The International Summer School on "Canons of Digital Cultures" serves as an introductory week for students of the Master's program "Digital Methodology in the Humanities and Cultural Sciences." The main focus is on exploring how canonization can be a) represented, b) analyzed, and c) developed in the digital age.
In recent decades, digital technologies have significantly influenced the production, distribution, and reception of cultural content. While in the past, canonization processes were primarily driven and shaped by established institutions such as universities or museums, with decisions on what is considered "canonical" often made by a limited number of experts, the digitalization has brought about changes to these mechanisms.
In line with Linda Nochlin's question raised in 1971, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" the Summer School aims to question the criteria and values by which institutions such as archives, libraries, and museums select, categorize, and (in the digital space) mediate (digital) cultural assets.
The internet provides access to a plethora of cultural content and platforms where users can create, share, and evaluate content. However, these decentralized and partially participatory developments have not necessarily led to democratization or greater diversity in the digital space. On the contrary, existing shortcomings, such as the visibility of marginalized groups, often become more pronounced in the digital realm. The lack of diversity and bias issues are not only a matter of inadequately trained neural networks but primarily of the currently available and reusable datasets.
So, how do digital technologies and access change our understanding of "canonical" cultural assets? What role do purely digital cultural collections play in this context? And can a canon of digital cultures be defined at all?
The discussion will also encompass the frequently used term "Digital Culture(s)," which, on one hand, focuses on researching digital technologies, investigating their impact, and their role in society. On the other hand, it can also refer to the analysis of digital and digitized objects, including topics such as visibility or reusability of cultural assets in the digital space.
The Summer School will address these themes and offer participants the opportunity to examine the complex interactions and meanings between (digital) cultures and canonization processes in the digital space.
Additionally, there will be an introduction to techniques and tools for collaborative, web-based work (e.g., with Git and Markdown), network and graph analysis, and suitable data visualizations.
The aim of the Summer School is to build expertise in fundamental concepts, methods, and tools that are used in various humanities and cultural disciplines. At the same time, participants will be encouraged to critically engage with the presented approaches and discuss the implications of their application on the research process.
For students of the Master's program, it also provides an opportunity to learn about the general structure of the program and its specific focal points and to engage in discussions with instructors, advanced students, and alumni.