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Ph.D. Digital History @ GMU
By QB Curator
None of The QB Crew has attended George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, but from scanning the school's website at least, The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History & New Media alone appears to be enough of a reason for a Quail Bell(e) to research GMU's History Ph.D. program. Founded in 1994, CHNM has attempted to popularize history education and historic preservation for a varied audience using digital technology, and has succeeded in doing so.
In their own words, "CHNM uses digital media and technology to preserve and present history online, transform scholarship across the humanities, and advance historical education and understanding. Each year CHNM's many project websites receive over 16 million visitors, and over a million people rely on its digital tools to teach, learn, and conduct research."
A few of their websites include TeachingHistory.org, History Matters, and Women in World History. Sample tools that CHNM has designed include Zotero, Omeka, Text Mining, ScholarPress, Essays on History + New Media, and Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web.
As GMU Ph.D. candidates of History, students must choose a major field in U.S. History, European History, or Comparative World History. Then they choose two minors, such as Public History, Constitutional Studies, and New Media and Information Technology. Depending on how they balance their courses and what their career goals are, students can further focus in one of four disciplines: College & University teaching, New Media & Information Technology, Public & Applied History, and Professional Development.
A webpage within the Department of History and Art History's portal states that "there are four different ways that doctoral students might work with new media and new technology." To paraphrase:
• New Media Literacy: "...all historians needs to be aware of the possibilities and limitations of new technology for researching, presenting, and teaching about the past...We require everyone to take a two-semester sequence, History 696: Clio Wired: An Introduction to New Media and History 697: Creating History in New Media...All students need to demonstrate basic computer competence."
• New Media Minor: "...students can count one technical course and one internship course. Minors in New Media will generally focus in a particular area such as public history, museums, teaching, or scholarship."
• New Media Dissertation: "We imagine that dissertations will in some cases involve a hybrid of text and digital work."
• Work with CHNM: "CHNM sponsors many projects in digital media. We hope that some doctoral students will choose to work with the Center as Graduate Research Assistants, interns, or volunteers. We also encourage students to propose projects of their own to the Center."
Did we mention that GMU has funding? Full-time students qualify for graduate teaching and research assistantships, which pay your tuition and give you a minimum of $12,500 in stipend money. That's not to mention all the funding available at CHNM, either. Not bad. Not bad at all.