Guerrilla Theory examines the political, ontological, and technological underpinnings of the guerrilla in the digital humanities (DH). The figure of the guerrilla appears in digital humanities’ recent history as an agent of tactical reformation. It refers to a broad swath of disciplinary desires: digital humanities’ claim to collaborative and inclusive pedagogy, minimal and encrypted computing, and a host of minoritarian political interventions in its praxis, including queer politics, critical race studies, and feminist theory.
In this penetrating study, Matthew Applegate uses the guerrilla to connect popular iterations of digital humanities’ practice to its political rhetoric and infrastructure. By doing so, he reorients DH’s conceptual lexicon around practices of collective becoming, mediated by claims to conflict, antagonism, and democratic will.
Applegate traces Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s radical democratic ingresses into network theory, the guerrilla’s role in its discourse, and concerns for the digital humanities’ own invocation of the figure. The book also connects post- and decolonial, feminist, and Marxist iterations of DH praxis to the aesthetic histories of movements such as Latin American Third Cinema and the documentary cinema of the Black Panther Party. Concluding with a meditation on contemporary political modalities inherent in DH’s disciplinary expansion, Guerrilla Theory challenges the current political scope of the digital humanities and thus its future institutional impact.
MATTHEW APPLEGATE is an assistant professor of English and digital humanities and director of the Writing Concentration at Molloy College in New York.
“Applegate’s work serves as both a genealogy and a challenge to DH praxis, and it is perhaps most compelling (and timely) as the latter.”—Anastasia Salter, coauthor of Toxic Geek Masculinity: Sexism, Trolling, and Identity Policing
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