The Digital Humanities

What are the Digital Humanities?

Digital Humanities is a broad, multidisciplinary field that studies the intersection between computer technology and traditional humanities subjects such as art, history, philosophy, and literature.  Digital humanists examine the production, publication, distribution, preservation, and nature of digital works, situating these works within our interconnected, networked, and  globalized social and cultural contexts.  As Burdick et al. explain, "Digital Humanities is born of the encounter between traditional humanities and computational methods. With the migration of cultural materials into networked environments, questions regarding the production, availability, validity, and stewardship of these materials present new challenges and opportunities for humanists. In contrast with most traditional forms of scholarship, digital approaches are conspicuously collaborative and generative, even as they remain grounded in the traditions of humanistic inquiry. This changes the culture of humanities work as well as the questions that can be asked of the materials and objects that comprise the humanistic corpus" (3).  

Key areas of scholarship within the Digital Humanities include the following:

  • Moving analog artifacts to digital environments, especially the process of textual encoding that this entails
  • Preserving, archiving, and indexing digital works 
  • Developing critical theories and perspectives on digital-born works from within a humanities framework
  • Mining data from cultural data sets 
  • Employing the analytical tools from digital computing (statistics, text mining) to interpret traditional humanities materials
  • Using humanities-based research methods to understand digital media

What does Grand Valley State University believe about the Digital Humanities?

Digital Humanities are crucial to a 21st-century liberal arts education and an important part of the Big Data initiative at Grand Valley.  

How do the Digital Humanities fit into the English Department?

With its history of close textual analysis and computer-based composition, the field English studies is a natural environment for Digital Humanities scholarship.  In our English department, Digital Humanities shapes the way we teach literature, linguistics, English education, and composition.  Learn more about GVSU English and Digital Humanities.



Page last modified October 6, 2015