About CDHI

The Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative promotes innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and engaged scholarship and research at UNC and beyond.


CDHI is a direct response to a persistent national call for a fresh and bold agenda for the humanities in the 21st century.  The digitization of billions of humanities-relevant materials by libraries, archives, government agencies, and companies has forever reshaped the landscape of the humanities within and outside of the academy.  For centuries, humanists have worked in an environment of data scarcity and remoteness.  From now on, they and their publics will engage enduring and new themes in the humanities within an environment of data ubiquity and super-abundance.  Digital technologies are radically democratizing access to the record of human cultural activity, which, in turn, has profound implications for the creation and use of knowledge by scholars and the public alike.  CDHI offers a new design for the kind of infrastructure and revamped academic practices that, in light of the digital and big-data revolutions, represent the greatest challenge and the most exciting opportunity for the humanities.


CDHI contributes to UNC’s major strategic priorities as expressed through: (1) 2011 UNC Academic Plan’s call for renewed investment in both interdisciplinary research and engaged scholarship that benefits the public good; (2) Chancellor’s Innovation Initiative and its aim to create a culture of collaborative innovation that stimulates research on the biggest questions that the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences attempt to answer; (3) campus-wide revision of faculty promotion and tenure policies to reflect the value of engaged scholarship, effective use of digital technologies, and interdisciplinary collaboration.


The CDHI goal over the next five years is the development and testing of an adaptable and sustainable model of transformative academic practice that embraces faculty research, graduate and post-doctoral training, undergraduate learning, and engaged scholarship in the humanities.  The CDHI will also bring the humanities into the “big data” conversation going on across our own campus as well as among other leading research universities, federal agencies, and foundations.  It is essential that humanities questions and concerns—about knowledge, meaning, value, and representation—be reflected in rapidly unfolding efforts to organize research, graduate training, and general education in relation to the data and information landscape of the 21st century.

Contact Us

CDHI is institutionally housed in the Department of American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill
We share a space with the Digital Innovation Lab in 431 Greenlaw Hall
You can contact us at cdhi@unc.edu
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