The dramatic growth of the Digital Humanities (DH) over the past half dozen years has helped scholars re-imagine the very nature and forms of academic research and teaching across a range of scholarly disciplines, encompassing the arts, the interpretive social sciences, and traditional humanities subject areas.
The Digital Praxis Seminar is a two-semester course that explores the history, theory, and practice of digital scholarship. In the Fall semester, students study the history of the digital humanities, focusing especially on the diverse pioneering projects and core texts that ground this innovative methodological and conceptual approach to scholarly inquiry and teaching. The course emphasizes ongoing debates in the digital humanities, such as the problem of defining the digital humanities, the question of whether DH has (or needs) theoretical grounding, controversies over new models of peer review for digital scholarship, issues related to collaborative labor on digital projects, and the problematic questions surrounding research involving “big data.” The course also emphasizes the ways in which DH has helped alter the nature of academic teaching and pedagogy in the contemporary university with its emphasis on collaborative, student-centered and digital learning environments and approaches. Along the way, the course examines the broad social, legal, and ethical questions and concerns surrounding digital media and contemporary culture, including privacy, intellectual property, and open/public access to knowledge and scholarship.
In the Spring semester, [MALS 75500] Digital Humanities Methods and Practices, students put the work done in the Fall semester into action by taking, as their collective goal, the production of a small number of student-proposed projects by the end of the semester. Students split into teams and, by the end of the semester, create proofs of concept for DH projects. Students end the class having gained hands-on experience in the planning, production, and dissemination of a digital humanities project and having picked up a variety of skills along the way. Aiming to produce projects that will have a trajectory and a timeline of their own that extend beyond the end of the semester, students will be supported by a range of advisors matched to the needs of the individual projects. After a rigorous commitment to meeting target delivery dates, the class will hold a public launch event at the end of the semester at which students will present their proofs-of-concept, and receive feedback from the broader community.