Course information

How do digital tools and resources change the study of the past? What skills and competencies will historians need to cope with digitized archival sources and born-digital material? How can historians use the web for scholarly communication? There is little doubt that digital tools and resources potentially enable new forms of scholarship, directing our attention to new questions or providing new answers to established narratives in the field. Yet graduate training in history has only to a small degree engaged with the challenge of digital media. This Nordic PhD course aims to enable its participants to meet this challenge through a semester-long exploration of key themes, methods, tools, and discussions in the emerging field of digital history.

The course will combine a theoretical and methodological discussion with a very practical approach. We will discuss topics such as text mining, text analysis, historical geospatial analysis, databases, search tools, digital exhibits, digital scholarly communication, creative commons, open access, digital pedagogy, and more. We will discuss definitions and the boundaries of digital history: what is new, what is different, and what remains the same? Throughout the semester, the participants will design and maintain their own blog as a tool for reflection, communication, and personal exploration of the course material.

The course targets PhD students in history, regardless of specialization. Recent postdocs may also apply. The course will be taught in English. The course will be designed to encourage international participation. Two physical meetings in Umeå, at the beginning and end of the fall semester, will be combined with online lectures and seminars throughout the semester. The physical meetings will be held in HUMlab, Umeå University’s internationally renowned digital humanities laboratory.

Expected learning outcomes

After finishing the course the student should be able to:

  • Discover, evaluate, and implement digital tools and resources to support historical scholarship
  • Establish and maintain an academic online presence and actively engage in digital scholarly communication
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with the scholarly community that works on digital history and their current major debates
  • Critically analyze the potential of digital history tools, methods, and resources to inform his or her own work
  • Seek out and acquire skills and tools for deeper involvement in particular digital history methods

The course is organized by Finn Arne Jørgensen, Department of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Umeå University.

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