of this section, you should be able to….

  • Be aware of some of the debates and critiques surrounding research infrastructure for the humanities
  • Describe in a more rounded fashion where research infrastructures sit in the context of general Humanities scholarly practices.

Neither the digital humanities in general nor its ‘infrastructural turn’ has escaped critique.  In a general sense, the increasing dominance of the paradigm has raised concerns about how the predominantly white male culture of software development may be marking the digital humanities as well, marginalising female and non-white, non English speaking perspectives.  It has also been remarked that the almost ‘faddish’ popularity of the digital humanities has made young scholars feel that they ‘must’ incorporate digital humanities into their work, at the same time that many senior colleagues may resist the trend out of conservatism or indeed fear that their own methods are being denigrated.

The fact that big infrastructure has also centralised funding for humanities research development has also not escaped the notice and concern of senior figures in the field.  Access to this funding has been transformative, but it has also incentivised a certain kind of thinking about digital humanities research, and a certain kind of language to be used to describe it.  It has also changed the needs of research, creating new roles and jobs for which institutions have been ill-prepared to provide long term support and career paths.

“Some things to think about before you exhort everyone to code”
Miriam Posner

“The residue of uniqueness”
Willard McCarty
Journal article

McPherson, Tara. “Why are the Digital Humanities so white? Or Thinking the histories of race and computation.” Debates in the digital humanities (2012): 139-160.

Anderson, Sheila (ed.)  “What are Research Infrastructures?” (subscription required)

Daniel Allington, Sarah Brouillette, David Golumbia.  “Neoliberal Tools (and Archives): A Political History of Digital Humanities”
Magazine article

You have completed ‘Critiques and Issues’



Your progress through the “Introduction to Research Infrastructures” module