Cultural Diversity and the Digital Humanities
Historically, the field of Digital Humanities has developed in a very anglophone environment with a preponderance of text based scholarship. We are now seeing an interest in exploring culture and heritage more widely. Geographic inclusion, however, does not necessarily equate to scholarly inclusion, particularly if language is a barrier to that inclusiveness. This presentation looks at the growth of DH beyond the anglophone/European sphere and the challenges that cross-cultural initiatives present. Just as the artefacts we produce are the results of cultural influences, so too are the writings, our cognitive processes, and how we view and understand the world around us. This also draws on my research into cross-cultural teaching, examines some of the issues that become apparent when working across disciplinary and ethnic boundaries, and considers some of the growing number of collaborative DH projects that focus on Chinese literature and cultural heritage. Restricting our cultural perspective is restricting our field; inclusion benefits us all.
Simon Mahony is Director of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and Principal Teaching Fellow in Digital Humanities at the Department of Information Studies, University College London (UCL). His research interests are in the application of new technologies to the study of the ancient world, using new Web-based mechanisms and digital resources to build and sustain learning communities, collaborative and innovative working. He is a member of the UCL Student Recruitment Interest Group and recipient of support from UCL’s Global Engagement Funding; chair of the New UCL Open Education Special Interest Group and on the Project Management Team and a member of the Project Board for the UCL Open Educational Resources (OER) Repository. He is also active in the field of distance learning and is a member of the University of London’s Centre for Distance Education with an interest in the development of educational practice and the use of new tools to facilitate this. In addition, he is an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Classical Studies (School of Advanced Study, University of London) and one of the founding editors of the Digital Classicist.