Digital Humanities Dissertations: A New Model for PhD Scholarship

Jenifer Ishee Hoffman, Mississippi State University

The new model of accepting born digital dissertations by PhD candidates in lieu of the traditional monographic textual dissertation is permitted in the humanities departments of a handful of colleges in the United States. Proponents claim these technologically based dissertations better prepare their students for careers as instructors, as opposed to researchers, and for careers outside academia, which a growing number of graduates pursue. What are the implications for this new model of scholarship? If posturing answers to research questions is the heart of a dissertation, does this form of scholarship provide answers with no questions as the opponents claim? Is this a form of disruptive technology invading the humanities or is this new model at the forefront of humanities education in the 21st century?