Last July, I received a welcome email from Wendy Hui Kyong Chun asking if I would be interested in responding to her 2013 MLA “The Dark Side of the Digital Humanities” roundtable presentation in an extended conversation that would be published in a forthcoming special issue of differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. Wendy’s generous invitation led to what I feel to be a productive and convivial dialogue about the “cruel optimisms” of the digital humanities, and I’m delighted to be able to share widely the fruits of that conversation. I remain grateful to Wendy for asking me to participate and to Richard Grusin for the occasion that prompted this special issue, and I look forward to the conversations that follow.
Under our author agreements with Duke UP, Wendy and I can publish our own PDF versions of the article published in differences. Therefore, I have chosen to post one such copy here. Aside from oddities caused by reformatting such as pagination, hyphenation, capitalization, and other surface discrepancies, the text of this pdf should be the same between the two versions. For the purposes of citation, you may choose to refer to Duke UP’s copy and page numbering.