Digital Humanities

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The Digital Innovation Lab (DIL) is a project-focused hub for collaborative, interdisciplinary discovery, experimentation, implementation, and assessment in the use of digital technologies to advance the work of the University in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. The DIL was launched by the College of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and is administratively housed in the Department of American Studies. The DIL website contains additional information on projects and tools developed through the lab and current activities.

The DIL undertakes all its work through interdisciplinary collaboration, involving scholars and students from a wide range of disciplinary orientations, technology experts, and digital humanities facilitators and project managers who bridge these domains.

The DIL’s mission is to:

  • combine the project-focused organizational model of the laboratory with the social model of the network to stimulate digital humanities work as public goods: digital projects, products, tools, and applications that are (1) of special social and cultural value, (2) can be produced for free public use (or at a minimal marginal cost), (3) are scalable, (4) are reusable and repurposable, and/or (5) serve multiple audiences/end-users within and outside of the University
  • facilitate humanistic research and community engagement with large-scale data sources, and, in the process, guide the humanities’ transformation from enterprises predicated upon data scarcity and remoteness to those that assume data hyper-abundance and ubiquity
  • develop, test, and document best-practice models for faculty and student work in public humanities that integrates community engagement, digital technologies, and inter-disciplinary inquiry

Opportunities for American Studies and Folklore Graduate Students to get involved in Digital Humanities through the DIL:

Graduate courses in digital humanities are offered through the American Studies department in conjunction with the DIL. The Digital Humanities Practicum (AMST 850) combines practical work on public-facing digital humanities projects with seminar-style discussions of the theoretical implications of such work. It will be offered next in the fall term of 2015. Interested students should contact Professor Robert Allen, Director of the DIL (rallen@email.unc.edu). AMST 840 (Digital Humanities/Digital American Studies) also provides an opportunity for graduate students to apply the methods and materials of the digital humanities to topics in American Studies.

Both courses count toward the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities. Graduate students may also apply for CDHI Graduate Fellows Program, which will add a summer stipend to a Ph.D. student’s departmental award and an opportunity to explore the use of digital technologies in humanistic inquiry through participation in DIL projects.

The DIL regularly involves graduate and undergraduate students as research assistants on digital projects. Interested students should contact Will Bosley, DIL General Manager at (digitalinnovation@unc.edu).