Diffractive Epistemics: Cultures of Knowledge in the Digital Humanities

This project is dedicated to forms of knowledge modeling as they are currently being negotiated in the Digital Humanities (DH). By focusing on digital knowledge representations as well as statistical reasoning, it addresses the DH as an epistemic culture with its own historicity. It is an exploration of interferences of different knowledge-based systems beyond a reflexive framework of research. As its guiding question, the project asks in how far knowledge productions are organized and modified under a computational paradigm. Case studies are provided to describe premises, constraints, and implications of computer-based knowledge production in DH. As a category, a mode of observation, and as a method, the concept of diffraction, which particularly takes into account a description of differences, opens up three guiding perspectives:

First, this project deals with conceptual structures and semantic changes in DH’s epistemic cultures. Here, concepts transferred from other disciplines (e.g., software ecosystems, the data life cycle) are of particular interest. In cooperation with the Computational Humanities Group at the University of Leipzig and the working group Digital Humanities Theorie, this project studies concepts by experimenting with natural language processes as well as community-based approaches.

Second, the project discusses multimodal forms of knowledge modeling in relation to materiality. While established discursive structures are expanded by new material embodiments of knowledge, it aims at viewing software and code as computer-based expressions of DH’s epistemic cultures. Software and code manifest themselves not only in concrete research infrastructures, but also challenge traditional reading and writing practices in the humanities.

Thirdly, this project addresses data-based knowledge modeling and the assessment of research data. In different case studies, questions of contingencies and datafication are highlighted through the use of concrete data collections and algorithms. On the one hand, the aim is to gain distance from technological claims and to reflect on their scope. On the other hand, with reference to New Materialisms and Science & Technology Studies, this project attempts to open up possible alternatives of data practices and the creation of inferences.

By providing three perspectives on concepts, materiality, and data, this project proposes a theoretical approach that takes into account an interdisciplinary positioning of DH between computer sciences and the humanities. In doing so, it embraces transitions to other epistemic cultures.

 

Fig. above: Vectorized version of a sketch by Thomas Young to illustrate the diffraction of light, source: Wikimedia Commons

since 2020
Head researcher(s): Rabea Kleymann

Publications

Rabea Kleymann

Events

Lecture
06 Jul 2022 – 09 Jul 2022

Rabea Kleymann: Calling APIs Diffractively: Imagining Relational Readings of Code

Madrid

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Lecture
23 Jun 2022 – 24 Jun 2022 · 4.30 pm

Rabea Kleymann: Inkommensurable Mannigfaltigkeiten: Aggregate beim späten Goethe

Freie Universität Berlin, Peter Szondi-Institut für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin, Seminarzentrum

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Conference
10 Jun 2022 · 11.00 am

Algorithmizität als Kultur des Verstehens? Digitale Erkenntnisprozesse in den Humanities

Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung (ZfL), Schützenstraße 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Etage, Trajekte-Tagungsraum / Zoom

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Lightning Talk
17 May 2022 · 2.45 pm

Rabea Kleymann: Reading Code Diffractively in Digital Humanities Pedagogy

Online

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Lecture
12 May 2022 · 2.15 pm

Rabea Kleymann: Wissensmaschinerien: Forschungsdesigns in den Digital Humanities

Freie Universität Berlin, Seminarzentrum, Raum L116 (Rostlaube)

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Lecture
14 Oct 2021 · 2.00 pm

Rabea Kleymann: Mixed Methods als Denkstil? Forschungsdesigns der Stilometrie in den Digital Humanities

online via Zoom

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Please note! The workshop unfortunately has to be postponed.
16 Sep 2021 · 9.00 am

Rabea Kleymann and Jan Horstmann: Hacker*innenangriff auf Goethe? Experimente mit Goethetexten und Annotationsdaten von Entsagung und Ironie

online via Zoom

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Lecture
23 Mar 2021 · 2.00 pm

Rabea Kleymann: Entangled Methods. Diffractive Approaches for the Digital Humanities

online via ConfTool

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Workshop at the vDHd 2021
23 Mar 2021 · 9.00 am

Glossar der Begriffe: Ein kollaboratives Schreibexperiment der AG Digital Humanities Theorie

online via Zoom

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Barcamp
11 Nov 2020 · 2.00 pm

Von Knoten und Kanten zu Gedanken: Theoretische Reflexionen zu Graphentechnologien

online via Zoom

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Impulsvortrag
08 Oct 2020 · 6.00 pm

Rabea Kleymann: »Theorytellings«. Wissenschaftsnarrative in den Digital Humanities – Eine Einführung

Bibliotheca Albertina, Beethovenstraße 6, 04107 Leipzig

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Contributions

20 Aug 2020 Audio
RaDiHum20 talks to the AG Digital Humanities Theorie
Podcast with Rabea Kleymann
© RaDiHum20