The following is the text of a paper I was supposed to give for the “Twenty-first Century British Studies Pedagogy: Using Early Modern Digital Resources in the Classroom” panel at the Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies in March 2014. Unfortunately, and at the last minute, I was unable to attend the conference so the wonderful Kim Mclean-Fiander read the response on my behalf.
In 2009’s Debates in the Digital Humanities, Matthew Kirschenbaum asked, “What is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments?” A variation on Kirschenbaum’s question, and one that resonates here for this panel is, “what is digital pedagogy and what does it have to do with British Studies?” This question, I think, is in many ways more complex and fraught than Kirschembaum’s.
While many assume that digital pedagogy equals technology in the classroom (everything from smart podiums to clickers to MOOCs), and while I advocate for experimentation at the assignment level (blogs, timelines, simple mapping exercises) for instructors who are “digi-curious”, I believe that the real point of difference comes when instructors make the digital an intrinsic part of course design. And yet even for dyed-in-the-wool digital humanists the incorporation of critical engagement with digital modes and methods can seem daunting. Still, I would argue that – as demonstrated by these presentations today – the digital affords us creative and (more importantly) rigorous ways to challenge our students to participate in critical and professional ways with our subject matter.
From earliest days the digital humanities have been rooted in historo-literary research, and many of the notable examples continue to focus on British subjects – canonical and extra-canonical analyses of text and context, such as the Auchinleck Manuscript, the Internet Shakespeare Editions, Mapping the English Lake District, to name but a few. Certainly projects like the Map of Early Modern London are pushing forward sophisticated and important ways to associate place and text that could not be accomplished through more traditional “analog” research methods. [Read more…] about PCCBS Paper on Digital Pedagogy in British Studies