After completion of this course, students will be able to:
- discuss key current epistemological and methodological debates in the Humanities and position themselves in these debates in an interdisciplinary context, both orally and in writing;
- identify methodological assumptions and rationales underpinning research design and critically reflect on them;
- persuasively articulate methodologically sound reasons for selecting particular methodologies;
- use the English academic language skills (written and oral) that are needed to participate in academic debates in the field of the Humanities.
Scholars in the Humanities are increasingly asked to articulate the rationale behind their research methods, not only because the ever-expanding nature of their subject has yielded a plethora of approaches, but also because the audiences they write for and present to are interdisciplinary. Methodology, the study of methods, is therefore of paramount importance: critical reflection on the underlying principles of any research project is integral to good research practice. The present course introduces students to a variety of methodological debates and discusses these from an interdisciplinary perspective. It invites students to inquire into the ways in which certain assumptions can inform research design, to evaluate the pros and cons of different data collection strategies, to reflect on their own research practice, and to develop their own theory of method. The course consists of a series of short (guest) lectures followed by discussion and debate on topics ranging from interdisciplinarity and (‘strong’) objectivity to the material and the bodily turn, new formalism, digital humanities, and mixed methods. It intends to provide students with the ability to position their research within various contemporary paradigms and methodological approaches and to stimulate them to explore the relevance of specific approaches for their own research projects.