© 2017

The Digital Humanities and the Digital Modern


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. James Smithies
    Pages 1-15
  3. James Smithies
    Pages 17-45
  4. James Smithies
    Pages 47-77
  5. James Smithies
    Pages 113-151
  6. James Smithies
    Pages 153-202
  7. James Smithies
    Pages 203-235
  8. James Smithies
    Pages 237-247
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 249-268

About this book


This book provides new critical and methodological approaches to digital humanities, intended to guide technical development as well as critical analysis. Informed by the history of technology and culture and new perspectives on modernity, Smithies grounds his claims in the engineered nature of computing devices and their complex entanglement with our communities, our scholarly traditions, and our sense of self. The distorting mentalité of the digital modern informs our attitudes to computers and computationally intensive research, leading scholars to reject articulations of meaning that admit the interdependence of humans and the complex socio-technological systems we are embedded in. By framing digital humanities with the digital modern, researchers can rebuild our relationship to technical development, and seek perspectives that unite practical and critical activity. This requires close attention to the cyber-infrastructures that inform our research, the software-intensive methods that are producing new knowledge, and the ethical issues implicit in the production of digital humanities tools and methods. The book will be of interest to anyone interested in the intersection of technology with humanities research, and the future of digital humanities.


digital technical development modernity socio-technological humanities research

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Digital HumanitiesKing's College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

About the authors

James Smithies is Director of King’s Digital Lab at King’s College London. He was previously Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities and Associate Director of the UC CEISMIC Digital Archive at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Bibliographic information


“This is a book I wish I had written: an expansive yet also focused examination of the digital humanities (and its critics) in their multifarious connections to the technologies, philosophies, and cultural forces of "digital modern" society. The book is unique in its combined theoretical, technical, and ethical perspective. It speaks with great clarity and wide range of reference about digital humanities infrastructure in a systems framework, software-intensive research, artificial intelligence, the "culture" of the digital humanities, and a large ambit of other developments.” (Alan Liu, Distinguished Professor, UC Santa Barbara, USA)

“Smithies offers a compelling new framework for addressing many of the most vexing and contentious issues in the digital humanities. Ranging over a vast body of history, criticism and methodology, The Digital Modern makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the past, present and future of digital scholarship in the computational era.” (Professor Paul Arthur, Chair in Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Australia)