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Digital Humanities Chair Will Address Emerging Field

Through funding from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, a longtime benefactor of the College, Dartmouth has created the new post of Digital Humanities Chair, one of two Distinguished Professorships in Emerging Fields in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences endowed by the foundation.

The Digital Humanities Chair, a senior-level appointment for which a national search is being conducted, was created to lead Dartmouth's efforts to integrate digital culture and innovation with the humanities across disciplinary and departmental lines. Professor of German Studies Gerd Gemünden, who chairs the search committee, explains, "The digital revolution affects all fields-how we learn, how we write. By creating the new chair, we are acknowledging the significance of the digital revolution."

Carol Folt, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences and professor of biological sciences, says the College was motivated by a need to integrate constantly evolving technology with its long-standing commitment to the humanities. "In creating the Digital Humanities Chair, the Dartmouth administration is seeking an academic of the highest caliber who can coalesce nascent efforts, build on core strengths ripe for advancement, effect major changes in curriculum and scholarly development, and influence global discourse," she says.

Gemünden says the position is open to scholars from a wide variety of disciplines and that the job will require the new chair to work across disciplines and help coalesce the digital humanities work already underway at Dartmouth. The new chair could be housed in almost any department, or possibly be a dual appointment.
A second innovative faculty position is in development at Dartmouth as provided for by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation's grant.

Already, several other institutions of higher learning have begun exploring similar models of integrating digital and analog culture. The Center for New Media at the University of California, Berkeley, and the MIT Program in Media Arts and Sciences are serving as curricular means of exploring the relationship between the humanities and information technologies. Given the scale and ubiquity of the digital revolution, Dartmouth's new chair will work in a challenging field. As Gemünden notes, "The classes of 2008 and 2009 have never really lived without Google. That puts the burden of learning on us."

By GENEVIEVE HAAS

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Last Updated: 12/17/08