Digging in

“… digital humanities, with a culture that values collaboration, openness, nonhierarchial relations, and agility, might be an instrument for real resistance or reform.”              – Matthew Kirschenbaum

The struggle to define digital humanities reflects its wide scope of possibilities and potential for growth, and in its ambiguous boundaries lies its definition. Kirschenbaum tries to explain, “Digital humanities is more akin to a common methodological outlook than an investment in any one specific set of texts or even technologies.” Advancement of technology will and have been changing the contours of digital humanities, but what should remain consistent is the willingness to incorporate digital tools to advance academia. This attitude has allowed digital humanities to expand and be accepted in academic environments, and the proliferation of projects implementing digital humanities in the past decade is a true testament to this dedication.

In the context of this Digital Scholarship Internship, I am struggling to comprehend the meaning of digital humanities and how this term translates when digging into student publications in the Special Archives. I see this internship as an opportunity examine the history and culture of the Amherst student body, especially during contentious times, and use digital methodologies to make this information accessible to the public. At this moment, trying to find what I want in the student publications collection seems like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But in hopes that aiming high will get me somewhere close, I will say that I want to find student publications that reflected or shaped the Amherst administration, such as admitting women, increasing diversity, changing financial aid to need blind, implementing a Black Studies major, and more. I hope that by focusing on the past impact of student voices, it will encourage future classes of Amherst College to speak out for change, using the past as precedents for their struggle and success.

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