Themes

DH Benelux 2020 focuses on three themes that serve to connect the rich diversity of Digital Humanities scholarship in the Benelux and beyond. These are:

Theme 1: Beyond the Toolbox: The Changing Role of Digital Humanities Education

In their relatively short history, computationally-driven humanities curricula have already seen a wide range of developments and challenges. One thing, however, has remained a constant: the idea, held by some people in the field and many outside it, that DH education is about teaching technical skills and computational tools, rather than providing students with new perspectives on human culture.

Theme 2: Replication, evaluation and quantitative analysis in the DH era

DH tools are developed for a specific purpose but can often be reused in different contexts or for different purposes. The appropriateness of tools depends on the research questions you have, the methods you use and the data it is used on, which requires evaluating those tools. Replication of research is important to establish how robust your findings are. Replication means redoing the initial research in an alternative, independent way. Some aspects of DH research can be replicated relatively easily, some require extensive documentation to be able to replicate and some are almost impossible to replicate. 

Theme 3: True interdisciplinarity as a consequence of digital humanities – When 1+1 equals more than two

Digital humanities research often brings researchers from radically different disciplines together. This can result in challenges: venues focusing on digital humanities are very diverse and researchers often also hope for results that are interesting for their respective disciplines. But how to achieve results that receive recognition from researchers in a particular field? How to avoid that scientists with a technical background become tool builders? Or, for example, that a humanities scholar is not taken seriously when reporting on automatically extracted results? Ideally, the scholar’s research question requires solutions or analyses that yield relevant research questions for the scientist. In return, the scientist can further develop analytical tools and methods that provide new insights to the scholar. What we aim for is synergy: where combining expertise provides new insights, methods and questions, for individual fields that participate and beyond.