Subordinating the Digital to the Discipline

One of the toughest dilemmas in teaching digital practice is in balancing the teaching of digital tools with teaching the method of the humanities discipline being employed. Here is how I have come to think about this dilemma: I ask students to consider, when they are using a particular digital tool, what are they doing in terms of the historical method. I define the historical method using one of the most common articulations of what it means to do history, “What Does It Mean to Think Historically?” by Thomas Andrews and Flannery Burke, and enfold aspects of digital practice, such as inquiry, analysis, exhibition, preservation, and accessibility, into that structure. Below is how I visualize that relationship. In more deliberately connecting the digital with the methodological, I am better able subordinate the digital to the historical discipline and in doing so, create a better rationale for students engaging digital tools.

Digital History Graphic

 

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