The CTSDH was founded in 2009 in the College of Arts and Sciences by two co-directors--Steven Jones (English) and George K. Thiruvathukal (Computer Science) (co-director through 2015)--as a true collaboration across the disciplines, and with the collaboration, as well, of Peter Shillingsburg, the first Martin J. Svaglic Chair in Textual Studies. The 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 digital 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 emerged around 2004-2008, and the CTSDH emerged along with it. 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. 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 Director, CTSDH