Digitizing Enlightenment explores how a set of inter-related digital projects are transforming our vision of the Enlightenment. The featured projects are some of the best known, well-funded and longest established research initiatives in the emerging area of ‘digital humanities’, a field that has, particularly since 2010, been attracting a rising tide of interest from professional academics, the media, funding councils, and the general public worldwide. Advocates and practitioners of the digital humanities argue that computational methods can fundamentally transform our ability to answer some of the ‘big questions’ that drive humanities research, allowing us to see patterns and relationships that were hitherto hard to discern, and to pinpoint, visualise, and analyse relevant data in efficient and powerful new ways.
In the book’s opening section, leading scholars outline their own projects’ institutional and intellectual histories, the techniques and methodologies they specifically developed, the sometimes-painful lessons learned in the process, future trajectories for their research, and how their findings are revising previous understandings. A second section features chapters from early career scholars working at the intersection of digital methods and Enlightenment studies, an intellectual space largely forged by the projects featured in part one.
Highlighting current and future research methods and directions for digital eighteenth-century studies, the book offers a monument to the current state of digital work, an overview of current findings, and a vision statement for future research.