The CTSDH was founded and is co-directed by the two of us--Steven Jones (English) and George K. Thiruvathukal (Computer Science) as a true collaboration across the discipines, and with the collaboration, as well, of Peter Shillingsburg, the first Martin J. Svaglic Chair in Textual Studies. Our Advisory Board and Steering Committee are both made up of faculty from across the university (and outside of it, to include for example library professionals). The CTSDH fosters and supports interdisciplinary research across the humanities, as well as in Computer Science, the School of Communication, the social sciences, Law, and University Libraries. In addition, we sponsor conferences, symposia, and lectures, and offer undergraduate and graduate students the chance to work with faculty on advanced research, and to take courses in and pursue research of their own in the interdisciplinary areas of textual studies and digital humanities.
Although humanities computing has been around since the mid twentieth century, a new-model digital humanities has emerged in the past decade. The term "digital humanities" was solidified by the editors of a collection of essays published online in 2004 and as a hardcover book in 2005 (Blackwell’s Companion to the Digital Humanities). The National Endowment for the Humanities introduced an initiative for the digital humanities in 2006, leading to the establishment of the NEH Office for the Digital Humanities in 2008. By 2009, the massive Modern Language Association conference was host to a number of buzz-worthy meetings that led the public as well as academic press to identify DH as "the next big thing." In that same year Loyola's CTSDH was founded.
Digital humanities comprehends a spectrum of practices, ranging from digital textual editing, archiving, and publishing, to the study of new media and computing platforms from the perspectives of humanities disciplines in combination with computer science. At the CTSDH, we see that spectrum as connecting DH to textual studies and bibliography. The relationship of "digital" and the "humanities" operates in both directions. Just as traditional humanities research both made use of the medium of print and investigated the medium of print (via book history and textual studies), so computing is both means and subject matter for the digital humanities. Besides using computers to research literature or art or history, DH practitioners have also applied the methods, insights, and research questions of the humanities to the study of computing and digital media.
Our own work in the Center has reflected this kind of interdiscipliarity (the two of us even co-authored a book in 2012). The CTSDH offers an extraordinary opportunity for faculty and students to explore this exciting new area of research and education.
Steven E. Jones, Professor of English and George K. Thiruvathukal, Professor of Computer Science