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Beyond Digital Humanities – Elites, Networks and Power in modern China

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The Digital Humanities, an expression initially coined as a book title in 2006, has evolved into a multidimensional field with broad appeal but with little epistemological foundation. In ‘Beyond Digital Humanities: Thinking Computationally. A Position Paper,’ we delve into the evolving landscape of humanities research in the digital age.

In our essay —’Beyond Digital Humanities: Thinking Computationally. A Position Paper’—we critically examine the term ‘Digital Humanities’ (DH), highlighting its limitations as an umbrella term that often lacks specificity and depth. Although terms like Computational Humanities, Computational Social Science, and Spatial Humanities have emerged as parallel and competing expressions, these overarching concepts often obscure the significant developments actually taking place in the field of computational methodologies.

Building upon this critique, we argue for a more profound integration of computational thinking into humanities scholarship. We delineate how computational methods offer a rigorous, structured approach to tackling complex questions, transcending traditional dichotomies like old/new and digital/traditional.

Through a range of examples, the paper showcases how computational methodologies can reshape research questions, foster interdisciplinary collaborations, and bring a new kind of literacy to the field. We also address the ethical and epistemological considerations that come with the adoption of these new tools.

Ultimately, the paper posits that the future of humanities research lies not in abandoning traditional methods, but in harmonizing them with computational approaches to create a richer, more nuanced understanding of the human experience.

The paper is available on the PEERS platform, which offers the possibility —after an easy signing up step— to leave comments. We welcome feedback from fellow scholars interested in the future of humanities research.

It is also available for download on the French national HAL-SHS repository.

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