About ACH

History of the ACH

Founded in 1978, the ACH dates back to a period when the landscape of computing, and its relation to the humanities, looked very different from that of today. In the more than three decades since, developments in both technology and in the ways humanists understand and use technology have fundamentally transformed both domains. As the major US professional association for computing humanists, the ACH has provided a forum for the research, discussions, and technical explorations that have fueled this transformation. It has also grown from a small community into a much more substantial association; the annual Digital Humanities conference (now sponsored by ADHO, ACH's parent organization) now attracts about 400 attendees and continues to grow.

A full history of the ACH would draw both on public records and on the human memory of those who have been involved, many of whom are recognized in the lists below. We are in the process of compiling versions of that history, and we welcome contributions from anyone with recollections or relevant documents to offer.

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One comment on “History of the ACH

  1. Muhammad says:

    Re: I feel like I understand […] what is conisdered “DH” and what is not, yet I feel as though I am missing something You’re not on your own here. I do think this is one of the pressing questions. If we allow that there is a DH spectrum, how can we definitively draw the line between DH and not-DH, or can we? Re: [1]Isn’t DH just a subset of the humanities as a whole? [2]Isn’t technology being used to clarify the human record, to expand on the research already occurring, to mimic what is already present? [3]Isn’t it just a tool to provide more in-depth research? [4]Doesn’t the DH make what humanists are studying just more easily accessible? [5]In this view, why label the DH as a separate entity? 1. yes. 2. yes. 3. yes, more in-depth research and a new set of deliverables/outcomes as well 4. yes but, it also enables new humanities questions, new research models, and differing methodologies, so DH is more than just access creation. 5. I’m not sure we will need to define DH as distinct from humanities in the future, and I stand on the side of those who argue that we shouldn’t need to. But, I would add that, at present, we are in transition, and during this critical period of paradigm shift from humanities-past to humanities-future, exploring, analyzing, and critiquing the transitional stage that might arguably be called DH (I sometimes think of DH as a bridge between humanities-past/present and humanities-future) is imperative.

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