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Social Media Archeology and Poetics$
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Judy Malloy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034654

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034654.001.0001

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In Search of Identities in the Digital Humanities: The Early History of Humanist

In Search of Identities in the Digital Humanities: The Early History of Humanist

(p.227) 14 In Search of Identities in the Digital Humanities: The Early History of Humanist
Social Media Archeology and Poetics

Julianne Nyhan

The MIT Press

Humanist is an online, international seminar on digital humanities that was set up in 1987 by Willard McCarty. Since its inception, it has taken the form of an electronic mailing list and, within the context of the history of computing in the humanities, can be viewed as a proto-social media platform. Newer and slicker social media and crowd-driven platforms may have come (and, in some cases, gone) but Humanist has endured. Indeed, it arguably remains digital humanities’ most vital locus of questioning, imagining and reflecting on and about itself and its many interdisciplinary intersections. In this paper, the author discusses conversations conducted via Humanist in its inaugural year in order to identify and analyze references to disciplinary identity. After focusing on the contradictions that emerge, she reflects on what they might reveal about longer-term dynamics of Digital Humanities’ disciplinary formation and emphasizes the value of Humanist archives in such research.

Keywords:   Social Media - History, Social Media - Digital Humanities, Electronic Mailing Lists, Humanist, Willard McCarty, Digital Humanities, Digital Humanities -- Disciplinary Identity, Archives - Value in Research

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