Many scholars in the digital humanities make things as part of their critical and theoretical activity, and — in so doing — refuse the knowing/doing dichotomy present in some academic circles. Critical Making in Digital Humanities is a preservation project headed by Roger Whitson (Washington State University Pullman) and Dene Grigar (Washington State University Vancouver) that captures projects by scholars moving between critical theory and making practices. It seeks to give scholars a richer understanding of the work in digital media that challenges our discipline’s assumptions about hands-on creative work.
Our archive documents the methodologies used by each group, along with their methods of funding and prototyping in order to emphasize process as a fundamental part of critical activity. We believe that, all-too-often, the humanities focus their analysis on so-called finished cultural products to the detriment of truly reflecting on how things are made. As Tim Ingolt puts it, human beings live in a flux “in which materials of the most diverse kinds — through processes of admixture and distillation, of coagulation and dispersal, of evaporation and precipitation — undergo continual generation and transformation” (“Materials Against Materiality.” Archaeological Dialogues. 14.1, 7). This archive seeks to document these material transformations for the purpose of highlighting their impact on the digital humanities community. Critical Making in Digital Humanities is currently funded by a Washington State University New Faculty Seed Grant.
The first round of projects included work by Matt Ratto, Hugh Crawford, Leonardo Flores, Joshua Tanenbaum and Karen Tanenbaum, Andrew Quitmeyer, Brett Oppengard, as well as the students of Dene Grigar’s Creative Media and Digital Culture program. We are continually accepting new submissions. Please see the CFW page for more information.