Narrative, Archive, Database

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Yaszek, Lisa. "Narrative, Archive, Database: The Digital Humanities and Science Fiction Scholarship 101." SFRA Review #303 (Winter 2013): pp. 6-9.[1]

"This essay is a loose transcription of a talk [...] at the University of California-Riverside Science Fiction Symposium in May 2012" (Yaszek's headnote, italics removed), in the SFRA Review "101" series.

From the opening paragraph: the essay addresses

the relationship of the digital humanities to science fiction (SF) scholarship. Both are relatively new fields of inquiry that work to bridge what C.P. Snow famously called “the two cultures” of the sciences and the humanities.[2][3] As SF scholars, we study stories about science and technology. Meanwhile, digital humanities scholars use technoscientific tools and methods to study story itself. This leads to another point of connection: while practitioners of both disciplines are interested in individual authors and texts, we are also interested in processing large amounts of data and thinking about how entire genres change over time. Focusing on my experience as an SF scholar who works with both physical and online archives and who partners on interdisciplinary projects with significant digital components, I want to propose that the digital humanities — as both a set of tools and a set of methodologies — is crucial to the ongoing development of SF scholarship because it provides us with new modes of access and new research methods. But it also demands that we think carefully about what counts as knowledge, who produces that knowledge, and how that knowledge is shared with others.

And this essay gets us more specifically thinking about scholarship in terms of a narrative order and/vs. scholarship performed on and with data in a database.

See for a beautifully-written and instructive meta-meditation on real-world humans in interface with cybernetic devices and computer-mediated data on, among other things in SF, humans embedded in high-tech worlds in interface with various technologies.

RDE, finishing, 29Jun21