While theoretical debates about the role of digital scholarship in the humanities abound, comprehensive empirical studies are relatively rare. In her talk, Smiljana Antonijević discussed findings of an ethnographic study of 250 scholars described in the presenter’s book “Amongst Digital Humanists: An Ethnographic Study of Digital Knowledge Production." She looked at how scholars across disciplines engage with digital technologies in their research workflows. In a bricolage manner, humanists construct their digital workflows from a diverse range of tools and methods suited to their preferences and needs, engaging with digital technologies in an unscripted and highly personal way that corresponds to their style of thinking and working, to their intimate epistemology. The “unruly” approach of bricolage may be outside the boundary of most DH theory yet, as Antonijević showed, it is important for both DH theory and practice to recognize and engage with this variety of voices and non-canonical technology uses, in order to pave the way for the pluralistic future of digital knowledge production in the humanities.
Recording of the conference
In this online video interview, Smiljana Antonijević discusses her background in Communication/New Media Studies and Anthropology and how she came to be interested in Digital Humanities. She then talks about her interest in the question of how scholars engage with digital technologies in their research workflows and the ethnographic work she did to uncover these. Finally, she also discusses how the insights gained could be translated into tool development and how her work related to where the digital humanities are currently headed.
Dr. Smiljana Antonijević explores the intersection of communication, culture, and technology through research and teaching in the USA and Europe. She is the author of Amongst Digital Humanists: An Ethnographic Study of Digital Knowledge Production (2015), while her other recent publications focus on ethnography of DH coding (2020), data ethnography (2019), Internet and trust (2019), humanists’ digital workflows (2018), and others. In addition to academic work, Smiljana is engaged in applied research in Silicon Valley, focusing on artificial intelligence, intelligent automation, and digital security.