Faculty Mentor

Dr. Clayton McCarl, Associate Professor

Faculty Mentor Department

Languages, Literatures and Cultures


While digital humanists have often discussed how digital editing develops students’ abilities to read closely and analyze sources, historians adjacent to the discipline have underexamined the benefits of the practice on their own students. This article seeks to provide a perspective supporting the existence of such benefits for history students. It examines an application of ideas regarding the use of digital documentary editing to train students as historians. Using my own experience as a student editor and historian, I argue that digital editing especially facilitates close reading which, in turn, enables highly specified primary source analysis. To accomplish this, I reflect on creating an edition and exhibit on a twentieth-century letter relevant to local history for a digital editing course in the summer of 2020, outlining how the experience developed the skills of both disciplines. My project demonstrates the intersection of digital humanities and public history, a space where even undergraduates can effectively be engaged.