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Digital Humanities Pedagogy

Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles and Politics

Edited by Brett D. Hirsch
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Open Book Publishers
Pages: 447
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  • Book Info
    Digital Humanities Pedagogy
    Book Description:

    Academic institutions are starting to recognize the growing public interest in digital humanities research, and there is an increasing demand from students for formal training in its methods. Despite the pressure on practitioners to develop innovative courses, scholarship in this area has tended to focus on research methods, theories and results rather than critical pedagogy and the actual practice of teaching. The essays in this collection offer a timely intervention in digital humanities scholarship, bringing together established and emerging scholars from a variety of humanities disciplines across the world. The first section offers views on the practical realities of teaching digital humanities at undergraduate and graduate levels, presenting case studies and snapshots of the authors’ experiences alongside models for future courses and reflections on pedagogical successes and failures. The next section proposes strategies for teaching foundational digital humanities methods across a variety of scholarly disciplines, and the book concludes with wider debates about the place of digital humanities in the academy, from the field’s cultural assumptions and social obligations to its political visions. Digital Humanities Pedagogy broadens the ways in which both scholars and practitioners can think about this emerging discipline, ensuring its ongoing development, vitality and long-term sustainability.

    eISBN: 978-1-909254-27-5
    Subjects: Education, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

    • : Digital Humanities and the Place of Pedagogy
      (pp. 3-30)
      Brett D. Hirsch

      It is fitting that this collection of essays on “digital humanities”¹ pedagogy should have its roots in discussions that followed the 2009 Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, where I was then a postdoctoral fellow. In the course of his plenary lecture, “How to Win Friends,” Donald Bruce noted how little focus there was on teaching in the extant critical literature on the digital humanities. To test this observation, after the lecture I turned to two volumes deservedly recognized as reference works in the “field,”² namely, the BlackwellCompanion to Digital HumanitiesandCompanion to...

  2. I. Practices

    • 1. The PhD in Digital Humanities
      (pp. 33-46)
      Willard McCarty

      The PhD in Digital Humanities was established at King’s College London in 2005. By 2010 experience had persuaded us that collaborative supervision of interdisciplinary work is the norm for doctoral research in our subject. This, you might think, is obvious, but we had created the PhD deliberately without constraining what students might make of it. (More on origins and developments later.) Discussion with students and colleagues led us to suspect that—despite the obvious popularity of nearly anything that the adjective “digital” may be attached to and despite the relative success of the degree program in attracting students—its title...

    • 2. Hands-On Teaching Digital Humanities: A Didactic Analysis of a Summer School Course on Digital Editing
      (pp. 47-78)
      Malte Rehbein and Christiane Fritze

      This chapter discusses the rationale behind a week-long summer school course on digital editing in detail: its background, learning objectives, course content, methods, tools and media employed and the outcome of the course. It analyzes this approach by juxtaposing the course objectives with outcomes from a didactic perspective—that is, from the educational perspective of teaching the course. This chapter covers two areas of investigation: first, summer schools (or similar workshops and seminarsen-bloc), as opposed to university teaching with face-to-face teaching every week, and second, digital editing through a holistic approach, rather than as a course focusing on particular...

    • 3. Teaching Digital Skills in an Archives and Public History Curriculum
      (pp. 79-96)
      Peter J. Wosh, Cathy Moran Hajo and Esther Katz

      Digital technology has fundamentally altered the archival, public history and editing landscapes. New media have, in many ways, promoted a convergence of these various fields. Archivists, public historians and historical editors all face increasing demands to make analog resources available online, to manage and preserve born-digital materials and to incorporate social networking technologies into their products. Professionals within these fields also necessarily need to integrate new media and advanced technology into their daily work. Archivists, editors and public historians increasingly find themselves educating students and researchers remotely through their web sites, as well as helping to develop online curricular materials...

    • 4. Digital Humanities and the First-Year Writing Course
      (pp. 97-120)
      Olin Bjork

      Stanley Fish’s contention, inSave the World on Your Own Time, that “composition courses should teach grammar and rhetoric and nothing else” because “content is always the enemy of writing instruction” was provocation enough for a 2009 Modern Language Association (MLA) convention session on the relation between composition and the humanities.¹ The first two panelists, John Schilb and Arabella Lyon, argued that,paceFish, composition courses should not focus on writing itself, but rather on humanistic topics like political theory or philosophy.² They agreed with Fish, however, that a first-year writing course—required at most American colleges and universities for...

    • 5. Teaching Digital Humanities through Digital Cultural Mapping
      (pp. 121-150)
      Chris Johanson, Elaine Sullivan, Janice Reiff, Diane Favro, Todd Presner and Willeke Wendrich

      “The Emerald Buddha: Politics, Religion and Buddhist Imagery in Southeast Asia;” “High Line New York City: An Economical and Cultural Revival;” “Mapping Mami Wata: The African Water Goddess;” “Mapping the Bilbao Effect”—all of these were final project proposals by undergraduate students in UCLA’s three-year Digital Culture Mapping Program sponsored by the W. M. Keck Foundation (http://www. keckdcmp. ucla. edu/). These projects showcase how students envision harnessing digital technologies to address a broad range of questions in the arts, humanities and social sciences. While the range of student interests in digital projects was exciting, it revealed...

    • 6. Looking for Whitman: A Multi-Campus Experiment in Digital Pedagogy
      (pp. 151-176)
      Matthew K. Gold

      Walt Whitman was a terrible teacher, at least when judged according to the pedagogical standards of his day. During the two teenaged years he spent teaching in rural Long Island schoolhouses (1836–38), Whitman violated most of the educational conventions of his era. Unlike the schoolmaster described as a “brisk wielder of the birch and rule” in John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem “Snowbound,” Whitman refused to discipline his pupils with physical force.¹ He opposed the kinds of rote, drill-based learning strategies popular among many teachers of the period, choosing instead to engage his students through a series of progressive educational techniques:...

    • 7. Acculturation and the Digital Humanities Community
      (pp. 177-212)
      Geoffrey Rockwell and Stéfan Sinclair

      One can think through a digital humanities curriculum in three ways. One can ask what should be the intellectual content of a program and parse it up into courses; one can imagine the skills taught in a program and ensure that they are covered; or one can ensure that the acculturation and professionalization that takes place in the learning community is relevant to the students. This chapter will focus mainly on the third approach, but use that to touch on issues of content and skills.

      Professionalization involves the development of skills, identities, norms and values associated with becoming part of...

  3. II. Principles

    • 8. Teaching Skills or Teaching Methodology?
      (pp. 215-226)
      Simon Mahony and Elena Pierazzo

      While there have been a number of publications exploring the research possibilities opened up by digital humanities and arguing for its place in the higher education curriculum,¹ it is not our purpose in the present chapter to contribute to this ongoing critical conversation. Instead, we wish to explore preciselywhatwe should be teaching under the banner of “digital humanities”. In the case studies that follow, we argue that this curriculum should focus on teaching students new approaches and new ways of thinking about the humanities and—in order to accomplish this with different groups of learners at disparate levels...

    • 9. Programming with Humanists: Reflections on Raising an Army of Hacker-Scholars in the Digital Humanities
      (pp. 227-240)
      Stephen Ramsay

      “Program or be programmed.” That is the strong claim made by Douglas Rushkoff in a recent book that eloquently—at times, movingly—articulates an argument often made by those who teach programming:

      In the emerging, highly programmed landscape ahead, you will either create the software or you will be the software. It’s really that simple: Program, or be programmed. Choose the former, and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make. […] Computers and networks finally offer us the ability to write. And we...

    • 10. Teaching Computer-Assisted Text Analysis: Approaches to Learning New Methodologies
      (pp. 241-264)
      Stéfan Sinclair and Geoffrey Rockwell

      Using a computer to analyze a text intimidates many humanities students, but the reality is that text analysis is becoming a fundamental and naturalized part of how we operate in a digital society. Text analysis is what enables Google to compile and index tens of billions of web pages so that our search terms produce results; it is fundamental to building IBM’s Watson, a computer-system that was able to beat two of the top humanJeopardy!players of all time; it allows smartphone developers to build predictive texting capabilities; it also enables a humanist to study the relationship between Agatha...

    • 11. Pedagogical Principles of Digital Historiography
      (pp. 265-290)
      Joshua Sternfeld

      “What is metadata?” The question was raised by a student in my graduate seminar, History, Media and Technology. The course was open to both history and information studies graduate students, and this query came from a history student with no background in archival or information theory. It halted my rapid introduction to the ten-week course during which I had been rattling off terms such as “Dublin Core,” “context,” “historiography,” “digital archive” and “preservation.” Instead, we launched into an impromptu discussion about metadata that touched upon areas beyond its basic definition and utility. The information studies students discussed ways in which...

    • 12. Nomadic Archives: Remix and the Drift to Praxis
      (pp. 291-308)
      Virginia Kuhn and Vicki Callahan

      In opening our discussion of pedagogical strategies within the digital humanities, we begin by outlining what we see as the mission of the field. That is, while we often operate as if in agreement about what is included under the umbrella term of “digital humanities,” it is unclear that our sense of this field or its objectives extends beyond a family resemblance. For our purposes, we first define the humanities quite broadly as disciplines concerned with the ongoing life of culture, and we note our firm belief in the value of humanities education. Indeed, inAcademically Adrift, a recent book...

  4. III. Politics

    • 13. They Have Come, Why Won’t We Build It? On the Digital Future of the Humanities
      (pp. 311-330)
      Jon Saklofske, Estelle Clements and Richard Cunningham

      In this chapter, we will suggest ways of implementing digital humanities instruction for students who, as Don Tapscott’s research shows, comfortably “watch […] movies on two-inch screens,” “text incessantly, surf the Web,” “make videos, collaborate” and “have a natural affinity for technology”.¹ These students came into a world in which the digital age was in a comparatively infantile state and have shared their adolescence with the adolescence of our culture’s digital era.² We start from the premise that these hi-tech immersed students are the vast majority of current enrollees in post-secondary education in the developed world, and therefore it is...

    • 14. Opening up Digital Humanities Education
      (pp. 331-364)
      Lisa Spiro

      Suppose that you are an English graduate student who has become intrigued by digital humanities.¹ Your university lacks members of faculty with expertise in digital humanities, and you’re too invested in your current graduate program to go somewhere else. You do your best to keep up with the developments happening in digital humanities by following blogs and Twitter streams, but you worry that you are being left behind. You would like to apply for a job with a digital humanities focus, but realize that you would need to develop the necessary scholarly and technical expertise.

      Or perhaps you are a...

    • 15. Multiliteracies in the Undergraduate Digital Humanities Curriculum: Skills, Principles, and Habits of Mind
      (pp. 365-388)
      Tanya Clement

      Mark Baeurlein complains that undergraduates are passive consumers because they convert “history, philosophy, literature, civics, and fine art into information” as “material to retrieve and pass along.”¹ In contrast, scholarship in digital humanities suggests that inquiry enabled by modes of research, design, preservation, dissemination, and communication that rely on information systems—algorithms or online networks for processing data—deepen and advance knowledge in the humanities. Dubbing teens and twenty-somethings “the dumbest generation” and “mentally agile” but “culturally ignorant,” Bauerlein decrees that “The Web hasn’t made them better writers and readers, sharper interpreters and more discerning critics, more knowledgeable citizens and...

    • 16. Teaching Digital Rhetoric: Wikipedia, Collaboration, and the Politics of Free Knowledge
      (pp. 389-406)
      Melanie Kill

      The vast majority of the undergraduates we teach will not become professional scholars, but all will be educated citizens with a responsibility to put their knowledge and abilities to use for the common good. Our work with them, then, is not only about exposing them to the critical methods and modes of thinking that are central to knowledge-making in our fields, but also about helping them to map humanist questions and approaches onto an always complex and changing world. Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia. org/) provides students with a range of opportunities to work as intermediaries between the disciplinary expertise they...