CFP Digital Humanities Quarterly Special Edition: Imagining the DH Undergraduate

Please find below the CFP for a guest-edited edition of Digital Humanities Quarterly, “Imagining the DH Undergraduate: Special Issue in Undergraduate Education in DH,” co-edited by Dr. Shannon Smith (Bader International Study Centre, Queen’s University) and Emily Murphy (Queen’s University).

Please submit papers to guest editors at by Monday, 16 November 2015, 17:00 EST.

In this issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly, guest editors Dr. Shannon Smith and Emily Murphy seek to open a conversation about the ways practitioners in the Digital Humanities have reformulated, theorized, and practiced undergraduate pedagogy. We invite papers that engage in a multidimensional reimagining of where undergrads sit in the field and how we conceive of their role in the shifting knowledge economies produced by digital scholarship.

DH implicitly understands the role of the undergraduate in the field to exist in tension between one of two models: the “digital native” and the apprentice-research assistant. In the first model, the undergraduate student is understood to be one who speaks “the digital language of computers, videogames and the Internet,” and whose life-long immersion in a digital world has resulted a naturalized digital knowledge base that presumably outstrips that of her “digital immigrant” instructor (Prensky 1). Despite numerous pedagogical and sociological studies to challenge the concept of the digital native student and the homogeneous classrooms in which she exists (Smith, Helsper and Enyon), it has remained a persistent trope in DH: when John Unsworth and Patrik Svensson, for instance, envision the graduate student who “learned to do research with digital tools” (Unsworth qtd in Svensson 18), they rely upon the trope of the digital native undergraduate student who preceded the graduate student.

While the “digital native” may speak the language of the digital, the apprentice-research assistant is not assumed to possess the necessary skills for DH work; instead, she learns skills within the hierarchies and economies of the project. Further, the discourse of the “digital native” assumes that students’ facility with digital tools defines her involvement in the Digital Humanities; by contrast, apprenticeship models rely on an underlying conception of the Digital Humanities teaching that exposes undergraduates to methodology and theory through a digital lens. In this second model, the undergraduate student’s typical first exposure to DH is as the necessary labourer in faculty-led research projects; she is indoctrinated into the discipline by means of witnessing the inside operations of a research project. Despite the ubiquity of the apprentice model in DH projects, the trope of the digital native has persisted; it is in the space of this apparent contradiction that we may begin to account for the multiplicity of approaches to undergraduate education that have emerged within DH.

Platforms like Hybrid Pedagogy are providing space for discussions of individual experiences in the classroom, and critical considerations of how digital modes are changing teaching and learning. Projects like the Map of Early Modern London have developed pedagogical partnerships to support critical skills development in an international research environment tied to the classroom. Undergraduate education, whether or not that education is tied to DH projects, is now inflected by the shifting power structures of digital humanities scholarship and critical approaches to the role of computing in research and culture.

Papers submitted in response to this call should be in one of two formats: 1) models and theorizations of the undergraduate in DH, inside or outside the classroom (maximum 8000 words); 2) process papers and case studies of DH undergraduate education (maximum 5000 words). Preference will be given to theoretical papers, but compelling case studies will provide a welcome balance to the issue.

Topics may include, but need not be limited to:

Undergraduate Labour

  • the undergraduate student in the research environment (individual projects, DH Labs, DH Centres);
  • ethics and/of undergraduate education in DH;

The Diverse Undergraduate Student Body

  • intersectionality in the undergraduate population and DH;
  • undergraduate digital skill acquisition, and challenges to the “digital native”;
  • DH undergraduate students outside the academy;

Methodologies and Pedagogies

  • undergraduate DH coursework and undergraduate DH degree streams;
  • DH and non-DH pedagogical models for undergraduates: summer schools, peer learning, apprenticeships;
  • DH methodologies in the non-DH classroom.

Disciplinarity and Undergraduate Pedagogy

  • interdisciplinary education and the humanities undergraduate;
  • disciplinary self-conceptions in the undergraduate classroom (DH, Digital Liberal Arts, Digital Scholarship);
  • DH and changing humanities education.

Works Cited

Helsper, Ellen and Rebecca Eynon. “Digital Natives: Where Is The Evidence?” British Educational Research Journal 36.3 (2010). 503-520. Print.

Prensky, Mark. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” On the Horizon 9.5 (October 2001). Ithaca, NY: MCB University Press. Print.

Smith, Erika E. “The Digital Native Debate in Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis of Recent Literature.” Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology 38.3 (Fall 2012). 1-18. Print.

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