Building STEAM for DH and Electronic Literature: An Educational Approach to Nurturing the STEAM Mindset in Higher Education

Claudia von Vacano, Evan Muzzall, Adam G. Anderson, Jonathan Reeve, Tom van Nuenen

Electronic Book Review
October 4, 2020

In this article, we advocate for a new kind of renaissance person, a humanistic data scientist capable of profound cultural analysis and critique. A person able to critique from deep within the technical infrastructure and someone who understands an age-old wisdom within the humanities—that knowledge is always a pursuit and never a completed journey. This journey requires an ever-expanding methodological repertoire to evaluate and understand (and seek solutions for) an increasingly complex and dystopic world. At the same time, our pedagogical approaches encourage experiential learning that engages all of the senses and ignites the imagination. If we can dream it, we can build it. A future where young scholars can learn how to deprogram from brainwashing propaganda, how to sort through fake news, and how to lift up their voices to become active participants in creating a new reality. This seems like a lofty goal, but the authors of this article feel that our very democracies depend on building savvy critical thinkers who can deconstruct the world around them. We currently see a highly problematic division between science and the arts/humanities in a false dichotomy.

A revitalized Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Humanities, and Mathematics (STEAM) approach to Digital Humanities (DH) drives our pedagogy and research with an emphasis on creative potential as a catalyst for scientific learning and to cultivate expansive mindsets that enable transcending disciplinary boundaries.

We discuss our self-sustaining DH at Berkeley Summer Minor and Certificate Program that grew out of a rich context embracing the artist and scientist within us. The DH at Berkeley Program is unique in that it teaches the foundational theories found across the arts and humanities in combination with qualitative and quantitative practices to provide comprehensive research methods and tools. Here we unpack our unique pedagogical philosophy and the ways we develop pedagogical content knowledge among our instructors.

Featured Fellows

Adam G. Anderson

BIDS Alum – Research Training Program Manager