Towards a Digital Humanities Major

The Humanist mailing list is currently entertaining a discussion about what a digital humanities major for undergraduates might look like. It’s an interesting discussion, although it begs the question of what the digital humanities actually are and, so far, it seems like the computer scientists and mathematicians are weighing in to say something like “You humanists need more math and computer science.” I don’t doubt that’s true, but I don’t really hear mathematicians and computer scientists saying something like “Say, you know what, this thing that’s happening in the humanities makes us realize we need a better humanities curriculum for our majors.”

C’est la vie.

Here are some of the parameters currently being discussed for a major:

  • One year of discrete mathematics (or calculus). I would argue for linear algebra, given my own experiences.
  • One year of a programming language. Does this include Python, Ruby, et alum?
  • Knowledge of markup languages and stylesheets: XML, HTML, CSS. (Sometimes PHP is included here.)
  • Some knowledge of databases. The nature of that knowledge is somewhat undefined yet. SQL? MySQL? Etc.