Re:Humanities is the first national digital humanities conference of, for, and by undergraduates, now in its fourth year. The theme for Re:Humanities 2014 is “Play. Power. Production.” The Re:Hum Working Group, comprised of students from Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore Colleges, brings together a symposium to highlight the work of undergraduates who engage with contemporary currents in digital humanities, scholars who both apply digital methodologies in traditional humanities research while posing critical humanities questions about those technologies.
Sitting in the upper tier of the Philips Wing, the stacks are lined with books several decades old– among them, perhaps, ones that belonged to former Haverford students and others, seminal texts in the early Haverford curriculum.
Maybe you’re pumping Lady Gaga through your headphones and curiosity gets the best of you. Maybe you just like to read. If you’ve taken some time to browse these books, have you wondered what it was like to read them as a Haverford student in the 1800s? Did you question if someone was sitting in this same spot cramming for a term paper 100 years ago and wonder if they left any inspiration for you?
This year, in preparation for a spring exhibit in Magill, we’ve been digging in the archives to explore the reading communities and rituals of Haverford students in the 1800s. Student literary societies were vibrant outlets for student-led events including debates about current topics (such as Suffrage or Lincoln’s Election). The literary societies located a space of extra-curricular reading and student leadership. Students even created their own libraries to complement those of Magill’s (at that time) selected holdings.