Textual studies encompasses a broad set of disciplinary practices and fields whose central concern is the production, circulation, and reception of texts in material form. Scholars in textual studies include editors, philologists, historians of the book and of reading, manuscript and print culture specialists, comparative media historians, sociologists of literature, and digital humanists. What unites these scholars is their attention to textual meaning as it emanates from the medium of inscription, from cuneiform tablets to tablet PCs. Textual studies represents both the oldest form of literary/cultural study —with roots in bibliography and the “lower criticism” of early Biblical scholarship—and a fertile mode of inquiry among humanists today as we witness a change in writing media of epochal significance.
An interdisciplinary graduate certificate program in Textual & Digital Studies welcomes its first cohort in Fall 2016. The certificate consists of 16 required credits of instruction in manuscript, print, and digital texts and cultures, including a required course in the history of and current methodological debates in the fields of textual studies and the digital humanities, along with a unifying, colloquium-based capstone experience.
After three years supporting the Textual Studies Program as a speaker series and research cluster, the Simpson Center provides support for administrating the new graduate certificate.