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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: November 2020

Chapter 5 - Requiem for a Digital Humanist

from Part I - After Humanism


Rather than promoting a death wish for the digital humanities, this chapter questions what comes after the labor of a single, reluctant digital humanist -- one who is coming to terms with his own privilege as a white, Western, male academic. In a seven-part requiem, I reckon with the scholarly methods I have championed over the span of a career and recommend a conceptual turn that encourages digital humanists to build things off-screen. To supplant the Promethean conception of “building” as the apotheosis of a tool-making animal, I put forth both a theory and method of “inclination,” based on the work of Adriana Cavarero. A motto such as “Real Humanists Make Tools” expresses the bravado of Homo Erectus, but I want to speculate about a new proto-human(ist) figure: Homo Inclinus. This figure follows its inclinations, embraces its finitude, pays attention haptically, and bends toward the other in acts that can be at once empathetic, generous, playful, erotic, and philosophical.