The Rutgers Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI) invites Rutgers faculty, students, and staff, and scholars in the tri-state area to explore the rich possibilities of the digital humanities in its inaugural reading group. The following questions will guide our discussions and debates: What are the digital humanities (DH)? What is DH theory and how might DH theory transform disciplinary boundaries? Who can do digital humanities work? The reading group is an occasion for scholars who are interested in the digital humanities, regardless of technical expertise, to meet in a structured, low-stakes setting to explore and discuss DH methods, the pedagogical uses of DH, and current debates in the burgeoning field.

Our featured discussants this fall will include Rutgers faculty members from Departments of History, Women and Gender Studies, and English working in the field of the digital Humanities. Participants should come prepared to discuss pre-circulated readings. All members of the Rutgers community are welcomed to attend any and all of the Initiative meetings this fall/this year. The co-conveners, however, hope that those who wish to participate will join us for all of the reading group’s programming. A consistent group of participants facilitates the development of conversations that extend across the group’s individual meetings. Regular participation also better ensures the possibility for the organic development of future opportunities for group collaboration amongst reading group participants.

Monthly meetings will take place 2:00 pm-4:00 pm in the DH Lab at Alexander Library, 4th floor, Room 406-407. Light refreshments will be provided! Please RSVP here.


Enmanuel Martinez, PhD Candidate, Program in Comparative Literature
Ashleigh Greene Wade, PhD Candidate, Department of Women and Gender Studies
Dara Walker, PhD Candidate, Department of History

For additional resources, see Rutgers Digital Humanities Library Resource Guide.


Reading Group Schedule:

In addition to the assigned readings, please consider using the Crowd-sourced DH Glossary as an accessible resource.

September 19, 2017: Introduction

Discussant: Paul Israel (History)

Guiding questions:

  • What are the digital humanities?
  • What is DH theory and how might it transform disciplinary boundaries?

How do you define Humanities Computing / Digital Humanities?

  • Participants should arrive prepared to discuss 3-4 definitions that either resonate or conflict with their understanding of DH.

The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Franco Moretti
The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Jessica Marie Johnson

Recommended reading:

Alan Liu, The Meaning of the Digital Humanities

October 17, 2017: Digital Humanities in Interdisciplinary Spaces

Discussant: Brittney Cooper (Women and Gender Studies)

Guiding questions:

  • Who can do digital humanities work?
  • While the digital humanities is thought to bring digital tools to bear on humanistic inquiry, how might humanities and social science-based theories inform our use of digital tools?
  • Is the conceptualization of DH broad enough to encompass the work of interdisciplinary scholars?

Assigned Readings:

Johanna Drucker, Humanistic Theory and Digital Scholarship
Kim Gallon, Making a Case for Black Digital Humanities
David Gaertner, Why We Need to Talk About Indigenous Literature in the Digital Humanities

Recommended reading:

Fiona Barnett, Zach Blas, Micha Cárdenas, Jacob Gaboury, Jessica Marie Johnson, and Margaret Rhee, QueerOS: A User’s Manual

November 14, 2017: Digital Humanities and Pedagogy

Discussant: Meredith McGill (English)

Guiding questions:

  • What are the limits and possibilities of the pedagogical uses of DH?
  • What are some considerations for developing an undergraduate curriculum that is informed by DH theory or include DH projects?

Assigned readings:

Andrew Goldstone, Teaching Quantitative Methods
Earhart, Amy E. and Taylor, Toniesha, Pedagogies of Race: Digital Humanities in the Age of Ferguson
Ryan Cordell, “How Not to Teach Digital Humanities

December 5, 2017: Digital Humanities Workshop

Co-facilitator: Andrew Goldstone (English)

Participants will have the opportunity to workshop course syllabi that integrates digital humanities theory/practice OR a short proposal (1500 words) for a DH project. Participants will receive feedback on materials in small group break-out sessions.

Hawk, Thomas. Roll With Me Baby. 2009, photograph, Flickr,