On Liu & Svensson

On Liu paper 2021 12 1

Exceedingly grateful to June Murphy first off for her posting of her considered views.  It gave me courage to dive in.

What I gained through reading this paper was first of all an appreciation for and greater understanding of the vocabulary, terminology and contemporary discourse around DAH.

Across all the lectures and forums I have frequently had that experience of being the the woman traveller on the bus who is on the brink of standing up and confessing that: ”I don’t know what a  tracker mortgage is!” (Iconic Celtic Tiger TV advert! )

Grace à Liu, I finally found palatable explanations for what ‘meta data’ is and what ‘WEB 2.0’ represents.

The overall sense I got throughout my reading of Liu was that “the humanities are in trouble” (I felt that from a straight reading through…not a backward glance!)

Ideas mined

  • The terminology journey pertaining to the history and development humanities
  • Shift from humanities computing to the now accepted common usage term of digital humanities
  • In making this journey and embracing digital enhancement have the DH skipped a few steps
  • The rush to rebrand has focused on the Higher Education Institutions with a focus on their survival. Are they also considering their customers? Students and the Public?
  • Under threat from ‘cyber campus’ proposals and the bottom line of “money making digital delivery”
  • Marriage of tech/media/info leads to expansion
  • Refs to governments and corporates and hackers going gorilla seems prescient (2009)
  • He raises many questions for the digital humanists (I still find that title a bit pretentious. Is it only me?)

1 12 2021

On Patrik Svensson Arts & Humanities in Higher Education (2012) 

The digital humanities as a humanities project

Title taken from his comments on Liu?

Definitions aided by four case studies

Martin did a great job here as usual in getting to the nub of Svensson’s arguments and synopsising the four examples he gave. No need to add anything to that

I found it interesting Svensson refers to Liu a few times.

One quote from Svensson‘s concluding paragraph…

“Furthermore, there is arguably a need for an outreaching humanities laboratory – a place for thinking about, experimenting with and rethinking the humanities – and an intermediary player in the university system with a substantial level of integrity. In other words, there is a niche to be filled. Concerted efforts in this direction could lead to a new wave of digital humanities, a revitalization of the humanities, and indeed, an academy changed for the better.” (2011, 57)

Is this what’s afoot in the Food Science Building Floor 4 on Tuesdays and other days?

Has the DAH filled this niche in UCC?

I feel we are all participants in such an attempt

Orla certainly envisions us as potential builders of things digital….

There is magnificent potential in the room

Keep the faith!


Svensson, Patrik. “The digital humanities as a humanities project.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 2012 11: 42, originally published in December 2011

The online version of this article can be found at: