Minor Digital Humanities and Social Analytics

Once again this year, UvA and VU join forces in the minor Digital Humanities! By following this minor you will become familiar with a range of digital approaches in humanities research. The sources and objects studied in history, media, literature, linguistics and music are increasingly becoming available digitally. You will learn how to create and analyse different types of data collections using tools for text mining, data analysis and visualisation. Courses include hands-on training, research internships in ongoing research projects as well as theoretical reflection on the promises of ‘the digital’ for your own discipline. Practical computational training will sharpen your analytical skills and enhance your job opportunities in the future. Registration for the minor in the academic year 2017-2018 will start in June.

The digital world

Over the last decades, cultural heritage institutions have been digitising their collections on an increasing speed. The result is an ever-growing digital availability of a variety of sources (archives, literary texts, paintings, films), to both scholars and the general public. So-called digital-born material, such as social media, has become the object of humanities research as well. This material can be used for much more than just searching and finding information on the internet. What do you need for an analytical approach? What do we know about the selection criteria and practical choices made during the digitization process. How do these impact our research results? What tools can we use to analyse and identify patterns in big and fuzzy data? How can we visualise our data and results? What new insights can be obtained through the analysis of ‘big’ data and these new computational techniques? These are some of the important questions driving the Digital Humanities minor.

Why would you study digital humanities?

Digital data and computational techniques are fundamentally changing the world around us, and the way humanities research is conducted. Humanities scholars have become aware that the new analytical methods and tools can help us to enhance the performance and impact of humanities research. Computer scientists have discovered that the fuzzy data and the hermeneutic methods of humanities research offer daring challenges to computer science. That is why companies like IBM or Samsung are now undertaking collaborations with humanities researchers. As most of the knowledge-intensive jobs have come to depend more on computer technology, university students who master new, sophisticated analytic skills will develop promising career opportunities. Taking digital humanities courses will be exciting, challenging and fun for both humanities and computer science students. The current climate of excitement and innovation around digital humanities will surely have positive effects on teachers and students alike!

Courses in the minor

The Digital Humanities minor consists of 5 courses, making up for 30 EC.

Period 1: The first two courses offer an introduction to the state of the art in digital humanities research. We will learn how physical objects (texts, images, music) are converted into data and how these data are structured as entries in a data collection.

Period 2: In the second period, we will investigate how to analyse data collections. You can choose two out of the three courses offered (or, if your curriculum allows, you can follow them all). The courses focus on annotating and labelling data, on coding and programming, or on frequently-used tools in clustering, structuring and visualising data. In this period we will build relevant datasets for the study of humanities topics such as the history of democracy, localizing historical events in time and space, the practices of social media, and the canonisation of artists.

Period 3: The minor concludes with ‘collaboratories’ or group-based internships, in which you will conduct your own research together with three to four other students and with researchers and organisations in the field of digital humanities. Everything you have learned in the other courses comes together in this final practical setting.

Overview Digital Humanities Minor

From Objects to DataPeriode 16
Media and Information: Living InformationPeriode 16
Coding the HumanitiesPeriode 26
Deep Interpretation and Analysis by Humans and MachinesPeriode 26
Visualizing HumanitiesPeriode 26
Digital Humanities in PracticePeriode 3

Who can enrol?

The Digital Humanities minor is an interdisciplinary minor, welcoming both computer science students and humanities students of all disciplines: linguistics, media, communication, history, literature and arts. Throughout the minor, you will engage in critical reflection on the tools and methods used, and explore the way digital techniques influence current research. All courses are taught in English and focus on collaboration and project-based learning.

Practical Information
Since the minor is a collaboration between UvA and VU, you will have to register for courses both at VU and at UvA. Please note that registration deadlines at UvA are different (and approximately a month earlier!) than at VU. Also, enrolling as a guest student means you have to submit a number of forms, which might take some time. We strongly advise you to start doing this as soon as possible, in order to overcome possible problems in time. You can contact the VU faculty desk or the UvA programme administration Mediastudies      


For VU-students

For registering for the UvA-courses, you need to:
1. Enrol as a guest student at UvA for the BA Media and Information. Read the guidelines.
2. Register for the minor and the UvA-courses in the minor. Read more.

For UvA students

For registering for the VU-courses, you need to enrol as a guest student at VU for the BA History. Read how to in Dutch and in English

1. Go to register.vu.nl and select Registration for secondary subjects. Select History and the course that you want to follow.
2. Insert your personal details. After this you will receive your login details for VUnet.
3. Log in on VUnet and select Complete application procedure under My Study Administration. If you can't find this subject on your VUnet-homepage, please try a different browser: Internet Explorer works better than Chrome. Still not possible to find My Study Administration? Then
you can make use of the direct link: vunet.login.vu.nl/Pages/registration.aspx.
4. Fill out all requested information for the correct study programme and upload all requested documents. A permission to take this course can be obtained at the Programme Administration BG2: student.uva.nl/mfs/contact after you registered for the minor at UvA.
5. Your request will be sent to the faculty after completing all steps.
6. The faculty grants permission to be registered as a secondary course or minor student.
7. Hand in a valid Bewijs Betaald Collegegeld (BBC) at the Central Student Desk (please write down your student number on the document). You can request a BBC at the student administration of your institution. You can apply for this document at your institution after you have given direct debit authorisation for the tuition fee or after having paid the full tuition fee.
8. Check whether you receive a confirmation through email. There can be more students interested than places available. Please note that your registration request will only be processed after all the documents are received and after approval is given by the faculty. Contact the Central Student Desk if you have any questions about payment or submission of the BBC, or the secretariat of the faculty if you have any questions about the contents of the course (for example about course schedule).

More information

For further information, please contact Erika Kuijpers: erika.kuijpers@vu.nl