As of 8 April, Professor Malte Rehbein holds the Chair of Digital Humanities at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. This is the first of nine planned new chairs under the University's Technik Plus long-term development strategy.
Malte Rehbein studied History and Mathematics at the University of Göttingen. After obtaining his Magister degree, he worked as a software developer, project manager and management consultant at various industrial companies for a number years. In 2009, he earned his doctorate in Medieval History under Professor Wolfgang Petke at the University of Göttingen. In addition to carrying out a number of research projects and working as a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the National University of Ireland in Galway and at the University of Victoria in British Columbia (Canada), Malte Rehbein was instrumental in setting up the Zentrum für Digitale Edition at the University of Würzburg, where he helped establish the degree course in Digital Humanities. He most recently held the position of Professor of History and Faculty Fellow of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA), is a founding member of the Fachverband Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum (DHd) association and sits on the executive board of the international web-based community Digital Medievalist.
As a discipline, Digital Humanities examines how IT-based procedures and tools are designed, developed and used in the humanities. Specifically, Digital Humanities is concerned with digitising our cultural heritage, which exists in the form of texts, images and objects, so as to subsequently model and analyse this data and develop the digital infrastructure required for humanities research.
The Chair straddles the cultural disciplines and computer science, as well as other IT-related disciplines, thereby contributing to a pooling of knowledge from these academic subjects and leveraging the power of information technology. Designed as a two-way system to benefit both the humanities and computer science, the Chair makes use of the potential of computer-based methods for cultural studies, while generating impulses for computer science from the field of humanities. The interdisciplinary nature of the Chair is in line with the University's focus on "Science for a Networked Society", which puts the spotlight on technology use by the state, economy, society, culture and education, and the resulting effects, analysing them from a variety of academic perspectives.
Within the University, the Chair will cooperate with the various cultural disciplines, the University's institutions and additional activities within the remit of Technik Plus. The Chair also sees itself as a partner and advisor in digital projects with institutions involved in cultural preservation, for instance archives and museums. Moreover, the Chair will also establish itself on the international scene as a competent partner for combined projects in the domain of e-Humanities.
The Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Professor Rüdiger Harnisch, is confident that "humanities and information technology will both benefit greatly under the auspices of Technik Plus", adding: "If we succeed in jointly studying the effects of new technologies on people and society, this will sharpen the University's unique profile."