Humanistic HCI

[Funding Agencies: NSF #1002772; Northumbria University; Chiang-Ching Guo Foundation]

While many are exploring the promising possibilities of integrating technology into the humanities in what is known as the “digital humanities,” a different relationship between IT and the humanities is also emerging yet frequently overlooked: the generative contributions of the humanities to information- and technology-related research. The Humanistic HCI research agenda explicates how humanistic contributions have shaped computer science and engineering. In this research area, we survey humanistic contributions to user experience (UX), critical and speculative design, emancipatory approaches to computing, the “design thinking” movement, and critical-humanistic interventions into cogsci and engineering research paradigms.

We argue that all these contributions are informed by humanistic epistemologies and methodological rigor, and moreover that they reflect humanistic contributions to society as they are traditionally understood. Yet these contributions are not always as visible as they might be, and cooperation between the humanities and human-computer interaction research is often hindered by disciplinary language games. In an era of disciplinary realignments, we stress the importance of asserting our shared humanistic approaches and values, while doing so in an open-ended and epistemologically pluralistic way–one that invites “walking alongside,” rather than competing with design, engineering, information and social scientific disciplines.

Notable outputs: Critical Theory and Interaction Design (MIT Press, 2018); Humanistic HCI (Morgan & Claypool, 2015); one Best Paper Award at ACM CHI2013 on “What’s Critical about Critical Design“; one Best Paper Award at ACM CHI2010 on “Feminist HCI“; one Best Paper Honorable Mention Award at ACM CHI2009 on “Interaction Criticism and Aesthetics.”