Abstract

Abstract:

Digital humanities is an amorphous and contested field, network, discourse, or discipline. This essay argues that it is best understood as a fandom—and that there is much to learn from attending to processes and practices of scholarly field formation through lenses developed by fan theorists, practitioners, and scholars. This approach positions digital humanities as operating in excess of institutional logics, treating the affects and conflicts that accompany discussions of digital scholarship as sites of knowledge production in themselves. The concept of critical fandom is developed to articulate the ways that members of fan communities use diverse creative techniques to challenge and critique the structures and representations around which their communities are organized. Three fan-created digital remix music videos—"The Price" by thingswithwings (2011), "How Much Is That Geisha in the Window" by Lierdumoa (2008), and "Field Work (Imperial March)" by eruthros (2017)—provide frameworks for reflection on digital humanities' field formation and on the practice of critical digital knowledge production as a site of social and political transformation. I show how the lessons of media fandom's subcultural knowledge production can apply to digital humanities' scholarly networks, calling attention to gendered and racialized power dynamics. Operating both within and in critique of academic digital humanities, the collective movement of #transformDH demonstrates how critical fandom might operate as a methodology for a transformative digital humanities whose goals and ethics do not rely on academic disciplines and institutions.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 371-393
Launched on MUSE
2018-09-29
Open Access
No
Archive Status
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