Announcing the Critical Digital Humanities Initiative!

Jan 6, 2021

We are pleased to announce that the Digital Humanities Network (DHN)’s proposal to launch a three year Critical Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI) has been funded! With nearly 3M of funding from the Institutional Strategic Initiatives and divisional contributions at the University of Toronto, the CDHI will bridge the humanities’ emphasis on power and culture with the tools and analysis of digital technology to forge a new, generative paradigm of critical humanities scholarship. With an emphasis on anti-racist, feminist, queer, and decolonial scholarship and research, the CDHI will gather together researchers, students, and collaborators from both the humanities and the data sciences to tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our time. The CDHI will position the University of Toronto as a global leader in bringing questions of power and inequality to digital humanities research, while continuing to support digital humanities work more broadly at the UofT.

The CDHI will provide support for critical digital humanities in multiple ways across the tricampus. Key objectives include building the research network through staffing in the form of a managing director, development officer, a knowledge mobilization officer, and two digital humanities developers; building a strong interdisciplinary research community through annual lightning lunch and speaker series; supporting new research through an emerging projects incubator, consultations, and training bursaries; mobilizing knowledge through public engagement and conferences; establishing a postdoctoral fellowship program; offering a suite of 96 undergraduate and graduate student critical DH fellowships; and creating a robust sustainability plan that will secure funding for digital humanities at UofT long-term.

The proposal emerged over a 15-month planning process in 2019-2020, which included two plenary strategic planning sessions and over 55 individual meetings with faculty researchers, Chairs, Deans, and VP Research across the tri-campus. The proposal is supported through divisional contributions from four divisions at the UofT: UTM, UTSC, the Faculty of Information, and the Faculty of Arts and Science. Over 100 faculty members and librarians have contributed to our planning process. A 10-person faculty working group spent the summer workshopping a draft proposal, enabling us to further clarify our vision and goals.

The CDHI proposal is the first humanities application to be funded by the ISI, as well as the first to feature a project lead from Mississauga (Dr. Elspeth Brown, Historical Studies). In the coming months, the DHN looks forward to enacting the infrastructure of this new initiative. If you would like to review a copy of the proposal in its final form, please contact the DHN admin at