Editors’ Choice: The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Sharon M. Leon

Creative Commons Image by Phillip Barron via Flickr

For Sharon M. Leon, associate professor of history and director of Public Projects at the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason, the vagueness of “digital humanities” fails to tell us “anything useful.” But that doesn’t mean the field is without value. Although a self-proclaimed optimist about its possibilities, Leon is cautious to say that the digital alone can’t fix the academy’s problems. This optimism with critique is what drew me to Leon’s work — in particular, her powerful narrative reclaiming women to the history of digital history on her blog [Bracket]. This recovery piece struck a chord with me both professionally and personally; throughout our conversation it swirls in the background, serving as an important reminder that the digital humanities is not as inclusive as we might hope. Moreover, as a digital public historian, Leon articulates the significant disciplinary differences often ignored in the call for interdisciplinarity. In so doing, she speaks to this series’s aims to explore the surprising lines of overlap, as well as outright disagreement, in DH and beyond.

Read the interview.