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New Department “Digital Humanities and Social Studies“

Photo: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

As part of the High-Tech Agenda Bavaria, the new Department of Digital Humanities and Social Studies (DHSS) started its work on 1 January 2021. The new department is dedicated to the research challenge of translating cultural and social worlds into data and formal models and interpreting the computer-assisted analysis to draw conclusions for our lives in society.

The department at a glance:

New HTA professorships:

  1. Research-oriented Data Management in the Humanities
  2. Computing Images & Objects in Cultural Heritage
  3. Computing Text and Language
  4. Computing (Geo-)Social Data
  5. Human Computer Interaction
  6. Governing of Data Economies.

The new department is keen to promote strong interdisciplinary connections and targeted collaboration with selected central institutions at FAU. As a university which offers the entire spectrum of academic disciplines, FAU offers the perfect framework for interdisciplinary collaboration, a clear advantage when it comes to establishing digital humanities as a key research priority. The transdisciplinary nature of the new professorships will allow established subjects in the area of humanities at FAU to benefit from increased digital expertise.

Since 2016, a degree programme in Digital Humanities and Social Sciences has been offered at Bachelor’s and Master’s level.

The HTA at FAU

The new department (short DHSS) is mirrored by the new department for Data Science (DDS) at the faculty of natural sciences, which will include five professorships and focus on base research on the mathematics of data science and statistics. The concepts for both departments were selected from a range of internal concept proposals and were evaluated and recommended by the Executive Board, the deans and external review panels.

Established professorships and institutions of other faculties and departments will be cooperating with the new departments, for example by means of primary or secondary membership, supporting a maximum of interdisciplinary work. Both departments forego conventional chair structures and are thus piloting innovative concepts for the structural development of FAU.

‘I am very proud of the way our universities are seizing the opportunities the High-Tech Agenda Bavaria and the acceleration programme High-Tech Agenda Plus offer for widening the scope of their research. FAU is a shining example of how new, additional professorships can collaborate with existing ones,’ says Bavarian minister of science Bernd Sibler. ‘The future is built on ideas, visions and expertise. That is clearly reflected in FAU’s concept. Interdisciplinarity has always been a feature of FAU. Bringing researchers together in these new structures, however, will move the collaboration which has until now been more on a case by case basis into a whole new dimension.’

‘By establishing these two new departments, we are powering ahead with the next stage of the High-Tech Agenda at FAU at the same time as driving forward our own university strategy for the future #FAU2025,’ explains FAU President Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger. ‘The professorships included in the new departments will also perfectly complement the research of their colleagues in the newly established Department of Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Engineering. I am particularly pleased about the huge potential benefits for our students. The degree programmes Data Science and Digital Humanities & Social Sciences will profit from an even greater level of subject expertise and a wider range of topics.’