In 2013, the University of Rochester received a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation aimed at promoting the development of digital humanities. Developed by University of Rochester faculty, the new program will train humanities students to integrate digital technologies into innovative research programs.
The grant also supports a series of recent university investments in the digital humanities, including the hiring of digital media faculty and the newly opened Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation, dedicated Oct. 11, 2013. Rettner Hall, a space designed to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration through technology, will serve as a home to much of the work in the new fellowship program.
This graduate program provides two years of support to select Ph.D. students from among the humanities departments in English, Visual and Cultural Studies, History, and Philosophy.
The program is designed to develop students’ familiarity with technology in service of the humanities through intersecting approaches:
- Students will learn both about and through technology in the context of their own humanistic research
- They will learn through theory (coursework, seminars, speakers), practice (teaching, technology training, project building), and combinations of the two (workshops, critical making)
- Graduate students in the program will serve simultaneously as humanities apprentices and mentors, both within their cohort of graduate students and in communities of undergraduates and faculty members
Fellows in the program will:
- Participate in Digital Media Studies 501, “Seminar in Digital Humanities”
- Train in various technologies related to humanistic research, including textual markup and web construction; Global Information Systems technologies; data visualization; reading and writing code
- Plan and coordinate a guest-speaker series on relevant topics in the digital humanities
- Serve as teaching and research assistants in digital humanities courses and in Humanities Labs
- Produce a research and critical-making portfolio; a research blog/web site; and small- to medium-scale digital projects related to their research
- Conclude their fellowship term (two years) by presenting their humanities research in a spring-semester symposium with invited speakers
Teaching assistantships are conducted in cooperation with the new Digital Media Studies (DMS) undergraduate major. In DMS 501, fellows read and discuss essays and books by scholars pertaining to digital scholarship, debates in digital humanities, and foundational texts in establishing humanities computing.
The program is based on the premise that technology and the humanities illuminate and complement one another in increasingly important ways. Most humanities scholars today are well versed in the use of digital research and discovery tools that enable access to large amounts of information quickly and easily. For the coming generations of humanities scholars, however, those who are rigorously trained in both the humanities and technology will be strategically poised to reframe traditional humanities problems and conceptualize new ones.
Questions should be directed to Program Director Morris Eaves.