Digital humanities and practical memory: modelling textuality


  • Arianna Ciula King’s Digital Lab, King’s College London


rethinking humanities


This paper reflects on the relation between Humanities and Digital Humanities from scholarly perspectives intertwined as they are with political stances. Often characterized as enabling a unifying as well as transformative sentiment for the Humanities as a whole, Digital Humanities can be described as a challenging hybridization of scholarly practices contingent to social and cultural contexts. The core of the paper relates to one of the topics of the 2015 conference on Rethinking Humanities, namely digital memory, by recalling on the concept of Humanities as scholarship engaged with meaning-making practices connecting past and present. Building on the

literature and some co-authored research 1 , I present a humanities-informed theorization of modelling in Digital Humanities as a meaning-making practice enacted in the present and aiming at repurposing the past. As privileged objects of digital modelling activities, texts are repurposed via the creation and manipulation of (digital) external representations. An informed theory of textuality reminds us how cultural products embed the processes of their creati- ons and uses. Can digital models enact such practical memory and become in themselves strategies to exercise memory and encode knowledge?