Studies in dh

What Are the Digital Humanities?

Digital humanities provide an opportunity to rethink how we build and transmit knowledge. One of the distinguishing features of digital humanities is the two-way relationship between the humanities and technology: the field uses technology for research in the humanities while subjecting technology to humanist questioning. As a result, the digital humanities are exploring the great questions of human culture through the creative and critical use of IT tools to collect, extract, organize, visualize, and disseminate information.

Minor in Digital Humanities

In September 2016, the Faculty of Arts launched a Minor in the Digital Humanities. This Minor covers all areas of the arts and humanities and allows for projects such as large-scale extraction of historical census data, research in computer linguistics, computer-assisted language learning and mapping of sound and image patterns in contemporary videos or theater performances. Since its inception in Fall 2016, the minor has offered students core competences in GIS mapping, digitization, XML, XSLT, Python, API calls, online publishing, database design, data visualization and archival research. The Digital Humanities undergraduate minor complements the core competencies that students gain in Humanities, Languages and Literatures, and Fine Arts: critical thinking, writing, research, creation. Students in the minor come from a range of home departments, including English, Communication, Psychology, and Computer Science.

The minor builds on student’s major, and consists of a series of electives and three core courses offered in French and English.

  • Arts and Digital Humanities (DHN1100) – Students learn to think about projects as conceptual units, engage with foundational Digital Humanities theoretical approaches and projects, and create their own macro- and micro-analysis of Humanities content using secondary sources, data sets, text encoding, and visualization.
  • Workshop in Digital Humanities (DHN2100) – Students have learned to digitize and analyse primary source material using GIS, command line text analysis, and visualization, and have received training in project management. In 2019 we have partnered with the Association of Canadian Archivists, to give the students a chance to learn to work with clients and to use their skills to frame and solve others’ problems.
  • Digital Humanities Capstone Project (DHN4100) – Students work together to frame and build a project from the ground up. Student in the capstone have received training in python, database design, natural language processing, archival research, data wrangling, and data-driven visualization. Recent projects include the 2019 class project Unseen uOttawa and the 2020 project mapping immigration to Ottawa International Seasonings

The students also take electives from across the Faculty of Arts, ranging from English and Geography to Music and Translation Studies. That said, the listed DH Minor electives are not the only courses in which students can hone Digital Humanities skills and habits of mind. There are many digitally inflected courses offered across the Faculty that have a digital creation component; English, Geography, Music, Visual Art, History, Theatre, and Communication are particularly strong in this area.

View our students’ projects!


For more information visit the Digital Humanities program on the University of Ottawa website.

Questions? Email Jada Watson at dhnarts@uOttawa.ca