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An Electric Current of the Imagination

I’m very glad to be joining the Department of Digital Humanities and looking forward to contributing to this blog as and when I can. I’ll use this blog for posts relating closely to the Department of Digital Humanities. You’ll be able to find more more wide-ranging blogging on It was a great privilege to have the opportunity last night to give an inaugural lecture right at the beginning of my term of office as Head of Department and to try and map out some of the issues I think we need to address both as a Department and as a discipline. I promised to make available the text of my lecture via this blog, so here it is:

‘An Electric Current of the Imagination’: What the Digital Humanities Are and What They Might Become

Lecture by Andrew Prescott, King’s College London, 25 January 2012

[Slide: Birdsong Compliance:]

It is a great honour for me to become head of this academic department devoted to the study of the digital humanities. When I first saw experiments in the digital imaging of books and manuscripts in the British Library twenty years ago, it was impossible to imagine that they would develop into an intellectual activity on a scale warranting an academic department. The fact that King’s College London has led the way in this process is due to the work of many pioneers, and I cannot start this lecture without acknowledging their achievements and saying what a pleasure it is to join them now as a colleague. Above all, it is essential to honour the contribution of Professor Harold Short who is without doubt the father of the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London. Harold has been an outstanding international pioneer of the digital humanities, and I feel honoured and humbled to follow in his footsteps. Continue reading An Electric Current of the Imagination