Ellery Stritzinger’s deformances of Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter publicity image, for Digitizing Folk Music History seminar.

Editors’ Choice: Distorting History (To Make It More Accurate)

Digital history’s promise is not big. By which I mean that the potential of the field is not ultimately to be found in big data, big scale, big history, or the return to cliometrics or some computational mode of the longue durée (or as spellcheck would have me write it, the tongue puree). Rather, the promise of digital history is the convergence of artifacts into the pliable, ductile, mutable form of digital code. The ability to go big is really just a subset of this larger shift in the materiality of things from which we construct historical interpretation and narrative. It is one among many “deformances” that the convergence of artifacts into digital data enables.

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