In a project that explores the disciplinary boundaries of New Media and Digital Humanities, I turn to the pedagogical differences between the two as taught in a variety of disciplines and courses. In order to discover intersections and divergences between the two, I gathered 50 syllabi (25 that marketed themselves as new media and 25 that marketed themselves as Digital Humanities), brought them together on Pinboard and tagged the year of the course, the department in which it was taught, the topics addressed and the theorists taught. This process has led to some intriguing revelations as I discovered that, while the two really aren’t that different, the Digital Humanities appears to be a bit more insular and exclusionary than they might claim to be, a problem that could be fixed in part by looking to their sister discipline. With this project I aim not to provide tangible definitions of either Digital Humanities or New Media nor will I attempt to demarcate a clear boundary between the two, tasks which seem ultimately futile. Instead, I wish to propose a potential new site for investigation.
The purpose of my Pinboard project is twofold. It allows one to observe emerging trends in disciplinary definition and pedagogy but, more importantly, it serves as a useful archive and resource for future syllabus construction. It brings together an archive of syllabi that teach similar topics in vastly different ways. Therefore, if Digital Humanities wishes to expand beyond what tends to be their own insularity, this site provides alternatives as one can explore how other departments and disciplines teach similar topics. Similarly, if New Media desires to incorporate tool-based approaches beyond social networking into their pedagogy, this site provides access to a wealth of Digital Humanities resources to do so. Instead of seeking to define and demarcate rigid disciplinary boundaries, scholars should turn to finding and creating more intersections, a move that would open both disciplines up to new questions about what it means to teach and learn in a digital age.
I propose an electronic poster presentation of these findings at HASTAC 2015: Exploring the Art & Science of Digital Humanities as my work explores the changing nature of humanities research while interrogating the interdisciplinary nature of Digital Humanities. I have collected my results into four graphs which visually represent the differences between New Media and Digital Humanities as they are taught. This presentation will seek to facilitate discussions about disciplinary boundaries and the usefulness of syllabi as a site of research. I blogged about this project last year as a HASTAC scholar and the post was widely circulated. I would like to update the research and further distribute this useful resource.