What Are We Talking about When We Talk about Data in the Humanities?

Data as a term is too flat an ontology for the kinds of things that we are all dealing with, argues Sally Wyatt in this keynote lecture. It reduces people, events, objects to things, bits, to be imagined as impersonal, scientific and neutral. Also, she contends, the use of the word ‘data’ tends to assume that everything is digital. In this keynote, she explains her argument that this is wrong and asks: ‘what are we talking about when we talk about data in the humanities?’

Sally Wyatt is Professor of Digital Cultures at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Between 2011–2017, she was the Programme Leader of the eHumanities Group of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. For many years, she has been doing research about what digital technologies mean for the production of knowledge in the humanities and the social sciences.

The keynote was held on May 16, 2019, at the DARIAH Annual Event 2019 in Warsaw.