Boston Digital Humanities meetup: no bloodshed, just snacks

One of the things that has me excited to be an internet-extroverted know-it-all again is the Boston Digital Humanities (soon-to-be New England Digital Humanities, I believe) meetup I attended Tuesday.

There are a lot of digital humanities groups around, but the point Zach Davis made was that the Boston area has both the humanities resources and the technical skills to form a really powerful digital humanities community. Zach’s presentation was a great overview – for some people there it was a first introduction to digital humanities, and for some it was a review.

For me the most interesting part of the evening was listening to everyone their introduce themselves, what their interests are, and what interests them about the digital humanities conversation – a great moment of looking around and thinking “these are smart people and they are all so much more than their job descriptions.” Many of them qualified their introductions by mentioning that they didn’t think they belonged there, even though after they talked about themselves a little there was a rousing chorus proclaiming that they obviously did.

A fight did sort of brew around the issue of the influence of technology on culture, specifically younger generations; I maintain that it’s a perspective thing, and that if you look at technology from the right angle there’s incredible potential, much of it only being realized once it’s already being practiced. But, I understand that from another perspective, technology – specifically the occasional k-hole of internet content – might look destructive, or at least a frightening distraction. I think it depends on the looker’s definition of valuable interaction.