History of the CDH

Launched in 2014, the Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) is an interdisciplinary research center and academic unit affiliated with the Princeton University Library (PUL). The center began as a collaborative project called the Princeton Digital Humanities Initiative in 2011. Digital Humanities at Princeton has grown from a small initiative led by a handful of faculty members, graduate students, staff members and librarians, initially meeting in the private dining room of Mathey College, to a vibrant and internationally-recognized research center. The CDH moved into its current space on the B Floor of Firestone Library in the Summer of 2016.

From 2011–2014, members of the Digital Humanities Initiative knew that Princeton could better serve its faculty if it invested in sustainable infrastructure for digital projects, provided cutting-edge digital scholarly services, and helped scholars in the humanities and social sciences meaningfully collaborate with colleagues in data sciences.

From 2014–2018, the CDH invested in educating the Princeton community about all aspects of working with data in the humanities. We offered a variety of grants, offered consultations, ran workshops, reading groups, collaboratories, and hosted speakers and short- and long-term fellows. The Humanities Council supports our highly-competitive Perkins Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and through that program we have been able to offer the undergraduate “Introduction to Digital Humanities” course every year since 2014. During these years we began work on our major long-term faculty partnerships, such as the Princeton Prosody Archive, Derrida’s Margins, and the Shakespeare and Company Project, and launched our project management methodology.

Our “Year of Data” initiative in 2018–2019 was a turning point in our belief that working with humanities data poses challenges to data science that require collaborative work on both sides of Washington Road—the traditional campus dividing line between the School of Engineering and Princeton’s Humanities departments). Piloting both a Data Science Consortium and a Humanities Computing Curriculum Committee in 2019, the CDH continues to lead in innovative interdisciplinary research, all the while producing award-winning projects.