As I mentioned in a previous post, this term I am taking an introductory grad course on digital humanities, and as part of it, I will be writing a series of posts relating this area of humanistic inquiry to the field of media studies. I have chosen to begin exploring these intersections by zeroing in on film studies in particular, for two reasons. First, my educational background is in film studies so I expect having a grounding in one area will be helpful in exploring the other. Second, film studies is notoriously positioned for (if not already in the midst of) a disciplinary self-transformation as a result of the rise of new media studies, the dominance of digital film making, and the general downsizing of humanities in academia. In a way, I expect these posts to serve as a micro level attempt to support the work of the 4Humanities group, which uses digital-based projects to advocate for the humanities at large.
These posts will be centered around what I’m calling the problems of film—problems understood both as the struggles film scholars face as the discipline transforms and as the research questions at stake that film scholars seek to solve. Although I will not presuppose nor argue for a medium specificity, I will focus on questions that I see as more relevant—and, in the face of the alarmist “death of film” debate, more pressing—to film studies than other areas of what could be widely considered media studies. Given the time and scale restrictions provided by constant blog posting as well as the fact that I am still getting to know the tools used in digital humanities, I expect the posts to be more like practice runs than finished products. However, I hope that, by making these public, I will be able to reach others working or thinking through these same issues—or inspire those who aren’t into doing so—and thereby engage in a conversation about the changing times in film studies, and whether digital humanities can play a part in these.