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Thaller, Manfred, Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Informationsverarbeitung, Universität zu Köln, Germany,

Download the Powerpoint Presentation for this Workshop

In late 2009 the Cologne Centre for eHumanities started an initiative to improve the cooperation between (mainly) German universities actively offering degree courses in Digital Humanities. Within three meetings the concepts of the participating universities have been compared and a discussion on possibilities for closer cooperation has been started. As a result:

A ‘catalogue’ (, in the context of – German only, so far) to document the degree programs that have actively contributed to the common work has been prepared. It includes ten BA programs, twelve MA / MSc programs, two certificates of  DH based training as professional add-on qualification on top of regular degrees plus one embedded degree within the regular teaching of a Humanities study program. The universities of  Bamberg, Bielefeld, Darmstadt, Erlangen, Gießen, Göttingen, Graz, Groningen, Hamburg, Köln, Lüneburg, Saarbrücken and Würzburg have contributed to this catalogue. What started as an initiative of Cologne has in the meantime become an integral part of DARIAH-DE, a general framework of projects for the establishment of an infrastructure for the Digital Humanities within Germany.

Parallel to that initiative, a discussion has been started which shall lead towards the identification of common elements of Digital Humanities curricula, making it easier for students to move between individual degrees and providing the ground work for the recognition of Digital Humanities as a general concept by the agencies responsible for the accreditation of university degrees within Germany. The German situation is probably different from that in many other countries, as two BA and one MSc program from the list above are offered not by Arts faculties, but by Computer Science faculties or institutes.

Both activities are results of an underlying process of ‘comparing the notes’ between people responsible directly for conceptualization and implementation of the degree courses. This process has so far been implemented mainly in Germany for pragmatic reasons: To make students aware of the existence of the field of Digital Humanities as a regular field of academic studies on the level of practical PR activities, you have to address a community which finds all of the participating universities as similarly logical choices for a place to study. It is also much easier to start the discussion of a core curriculum if during the first rounds all participants of the discussion operate under the same administrative rules for the establishment of degree courses.

We will organize a workshop attached to the Digital Humanities 2012 at Hamburg in order to extend this discussion to representatives of other university landscapes.

On the most fundamental level we would like to:

  • Present the results of the German initiative.
  • Invite presentations of the Digital Humanities degree courses existing within other countries.

On the level of practical co-operation we intend to discuss:

  • The creation and maintenance of a database / catalogue of European degree courses in Digital Humanities.
  • The possibility for improved exchange activities within existing funding schemes, within Europe e.g. ERASMUS, between different degree courses. This will require, among other things, the identification of elements in different curricula which could substitute courses required at a home institution.
  • In a very exploratory way, the possibilities for the facilitation of genuine ‘European Master’ degrees in Digital Humanities, in the sense used by the European Commission.

On the conceptual level we hope:

  • To initialize a discussion about possible terms of reference for Digital Humanities curricula, which transcend individual academic systems.
  • To arrive at a working definition for the field covered by such curricula. We are covering, e.g., degree courses which try to combine archaeology with computer science elements as well as degree courses, which are closely related to computational linguistics. As these communities are differently related within different university landscapes, a common conceptual reference framework should be used.

As this is an initiative which emerges from ongoing work and is directed mainly at institutions and persons which have experience with the implementation of Digital Humanities degrees, we do not intend to rely primarily on a call for papers.

We will not rely on a call for papers primarily. During April 2012 a set of  documents will be sent to all institutions in Europe, and many beyond, which are known to organize a degree course in the Digital Humanities or a closely connected field, with an invitation to join the workshop. We hope for results leading to direct and practical cooperation within existing frameworks. So the primary target group of  this workshop are the European academic institutions offering or planning degree courses in the Digital Humanities. This said, of course we also invite the wider community to join the conceptual discussions.

Participation of  institutions we are not aware of, particularly from those which are currently only in the planning  stages of Digital Humanities’ degree courses, is very much hoped for. Please direct enquiries to to receive additional material from the preparatory round of  discussions and supporting material before the start of the workshop.

The workshop will run for a full day. The following program is tentative, to be adapted to accommodate for proposals and explicit wishes from participants during the preparatory stage.

09:00 – 10:30 Setting the agenda – reports on existing degree courses.

11:00 – 12:30 What do we have in common? I: Parallels and differences in the scope of individual degree courses.

14:00 – 15:30 What do we have in common? II: Parallels and differences in the concept of ‘Digital Humanities’ underlying the individual courses.

16:00 – 17:30 Are there synergies? Creating a work program to facilitate discussions of exchange facilities and curricular coordination across national boundaries