Keynote Address - Laura Mandell

Keynote Speaker: Laura MandellProfessor of English at Texas A&M, Director, Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture 

TitleTruth and Digital Method: Where We Stand Now

In this talk, I discuss the debates surrounding types of reading currently underway in the field of literary criticism: close, distant, surface, and suspicious, adding insights that have emerged from it to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s description of hermeneutics in Truth and Method. I argue that traditional hermeneutics is book-based, and that these new debates have arisen precisely because new media have troubled interpretive practices. Next, I examine the truth claims that have arisen from digital work in the fields of Visualization, Spatial Humanities, and XML-encoding, examining precisely which hermeneutic theories ground their truth claims. My argument is that we are not taking our work to the next theoretical level -- that, garnering insight from current reading debates, we could be doing much, much more. My goal is to lay out some hermeneutic challenges: once the digital work has been done, we need to employ new methods for analyzing it.