Today we learn more about our most unique major. Digital Humanities combines study of history, philosophy, literature, etc. with training in digital skills like coding and design.
When and why did you choose the Digital Humanities major?
Aimee Kuiper ’22: Coming into Bethel, I wished I could major in History but couldn’t quite fit it in with the other degrees I was pursuing. I was so happy that the Digital Humanities major was flexible with my academic plan and improved my studies in other majors besides just being a doorway to the History Department.
Essie Shull ’22: I added Digital Humanities as a second major when I switched my main major from Music to History during my sophomore year. I liked the idea of learning more technical digital skills, in addition to what I was learning in my traditional history courses.
Katie L. Friese ’23: I knew I wanted something to help round out my primary major and Digital Humanities peaked my interest. I saw it on the list of options for Bethel and added it for “funsies.” Once I was enrolled and saw how customizable it was, I was hooked!
DH is unusual in that it must be taken in tandem with another major… What was your other field? How did it work to take Digital Humanities alongside that major?
Katie: Psychology and Digital Humanities do not overlap at all, but the skills and knowledge from both inform how I do each of them! The coding from DH helps me to understand the science portion of Psychology, and the knowledge of people from Psychology helps me to understand which direction to take my DH projects and how people interact with it.
Aimee: Digital Humanities and Fine Arts complemented each other very well. My DH skills improved my creativity and goals in art projects, and my art+design skills streamlined, beautified, and challenged my DH work. All my professors acknowledged the intersection of my degrees and pointed me toward opportunities that matched them.
Essie: My other major is History, and the two definitely complemented each other. There was a lot of overlap and it wasn’t too difficult making DH fit in with everything.
Tell us about a particular highlight of the Digital Humanities major in your experience of it.
Essie: In Intro to Digital Humanities, one of our assignments was creating a 3D model of a cathedral. I did York Minster. It was a lot of fun, and the final result was really satisfying.
Aimee: I adored our Sketch-up (3D modeling) unit in Intro to DH! Professor Goldberg encouraged mistakes in class, and the hours we all spent troubleshooting together were equally joyful and stressful. I was well prepared later when I used the software in non-DH courses, and I went on to build an interactive model for a local company’s new building.
Katie: Definitely taking a topic in history with Goldberg and also learning tech stuff in Advanced DH with him! He really knows how to tie everything together and showcases different uses for it.
What’s one important way that you’ve grown — intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, etc. — as a result of majoring in Digital Humanities?
Aimee: I initially bought into the idea that education is a segmented creature: that intelligences can be put into boxes like STEM, humanities, the arts, etc. I realize now that these areas bleed into one another immensely, and are actively improved by one another. The skills I built in DH have led me to opportunities with historical societies, medical technology designers, art galleries, and so much more! I am pleased that DH challenged my intelligence so holistically.
Essie: I’ve come to see how the digital world and the humanities can successfully work together. It may come as a surprise to some, but the two are actually quite compatible! Tools like graphic design, computer programming, 3D modeling, and digital analysis can all enrich the humanities without subverting traditional scholarship.
Katie: One of the ways my DH major showcases itself is I understand the background work of a lot of projects and am not scared out of my wits when something technical goes wrong.
If you were to talk to a prospective student considering Digital Humanities, what advice would you give her?
Katie: Apply your skills everywhere! Take some classes that are out of your comfort zone but in your interests.
Essie: Consider taking Intro to Digital Humanities and see if you like it. (It counts towards your A-tag!) The major is flexible. It’s designed to suit your particular interests. If you’d like to learn an assortment of practical skills that suit your fancy, then go for it!
What’s something you’ve come to appreciate about majoring in DH — or maybe understand more fully — now that you’ve been away from Bethel?
Aimee: It makes my resume look like shiny candy to interviewers. If they’ve never heard of it, they love to ask questions. If they know all about it, they have probably applied it in their business already and are happy to see someone with that experience!
To learn more about the Digital Humanities major, click here or see the catalog page below:
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