This lecture will explore the intersection of Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities in general, and the myriad ways in which new technologies affect the field of Jewish History in particular. Importantly, the digital turn in Jewish Studies needs to be historicised; as is the case for the humanities in general, applications of computing in Jewish Studies go back at least 60 years.
And as is true for the humanities in general, we should be careful to differentiate engagements with technology in the various (sub-)disciplines that Jewish Studies incorporates, while remaining attentive to common methodological and epistemological questions. In my lecture I will address these broader issues and ask what specific characteristics, if any, Jewish Studies scholars face, before delving into the specific challenges for Jewish historical research. I will then discuss how digital approaches have been, are, and could be harnassed to address these.
As digitisation opens up new avenues for research, and can help overcome the classic problem of dispersal of sources, a crucial question to ask is what (Jewish) heritage is being digitised and which stories about the (Jewish) past can (and cannot) be told using them.
What are the politics of digitisation in the context of Jewish history and how can we ensure that the offline Jewish historical record remains as relevant as its online counterpart in an age where more and more scholars move to using online resources? In short, how does the digital turn affect Jewish historical research and how can we bring about the full potential of the digital turn for research into Jewish history?