1.ii Society, Governance, and Knowledge Construction and Constriction

Althusser, Louis. 1971. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Towards an Investigation).” In Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, translated by Ben Brewster, 127–86. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Althusser describes the form and function of ideology, and how it dictates experience and knowledge via Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs). ISAs include the church (the “religious ISA”), family, school, union, law, culture, political system, and communication infrastructure. Repressive State Apparatuses (RSAs), on the other hand, include more overtly violent institutions such as the police and the army. ISAs constitute subjects, and thus experience, through ritual and practice. As they are omnipresent institutions, ISAs dictate knowledge production: subjects both constitute and are constituted by ISAs. Althusser contends that the school is the prime contemporary instantiation of the ISA; the school maintains an ideological infrastructure through the training of children into ideological subjectivity, thereby reproducing the conditions of production.

Ang, Ien. 2004. “Who Needs Cultural Research?” In Cultural Studies and Practical Politics: Theory, Coalition Building, and Social Activism, edited by Pepi Leystina, 477–83. New York: Blackwell.

Ang ruminates on the current relationship between cultural studies, the university, the public, and society at large. She argues that not only do individuals benefit from cultural studies work, but they in fact rely on this sort of work to navigate, comprehend, and meaningfully contribute to an increasingly complex world. Ang advocates for the detachment of cultural studies from corporate-based funding, as she worries that these sorts of partnerships will, by catering to popular will and interest, falsely skew and inadequately represent the field of cultural research. Ang asserts that social knowledge production must be supported by a knowledge infrastructure that holistically approaches the study and creation of culture.

Bailey, Moya Z. 2011. “All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave.” Journal of Digital Humanities 1 (1): n.p. humanists-are-white-all-the-nerds-are-men-but-some-of-us-arebrave-by-moya-z-bailey/.

Bailey situates herself in a critical conversation on the racialized and gendered terminology of nerddom, and by extension, as she argues, of the digital humanities. Bailey asserts that individuals who identify as being on the margins of traditional academia will often find themselves at the borders of digital humanities as well. She argues that if we can open the field and engage those often left on margins (women, disabled individuals, people of colour), an entirely new set of theoretical questions and directions will become viable. As case studies, Bailey offers projects and activism initiatives that carry out this objective.

Balsamo, Anne. 2011. Introduction: “Taking Culture Seriously in the Age of Innovation.” In Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work, 2–25. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Balsamo studies the intersections of culture and innovation, and acknowledges the unity between the two modes (“technoculture”). She argues that technological innovation should seriously recognize culture as both its inherent context and a space of evolving, emergent possibility, as innovation necessarily alters culture and social knowledge creation practices. Balsamo introduces the concept of the “technological imagination”—the innovative, actualizing mindset. She also details a comprehensive list of truisms about technological innovation, ranging from considering innovation as performative, historically constituted, and multidisciplinary to acknowledging design as a major player in cultural reproduction, social negotiation, and meaning-making. Currently, innovation is firmly bound up with economic incentives, and the profit-driven mentality often obscures the social and cultural consequences and implications of technological advancement. As such, Balsamo calls for more conscientious design, education, and development of technology, and a broader vision of the widespread influence and agency of innovation.

*Biagioli, Mario. 2002. “From Book Censorship to Academic Peer Review.” Emergences 12 (1): 11–45. doi:10.1080/1045722022000003435.

Biagioli details the historical and epistemological shifts that have led to the academic peer review system as it is now known. Contrary to its contemporary role, peer review began as an early modern disciplinary technique closely related to book censorship and required for social and scholarly certification of institutions and individuals alike. The rise of academic journals shifted this constrained and royally-mandated position; no longer a self-sustaining system of judgment and reputation dictated by a small group of identified and accredited professionals, (often blind) peer review now focuses on disseminating knowledge and scholarship to the wider community. Biagioli also states that journals have moved from officially representing specific academic institutions to being community owned and operated, as responsibilities, duties, and readership are now dispersed among a group of like-minded scholars.

Benkler, Yochai. 2003. “Freedom in the Commons: Towards a Political Economy of Information.” Duke Law Journal 52 (6): 1245–76. http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol52/iss6/3.

Benkler analyzes the pervasive social influence of the Internet, with a focus on the economic and political changes affected by the rise and ubiquity of digital spaces, networks, and action. He argues that the Internet has caused two new social phenomena to occur: “nonmarket production” (production by an individual without intention to generate profit) and “decentralized production” (production that occurs outside of the sanctioned centres of industry). In turn, these phenomena facilitate new opportunities to pursue democracy, individual freedom, and social justice. The forms of production incited by the Internet permit individuals and communities to gain control over their work, means of production, and networks of relations, and consequently to garner more influence. Benkler concludes by rallying readers to take advantage of the opportunities the digital environment boasts in order to build more just and democratic social, economic, and political systems.

Berry, David M. 2012. “The Social Epistemologies of Software.” Social Epistemology: A Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Policy 26 (3–4): 379– 98. doi:10.1080/02691728.2012.727191.

Berry analyzes how code and software increasingly develop, influence, and depend on social epistemology or social knowledge creation. He discusses the highly mediated “computational ecologies” (379) that individuals and nonhuman actors inhabit, and argues that we need to become more aware of the role these computational ecologies play in daily social knowledge production. Berry analyzes two case studies to support his argument: the existence of web bugs or user activity trackers, and the development of lifestreams, real-time streams, and the quantified self. For Berry, the increasing embrace of and compliance with potentially insidious data collecting via the Internet and social media needs to be addressed.

Bijker, Wiebe E., and John Law. 1992. “General Introduction.” In Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Sociotechnical Change, edited by Wiebe E. Bijker and John Law, 1–14. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

In the introduction to this collection, Bijker and Law develop the overarching theme of the included essays: the social construction, context, and relations of technology, especially concerning design and inception. They argue that technologies are never isolated or prefabricated, but are generated out of a set of varying circumstances and actors. Bijker and Law acknowledge various relevant theories from sociotechnology to constructivism to the social history of technology. Notably, the authors focus on the idea that “it might have been otherwise” (4), and employ the phrase as a guiding mantra for both their inquiry and the collection at large.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. “The Field of Cultural Production, or: The Economic World Reversed.” In The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature, edited and translated by Randal Johnson, 29–New York: Columbia University Press.

Bourdieu dictates his vision of the field of cultural production as inherently socially mediated, from production to reception. He concedes that since all cultural artifacts exist as symbolic objects—“manifestation[s] of the field as a whole” (38)—one cannot study a cultural artifact without acknowledging the material and symbolic production of the work. Furthermore, the field of cultural production, although in some ways autonomous, is contained within both the field of power and the field of class relations. In fact, in what seems to be reverse logic, the more autonomous a field of cultural production becomes, the less power the field has in regard to the fields of power and class relations; autonomy, for Bourdieu, represents an increased reliability on an internal system of logic and success, and therefore a further distancing from other fields.

Burdick, Anne, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp. 2012. “The Social Life of the Digital Humanities.” In Digital_Humanities, 73–98. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Burdick et al. focus on the social aspects and impacts of digital humanities. The authors argue that the digital humanities, by nature, encompass academic and social spaces that discuss issues beyond technology alone. Key issues include open access, open source publications, the emergence of participatory Web and social media technologies, collaborative authorship, crowdsourcing, knowledge creation, influence, authorization, and dissemination. Burdick et al. also consider the role of digital humanities in public spaces, beyond the siloed academy. The authors address these expansive issues through an oscillating approach of explanation and questioning. While the diversity of the topics in this chapter is substantial, the authors knit the arguments together under the broad theme of social engagement.

Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong. 2004. “On Software, or the Persistence of Visual Knowledge.” Grey Room 18: 26–51. doi:10.1162/1526381043320741.

Chun re-evaluates the supposed transparency of software, and instead focuses on the blackboxing, abstraction, and causal pleasure that define contemporary computing and programming. She reinscribes software as akin to ideology: intangible but present, persuasive, subject/userproducing, and capable of rendering the visible invisible and vice versa. Concurrently, Chun studies the gendered history of computation and programming, observing how contemporary accounts of this history mask some major female players and early entrepreneurs. Furthermore, Chun argues, the mechanization of computers shifted power relations and ostensibly wrote women out of the computing and programming narrative. Chun concludes that we must acknowledge, interrogate, and criticize the obscuring tendencies of software in order to avoid submitting to its ideological nuances.

*Eagleton, Terry. 2010. “The Rise of English.” In The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, edited by Vincent B. Leitch, 2140–46. New York: W.W. Norton.

Eagleton argues that the development of English literature was an ideological strategy used, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, as a form of suppression and control to educate lower classes only “enough” to keep them subservient. English literature, moreover, was actually scorned and primarily directed at women when first introduced as a field of university study. Eagleton concludes that literature “is an ideology” (2140) due to its historical role in social development and nation-building in England and elsewhere.

Edwards,  Charlie.  2012.  “The  Digital  Humanities  and  Its  Users.”  In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold, 213-Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/31.

Edwards examines digital humanities as a system, and traces the history of the “user” (i.e., scholar) in this discipline. He argues that many digital humanities tools see limited uptake because “traditional” humanists are less enthusiastic about computational methods, or have not heard of or do not understand what the digital humanities are. The article is structured as a response to “Stuff Digital Humanists Like: Defining Digital Humanities by its Values” (2010), in which Tom Scheinfieldt argues that digital humanists do not just make use of tools and values from the Internet, but also work with and contribute to the Internet. Edwards suggests that this process has yet to be realized, and that digital humanities lack a central set of agreed-upon values. Edwards compares digital humanities Twitter activity to a stock ticker, and writing in the digital humanities to a network, noting that navigating, communicating, and contributing to the discipline can be challenging. He calls for the digital humanities to offer an understandable, loose, accessible framework of the discipline for outsiders.

Flanders, Julia. 2012. “Time, Labor, and ‘Alternate Careers’ in Digital Humanities Knowledge Work.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold, 292–308. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota  Press.  http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/26.

Flanders investigates alternative careers, especially those that exist in relation to digital humanities projects, and compares them to traditional humanities, especially in terms of time management and salary. Through a set of examples from her own career, Flanders points to how working in traditional humanities, from graduate school and all the way up to tenure track, is measured in qualitative terms; this makes the time and reward for this work limitless and merges the boundary between academic and personal life. She compares this to working on digital projects in alternative careers, including project management skills and quantifiable time set per hour/project to be spent on a task, resulting in a more concrete schedule. Flanders concludes by an appeal to traditional humanities to improve their system of evaluation of time spent on projects and to reward students, staff, and faculty members for publishing their work.

Fraser, Nancy. 1990. “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy.” Social Text (25/26): 56–80.  http://www.jstor.org/stable/466240.

Fraser expands upon and critiques Jürgen Habermas’s concept of the public sphere. She argues that Habermas’s idea of the public sphere is a useful conceptual resource for overcoming problems of political participation in modern societies. Fraser points out a foundational internal irony in Habermas’s theory: a discourse touting accessibility, rationality, and suspension of status is itself a form of hierarchy. As she demonstrates, the relationship between the public and the private is much more complicated than Habermas intimates, and, in general, revisionist historiography reveals a much darker bourgeois public sphere than the one that emerges from Habermas’s work. Central to Habermas’s theory is the right to open accessibility. Fraser draws attention to the non-realization of this ideal in history—specifically when it comes to participation from marginal groups. Fraser’s argument demonstrates how Habermas’s theory is inadequate for critiquing the interactions of late capitalist societies.

Freeman, Jo. 1972. “The Tyranny of Structurelessness.” The Second Wave 2 (1): n.p. http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm.

While structurelessness first emerged as a counter-reaction to an overstructured society, Freeman asserts that structurelessness has now become a system of organization in its own right. Freeman’s central argument is that there is no such thing as a structureless group, and that any group of people that come together, of any nature and for any length of time, will inevitably structure itself in some way. Freeman argues that structureless groups, while possible in theory, are impossible in practice. Many elitist organizations, Freeman argues, hide behind the idea of structurelessness. Therefore, because of the impossibility of structurelessness in practice, Freeman argues that structure must be made formal and explicit in order to avoid the formation of an elitist or exclusive group. The conditions that promote productive group dynamics do not occur naturally in many large groups and, consequently, it is challenging for big groups to get things done. Freeman rounds out her article with a list of practical principles that are key to democratic structuring.

Foucault, Michel. 1977. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. London: Allen Lane and Penguin Books.

Foucault details the complex history of contemporary discipline and punishment structures and networks. He maintains that various forces of normalization, along with a pervasive carceral system, are responsible for knowledge formation, the social body, and modern notions of punishment, justice, legality, and delinquency. Of note, in the penultimate section, “Discipline,” Foucault identifies specific elements utilized in order to maintain docile subjects through disciplinary methods: place (via enclosure, partitioning, and delineating space based on rank); time (via timetables, notions of efficiency, and the temporal mechanization of the body); mechanic efficiency (via command, chronological series, and reducing the body to a part of a larger machine); normalization (via differentiation, hierarchy, homogenization, and exclusion); examination (via objectification, documentation, and making an individual a “case”); and surveillance (via spatial partitioning, panoptic structures, and the intertwining of surveillance and economy). Foucault concludes that no individual is outside of the system; the carceral network wherein everyone resides creates so-called “delinquents.”

Graff, Gerald. 1987. Professing Literature: An Institutional History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Graff thoroughly details the history of twentieth-century English literature studies in America. He argues that many of the issues in contemporary academia can be traced to an overall method of patterned isolationism in a department. Due to intellectual or discipline-based conflicts, various isolated fields of thought and practitioners prevail. Conflicts are neither acknowledged nor attended to, but rather overlooked by a general attitude of inclusion and comprehensiveness. As a result, divergent schools of thought never engage in conversation or debate, and all practitioners are endowed with silos in which they can effectively ignore their intellectual opponents. The self-perpetuating lack of interconnectedness and collaboration in English departments has negatively affected their overall scholarship and success. Furthermore, Graff contends that the conflict between schools of thought (classicism, New Criticism, critical theory, and now, perhaps, digital humanities) should be taught to students in order to contextualize and lend meaning to their literary education. Graff presents the above arguments as an introduction to a comprehensive historical explanation of how literary studies evolved as a discipline.

Habermas, Jürgen. 1991. “Introduction: Preliminary Demarcation of a Type of Bourgeois Public Sphere.” In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, translated by Thomas Burger with the assistance of Frederick Lawrence, 1–26. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

In this foundational article, Habermas examines the history and various definitions of “public.” Beginning with ancient Greece and Rome, Habermas points to the polis and bios politikos as common (although not necessarily physical) spaces for free citizens to engage in public life. For him, the conception of a public sphere emerged during the Renaissance and came to fruition in the eighteenth century. Habermas traces the shifting relationship between public and private across this evolutionary history. Our modern understanding of the division between public and private, according to Habermas, appeared with the rise of the capitalist economy and the popularization of the press—a new forum in which the public could share and generate criticism. While Habermas suggests that the public sphere presents an inclusive opportunity for public engagement, he limits the population of eligible citizens to educated males.

Haraway, Donna. 1990. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” In Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, 149–81. New York: Routledge.

Haraway advocates for the new social relations of science and technology through criticizing essentialist feminism, Marxism, and anti-science and technology politics simultaneously. She argues that by embodying the form of the nebulous, ungendered, unboundaried cyborg figure, science and technology can be harnessed for productive political means. Haraway contends that ideological opposition to technology only reinforces the futility of movements that follow notions of hierarchies and origin stories. The fluid, hybrid cyborg represents an opportunity for the marginalized to constitute knowledge production by participating in new forms of social relations afforded by technology.

Heidegger, Martin. 1982. “The Question Concerning Technology.” In The Question Concerning Technology and Other Questions, translated with an introduction by William Lovitt, 3–35. New York: Harper Perennial.

Heidegger contends that we must consider both the “essence” of technology and our role as humans concerning technology: we do not control technology, nor are we technology, nor does technology control us. Rather, technology is better understood as a revealer, as a mediator, or as that which performs “en-framing.” En-framing denotes a calling into being (or else a contextualization) by technology. Recognizing technology’s true essence as an enframer—instead of as a tool, an oppressive other, or as fate—increases our awareness of existence.

Introna, Lucas D., and Helen Nissenbaum. 2000. “Shaping the Web: Why the Politics of Search Engines Matters.” The Information Society 16 (3): 169–85.

According to Introna and Nissenbaum, search engines are frequently biased in their findings, and thus in their representation of what is available on the Internet. The authors argue that this tendency bears serious implications, as the digital realm is often perceived and promoted as a democratic, empowering space. Introna and Nissenbaum detail the various processes that promote “findability” on the Internet. Furthermore, they caution against the commercialization of search engines, lest they become authoritative arbiters of the digital divide. Introna and Nissenbaum conclude by reminding their readers that public digital acts are more than simply technical matters—they often bear political implications as well, especially concerning issues of access and capital.

Lessig, Lawrence. 2004. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. New York: Penguin.

Lessig argues that the interests of a select (corporate) few have increasingly regulated contemporary American society by legislating the Internet with intellectual property and piracy laws. According to Lessig, this regulation defeats traditional American ideals of democracy and free culture, and constrains social knowledge creation and important cultural and intellectual advances. Lessig respects the concept of copyright and intellectual property, as such—he takes issue with the hyperregulation and restriction of the Internet and, consequently, individuals. Moreover, Lessig demonstrates how all culture industries have “stolen” from previous individuals, art forms, and media. Paradoxically, the same industries persecute individuals for practising intellectual or creative theft.

Liu, Alan. 2004. The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Liu interweaves two distinct threads in The Laws of Cool. He traces the history and ethos of “cool” (culture, trends, popularity, etc.) as well as postindustrial cool: the flux of cool knowledge work. Liu examines how the humanities can contribute to and survive in the new postindustrial cool, corporate landscape. Liu’s sources and interests are widespread; he cites modernist design theory, Lev Manovich’s database narrative, and everything from the Gayaki tribe to William Gibson’s Agrippa. He concludes that the humanities are necessary to keep the corporation humane and informed of the history of its own practices; the humanities, in turn, must learn to negotiate the current cool cultural climate in order to remain relevant and effective.

McPherson, Tara. 2012. “Why are the Digital Humanities So White? or Thinking the Histories of Race and Computation.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold, 139–60. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/29.

McPherson explores how to knit together distinct issues in the humanities and the digital humanities. She argues that the ethnically homogenous computational culture that came of out World War II caused the current, fraught intersection of race and technology. McPherson narrates two fragments from history in the 1960s to illustrate her argument: computer scientists working to develop UNIX/MULTICS, and the assassination of Malcolm X. She argues that while these two events are parallel in time and are deeply related, they appear siloed because they attract separate audiences. McPherson urges that race and even post-structuralism be put in conversation with technology as fundamental factors in the shaping of the discipline. She does not argue that technological innovations consciously encode racism, but rather that information responds to racial justice in many registers. McPherson encourages scholars to educate themselves on the machines and networks that shape our lives, and to acknowledge the role of computers as coders of culture.

Nowviskie, Bethany. 2012. “Evaluating Collaborative Digital Scholarship (or, Where Credit is Due).” Journal of Digital Humanities 1 (4): n.p. digital-scholarship-by-bethany-nowviskie/.

Nowviskie begins this article (developed out of a conference talk) by identifying a key disjuncture in the discipline of digital humanities: while collaboration is touted as a hallmark of digital humanities scholarship, it is glossed over in conversations about tenure and promotion. Nowviskie argues that the tenure and promotion process is ill-fitted to assessing digital humanities research because it relies on the fiction that only final outputs are scholarship. Digital scholarship, Nowviskie asserts, is rarely “done,” and that complicates our traditional notions of assessment. She argues that acknowledging project collaborators fairly can contribute to imaginative production, enthusiastic promotion, and committed preservation—three vital characteristics of collaborative scholarship. As we open scholarship up to new kinds of work, we must also accept new kinds of peer review and definitions of authorship. Nowviskie concludes with six basic principles of evaluation to reconfigure traditional humanities principles.

Ross, Anthony, and Nadia Caidi. 2005. “Action and Reaction: Libraries in the Post 9/11 Environment.” Library and Information Science Research 27 (1): 97–114. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2004.09.006.

Ross and Caidi study the significantly shifting roles and responsibilities of North American libraries following 9/11 and the subsequent enactment of legislation (the USA PATRIOT Act). Traditionally public information institutions, libraries have become increasingly regulated regarding confidentiality, patron privacy, and intellectual freedom, as well as access to and handling of government information. Ross and Caidi also explore reactions to the substantial change in legislation. These reactions reveal libraries’ willingness and ability to effect political change when faced with intrusive restrictions on their traditional roles in sharing and promoting knowledge.

Siemens, Lynne. 2009. “It’s a Team if You Use ‘Reply All’: An Exploration of Research Teams in Digital Humanities Environments.” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (formerly Literary and Linguistic Computing) 24 (2): 225–33. doi:10.1093/llc/fqp009.

Siemens identifies a singular contrast between traditional humanities research and digital humanities research: while traditionally the humanities as a discipline functioned as predominantly solo research efforts, the digital humanities involves various individuals with a wide spectrum of skills working together. Siemens argues that the collaborative nature of academic research communities, especially in the humanities, has been understudied. She fills that gap by examining the results of interviews conducted on the topics of teams, team-based work experiences, and team research preparation. The interviewees identify both benefits and challenges of team research, including rich interactions, relationship building with potential for future projects, communication challenges, funding, and team member retention. To conclude, Siemens articulates a list of five essential practices: (i) deliberate action by each team member; (ii) deliberate action by the project leader; (iii) deliberate action by the team; (iv) deliberate training; and (v) balance between digital and in-person communication.

*Streeter, Thomas. 2010. “Introduction.” In The Net Effect: Romanticism, Capitalism, and the Internet, 1–16. New York and London: New York University  Press.

Through a distinctly sociological method, Streeter analyzes the connections between computing, the rise of the Internet, capitalism, and social life. Instead of framing his examination through the Internet’s effect on society, Streeter looks at how the Internet has been socially constructed, and at its role in myriad complex historical, personal, and political networks. Rather than speculating on its possible future, he questions why and how the Internet was built. Moreover, Streeter discredits essentialist conceptions of technology and the Internet; he articulates that various historical and cultural contexts have fostered the openness of the Internet’s networked state.

*Turner, Fred. 2006. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Turner’s sociohistorical narrative of the development of the Internet makes the argument that the counterculture movements of the 1960s—specifically those under the leadership of Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth Network— have played an integral role in both the principles and practices of contemporary personal computing. He posits that the New Communalists (those who flocked to communes in the late 1960s and early 1970s) assisted and influenced the widespread network of computing as we know it today through their embrace of cybernetics and a technology-based ideology. Turner elaborates on the social construction of modern computing, as well as on how computing influenced numerous American social groups, movements, and citizens in both abstract and tangible ways.

Vaidhyanathan, Siva. 2002. “The Content-Provider Paradox: Universities in the Information Ecosystem.” Academe 88 (5): 34–37. doi:10.2307/40252219.

Vaidhyanathan warns against the increasing corporatization of American universities and other knowledge institutions. He argues that universities have begun to commodify knowledge, and that this tactic will eventually lead to the dissolution of the university as a credible source of education. Unfortunately, Vaidhyanathan does not offer an alternative model through which universities can address widespread funding and budget cuts. Nevertheless, taking a similar approach to that of Willard McCarty in Humanities Computing, Vaidhyanathan reminds his readers that education is not simply information, and should not be treated (or sold) as such.

Williams, George H. 2012. “Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew Gold, 202–12. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/44.

Williams acknowledges a major limitation of digital humanities: the field has not addressed the needs of people who are differently abled, especially within the context of preservation and accessibility of digital information. For Williams, this is crucial to resolve, as many digital humanities projects are federally funded and their materials must be made openly accessible to the public by law. Williams points out that contemporary web standards and practices can accommodate the needs (and devices) of many. He proposes implementing universal design in the creation of digital resources, and provides examples of different projects that work to make the digital humanities a more inclusive field. Williams concludes by acknowledging that this beneficial direction would ensure that digital resources are useful and usable by a wide array of people now and in the future.h