Yes, Undergrads Can Do Digital Humanities

April 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

Davidson student, Ayesha Shah ’13, leads elementary students through her geotagged math map service-learning project.

When I first started researching digital humanities at liberal arts colleges I was dismayed to hear a comment made at the 2010 Digital Humanities Conference in London: “There is no place for undergrads in Digital Humanities.” That is manifestly untrue.  Here’s some of the proof that’s come through my inbox this week of undegraduates doing digital humanities and other forms of digital scholarship.

Digital Curation

Bridget Draxler of Monmouth College shared this HASTAC series by students at Union and Monmouth Colleges learning about digital curation by creating videos about digital exhibits in liberal arts colleges. Each video covers a digital curating project on their home campus.

Digital Field Scholarship

Students at Davidson, Lewis and Clark, Muhlenberg, and Reed Colleges are practicing various forms of  digital field scholarship:

Digital Museum Exhibits

At Austin College, Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan has been teaching an interdisciplinary and inquiry-based learning course, REL 250/350: Mapping Cultures with a focus on Tibetan and other Asian cultural interactions and cultural preservation. April 12, 7-9 pm, her students will showcase their digital humanities projects at the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas.  As Dr. Vargas-O’Bryan explains,

Throughout the semester, in collaboration with staff at the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas and international art and cultural preservation organizations abroad, students have been developing projects that utilize digital tools and media technology in order to understand Tibetan cultural traditions from diverse perspective.  Last year, I approached the Crow Collection of Asian Art director, Amy Hofland, to collaborate on the use of technology for learning about Tibetan culture and now we have created a co-curated exhibit of bronzes juxtaposing digital displays developed by students on the web publishing site Omeka and using ipads and QR codes.  Taking Shape:  Perspectives on Asian Bronzes at the CCAA is an evolving exhibit utilizing art objects, film, and research.

Find out more via Mapping_Cultures, and if you’re close to Dallas I encourage you to check out the exhibit.

New Media

Finally, the Re:Humanities ’13 conference kicks of tomorrow and runs April 4-5, 2013 at Bryn Mawr College, as described on their website:

This year’s Re:Humanities symposium will showcase the work of undergraduate scholars from the Tri-Colleges and overall 11 colleges and universities nationwide. The work presented will address a wide range of topics that reimagine ‘narrative’ across multiple new platforms: interdisciplinary approaches to gaming, transmedia storytelling, infographics and informatics, cultural criticism through the lens of new media, digital forms of argumentation, visual modes of record and witness, and oral and auditory experimentation.

All of these projects demonstrate the vibrancy and variety of digital scholarship at liberal arts colleges. They exhibit some of the best pedagogy and innovative learning models to be found at these institutions, including project-based learning, community-based learning, applied or experiential learning, service-learning, multiliteracies, public humanities, and interdisciplinary work. They also illustrate why we need to capture and document such pedagogical artifacts with projects like the Digital Pedagogy Reader and Toolkit.


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§ One Response to Yes, Undergrads Can Do Digital Humanities

  • Undergrads should be doing digital humanities. For sure. How can people dispute that?

    The more tricky question is whether, as some have written in DHQ, the humanities should be replaced entirely by the digital humanities and annexed into the sciences. That is the question which necessitates a defense of humanities scholarship, broadly considered. My two cents.

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