Digital Humanities Reading List — Fall 2017

Hello! Thanks for your interest in the digital humanities (DH) research group! We’ll discuss one short reading every other week with the aim of developing a shared understanding of DH approaches and possibilities. As DH is an extremely broad area of research and practice (ranging from computational analysis of cultural materials to critical university studies), our readings will be based largely on the group’s interests. To ground our conversation, we’ll begin our first meeting discussing Matthew Kirschenbaum’s historical account of the emergence of DH accompanied by a crowd-sourced manifesto that embodies some of the field’s early utopian aims.

Come prepared to briefly introduce yourself and your DH interests, questions, and research projects (if any). The suggested readings for the quarter (below) are oriented towards political questions regarding digital technology, but we as a group can determine which DH topics to focus on for the quarter. (For those interested in considering a broader range of texts and methods, check out this list or bring your own suggestions.) Participants are warmly encouraged to present on potential or in-progress research projects throughout the quarter.

To join, please indicate your weekly availability via Doodle ( and send me an email ( so that I can let you know about our first meeting.


An introduction to Digital Humanities (read for our first meeting):

—Kirschenbaum, Matthew. “What is the Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments?” []

—Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0 [ and for the commentpress version see:]


Some suggested readings for following meetings (to be determined by the group):

A political analysis of “proprietary” and “free” software helpful for thinking about Google and Facebook’s model of software production:

Decoding Liberation The Promise of Free and Open Source Software by Samir Chopra and Scott Dexter. I will email you the PDF of a chapter selection.

1970s still-unanswered manifesto on computing: “Any nitwit can understand computers, and many do…”:

Computer Lib/Dream Machines by Ted Nelson. []

Digital surveillance:

—”Dataveillance and Counterveillance” by Rita Raley. []

Race and surveillance:

Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness by Simone Browne. Available online via The Library.

Recursive publics: Alternative models of software production:

Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software []

A techno-determinist take on artificial intelligence from a co-founder of Wired Magazine:

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly.

Two forthcoming books of interest:

—Feminist in a Software Lab (2018) by Tara Mcpherson.

—Algorithms of Oppression (2018) by Safiya Noble.