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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Demystifying Digital Humanities

Demystifying Digital Humanities is a series of six workshops, funded by the Simpson Center, presenting a guided introduction to the points of intersection between traditional and digital humanities (DH), including how traditional humanities approaches and questions are used or translated in DH studies, and identifying major DH subfields and their goals.

These workshops are geared toward graduate students who are curious about digital humanities and interested in using digital humanities techniques but are not sure how to get started or are unclear about what digital humanities scholarship requires. UW faculty and staff are also welcome to attend, though in case of oversubscription, graduate student registrations will take priority.

Each quarter's workshops cover a different aspect of getting started. The Fall 2014 workshops introduce participants to the major topics, tools, and debates that surround digital humanities. While the first of the two fall workshops present a general overview of what encompasses digital humanities, the second are focused on the role of social media for digital humanists. Winter workshops focus on the role of programming in digital humanities projects. While not all digital humanists are—or want to be—programmers, all humanists can benefit from a basic understanding of the structure and possibilities of code. To accomplish this, we will spend much of the winter workshops reviewing the programming and code used in existing projects. Featured projects will be determined by the specific interests of participants. Spring workshops are designed to help attendees begin a digital project, and will focus on project management, development, and tool selection.

Throughout the year, the workshops showcase new and existing UW resources that can help participants get started and continue their training in digital humanities. We'll also discuss strategies for balancing between digital and traditional scholarship, and navigating the job market as an applicant responding to postings that call for DH experience. While it may seem as though digital humanities requires one to wholly reinvent oneself as a scholar, this isn't actually the case; a primary goal of this workshop series is to make the process of developing digital humanities expertise more transparent and accessible.

Workshops are held on two Saturday mornings each quarter, with breakfast provided.

No technical expertise or prior knowledge is required. All participants need to take part is an interest in trying new things and a willingness to commit to a minimum of the two workshops per quarter.  And while it's helpful to have an idea for a particular area of exploration and development (a group of texts, a historical period or subject), participants do not need to have a specific project conceived.

In addition to holding workshops, the Demystifying Digital Humanities series includes:

  • A series of Development & Feedback sessions, held each quarter, at the Simpson Center. These sessions are less formal than the workshops. They’re meant to give both workshop participants, and other members of the UW community a chance to share their work, and work-in-progress, and get feedback and support. Whether you want to show off something that you’re especially proud of, or talk through an obstacle that’s frustrating you, the Development & Feedback sessions are a good place to do it.
  • Quarterly social opportunities to meet digital humanists from across the university 

Learn more at