This post raises questions, doesn’t really offer any answers.
Given all the discussion of what the work and/or the research agenda of a Digital Humanities scholar/department is or should be, I thought I’d raise the topic of how teaching fits into this. If we consider ourselves academics, then we (at least some of us) are also in the business of teaching students (academics are also in the business of outreaching to potential students, the providing service to the academic community, and engaging with society and culture as a whole, but those are questions for another day).
Do (or should) we, as teachers of Digital Humanities:
- Primarily teach Humanities students (say postgraduates whose first degree was in a traditional subject like history, literature, or languages) skills, technologies and methodologies for carrying out this field of research in the digital age?
- Teach the subject of the Humanities themselves, to students of all levels, but making use ourselves and ensuring that they make use of all appropriate technologies and methodologies for their research? (And if so, how do we differ from a history teacher, who should do all this also?)
- Focus on specific technologies in our teaching: the use of advanced web tools, publishing with XML and databases, text mining, NLP, ontologies and topic maps, concordance and linguistic tools, visualization and imaging technologies? (If so, what would we teach that social scientists and even biologists don’t also use?)
- Teach a combination of new methods (the digital, which is what we all have in common) and new humanities subjects (generalized, for a mixed student audience) so that the interaction of research area and methodology are given equal weight at all times?
- Engage in the field of Computer Science, the theory of computing itself, deep knowledge of programming and systems analysis, artificial intelligence, with a focus on the heritage of humanity as our datasets. If our students start in as Humanities scholars, they will come out (at least partly, and also) engineers. (At Tufts, DH is taught in the CS dept.)
- Digital Humanities for computer scientists, where we teach (perhaps in collaboration) the methods and approaches of DH in such a way that even CS postgraduates would find it a worthwhile course of study?
- Some combination of the above and/or more?
I have my own opinions about this, but I think I’d like this conversation to take place in the comments, rather than having a privileged position in the post itself that everyone feels the need to engage with.