Bavaria’s First “Digital History” Professorship
Whether it’s handwritten manuscripts, letters, official records or images, historians use myriad sources to study the past, and progressive digitalisation means that a sound working knowledge of digital technologies has become a crucial aspect of their work. Developments in digitalisation free researchers from the constraints of time and location and provide new possibilities for the investigation of their chosen topics. And now, the University of Bamberg is the first Bavarian university to create a professorship for Digital History. The appointment procedure is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2020 summer semester.
“This new professorship will allow the university to further narrow the gap between the fields of applied computer science and the humanities,” explains University President Prof. Godehard Ruppert in reference to the strategy behind its creation. The Faculty of Information Systems and Applied Computer Science is already home to the Chair of Cultural Informatics, and the new professorship of Digital History will represent a counterpart in the Humanities Faculty.
The professorship is envisaged as a way to explore historical topics with the help of computer-aided processes. This means, for example, that multiple editions of a given text can be more easily compared and evaluated or that historical data can be visually rendered. Large volumes of text can also be processed quickly and reliably. “We see this as a chance to expand our methodological spectrum and are looking forward to promoting scholarly exchange with this promising branch of our field,” says Prof. Mark Häberlein, Director of the Institute of History and European Ethnology. The professorship will also forge a new path in university teaching. “Particularly our master’s students will be able to develop their skills in digital fields of application. Together with our professorship of Auxiliary Sciences of History, Digital History will provide students at the University of Bamberg with a broad education in the field’s methods and modes of operation.”
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