As two recent Hampshire College undergrads, we both did digital humanist senior projects, but took very different approaches and routes to digital humanist work. L. Kelly FitzPatrick’s Poppies Pressed is a digital WWI centennial project, and Fiona Stewart-Taylor’s Facing Autobiography is a thesis on small press and webcomics published under creative commons. Using our experiences and inviting yours, we are interested in facilitating a discussion and raising questions about how digital humanities can be promoted, taught, and introduced to undergraduate students. We are particularly interested in how the interdisciplinary nature of digital humanities can potentially inspire new kinds of undergraduate work. Digital humanities can stimulate innovative approaches to areas of study from undergraduates themselves. Students doing DH can see the connections between and engage in communication across different disciplines, truly being “more than a major.” How do we get students set in their fields to branch out and take risks?
Digital humanities is often grounded in a philosophy of “doing.” Without sacrificing theory or critical discourse, digital humanities’ orientation towards projects allows students to see applications of humanities fields and possibilities for scholarly work, particularly interdisciplinary work. How can students’ own experiences with technology be critically examined in a digital humanist fashion? Similarly, how can classes be a catalyst to advance students’ understanding of DH and specific skills, like coding or close reading, in digital humanist projects? The productive possibilities of digital humanities are not limited to projects, nor to any one framework or approach. A DH class is necessarily limited in what can be taught in the time available. With the unfixed definition of digital humanities, how can students be taught DH without being taught a monolithic DH? Is it useful to students to engage with DH as a field while doing digitally inflected humanities work? How do we get students doing DH, and how do classrooms become digital humanist classrooms?