This semester I have the privilege of sitting in on a graduate seminar at Vanderbilt University aimed at introducing graduate students to the digital humanities. The class, co-taught by professors Holly Tucker and Lynn Ramey from the Department of French and Italian, along with Dr. Todd Hughes, Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Second Language Studies, is the first of its kind (to the best of my knowledge) here at Vanderbilt. I am excited to be participating and I will be posting/cross-posting my thoughts about the discussions we have as a class.
To give substance and focus to our foray into the digital humanities, we will be working on contributing to a larger project devoted to analyzing the multiple discoveries of (encounters with) the American continent by European explorers. Our starting point will be the travel narrative of Sir John Mandeville, a copy of which was carried by Columbus on his voyage across the Atlantic.
As we study this text, we will be exploring many digital tools that, for most of us, are completely new. We will also be discussing the broader development of the digital humanities, including a discussion next week with the university's legal counsel about issues of copyright and creative commons. Our class will be collaborating and sharing ideas via a blog at http://www.discoveriesoftheamericas.org/blog/ and our friends at HASTAC are invited to read and comment about what we are doing. I've also encouraged my classmates to consult HASTAC's resources for digital humanists and engage in discussion with others undertaking similar projects. I'm looking forward to an exciting semester bringing digital humanities to Vanderbilt.