Sunday, February 5, 2012

Questions Concerning A Companion to Digital Humanities

Ch. 8: Literary Studies

  1. In his first paragraph, Thomas Rommel states that "the analysis of literature is traditional seen as a subjective procedure." Is this true? If so, is digital humanities the only way to incorporate empirical evidence?
  2. Rommel poses an intriguing question that he never answers: What does it mean to collect empirical evidence with regard to a literary text? Where can I look for the answer to this question?
  3. Is Rommel as pessimistic about the potential of literary computing as he seems to be? Is there general agreement on the statement that literary computing "has yet to add anything to the traditional study of literature? (Also see McGann)
  4. Rommel states that "the question of 'method' remains at the heart of most electronic analysis of literature." What does Rommel mean by 'method'?

Ch. 14: Classification and its Structures

  1. Why does Sperberg-McQueen remain so theoretical in his discussion of classification? Wouldn't it be more helpful to give examples or to explain how to apply the methods of classification he describes?

Ch. 16: Marking Texts of Many Dimensions

  1. Jerome McGann describes the process of digitizing text as 'translating.' What conclusions can be drawn from McGann's use of the word translating to describe the process of digitizing text, or from the similar way in which translators and digital humanists characterize their practices as more careful than others who engage with texts?
  2. Like Rommel, McGann seems skeptical about the potential for tagging because it only addresses the linguistic dimension of a text. He goes so far as to say that "... computer markup as currently imagined handicaps or even baffles altogether our moves to engage with the well-known dynamic functions of textual works." How valid is his criticism?

Ch. 18: Electronic Texts - Audiences and Purposes

  1. Willett's chapter suffers drastically from its age. What is the standard for relevant (current) research in digital humanities?
  2. Willett calls the question about how the computer can "aid in literary criticism" unresolved. Do we have a better idea about the answer now than we did in 2004?

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