Interdisciplinary Research in the Humanities


Course Objective

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the themes and
methods of interdisciplinary Humanities research (in the VU research
environment and beyond) and to train students how to collaborate with
scholars from different disciplines. How do we make useful and
insightful connections between humanities disciplines and other fields
of science? After a general introduction into Humanities research and
the VU interdisciplinary research institutes, students choose to follow
either the Digital Humanities or Environmental Humanities track.

Enviromental Humanities
The Environmental Humanities are a relatively new interdisciplinary
field of study which addresses the interrelatedness of nature and
culture, and the role of the Humanities in tackling the environmental
crisis. Students who choose this theme are encouraged to connect
questions, issues and methodologies from different humanities
perspectives, such as art, literature, history and philosophy, to probe
pressing environmental concerns. We will focus on overarching topics
such as the nature/culture divide, concepts of the Anthropocene /
Capitalocene, the relations between decoloniality and ecological
thought, and post humanist approaches to multispecies ethics. We will
combine interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives with case studies
from art, literature and history. 

Digital Humanities
In our globalizing and increasingly digital world of big data, urge is
growing for scholars who are trained in comparing complex and long term
sets of quantitative and qualitative data. The sources and objects
studied in history, media, literature, and linguistics are also
increasingly becoming available digitally. What is Digital Humanities
and what is the history of this field of research? What are the main
debates, the most dominant subfields and techniques used? In this part
of the course we will introduce this cross-disciplinary research field,
by exploring subfields e.g. Digital Hermeneutics, Geographical
Information Systems, Text and Sentiment Analysis, RDF and SPARQL. You
will be introduced to data collections and computational tools and
methods used in the field, and try out some techniques. Students from
different disicplines will collaborate on a digital micro project, which
will result in a final paper.

In a final session, both groups will join again to communicate their

Course Content

This course offers an introduction for all Humanities Research Master
students into the present state of Humanities research, specifically
within in the VU research environment, and into the cross cutting themes
Digital Humanities and Environmental Humanities, as examples of
relatively new, dynamic interdisciplinary research fields. Introduction
to these fields will provide insight as to how Humanities research can
connect to other sciences and how can we connect Humanities research
with societal challenges.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, seminars, collaboratories

Method of Assessment

Class participation, oral and written assignments (30%); final paper

Entry Requirements

All participants should meet the entry requirements of the programme of
the Research Master Humanities


Provided through Canvas

Target Audience

This course is compulsory for all students of the Research Master
Humanities. Due to the entry requirements of the programme, the core
courses of the Research Master Humanities are only available for
students registered for the Research Master Humanities. Students of
other Research Master programmes or PhD students should seek approval
from the programme director.

General Information

Course Code L_AAMPALG014
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. I.B. Leemans
Examiner prof. dr. I.B. Leemans
Teaching Staff dr. C.M. van den Akker
dr. J.W.H.P. Verhagen
prof. dr. P.T.J.M. Vossen
prof. dr. K. Kwastek
dr. K. Steenbergh
prof. dr. I.B. Leemans

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: