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Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia

Upcoming DH Elective Courses

Fall 2018




Sustainable Local Economies

PLAN 3500/5500

Suzanne Moomaw

Urban and Environmental Planning

The Making of Sacred Spaces

Foteini Kondyli


This course explores the nature of sacred spaces and processes involved in their construction. While our case studies are primarily from the Mediterranean, we take a cross-cultural perspective to better appreciate how sacred spaces reflect both universal and culturally-specific characteristics. We focus on the study of sacred geography and the role of monumentality, performance and memory to explore how sacred spaces were conceptualized and experienced by different social groups. Students will complete digital projects, including digital mapping and 3D modeling and printing applications

Digital Caribbean Studies

Marlene Daut

Carter G Woodson/ American Studies

Increasingly, we access, share, and create information in digital forms, and this has been referred to as a digital revolution. But how does — or how should — this revolution in the way we teach, learn, and conduct research also change the way we do scholarly work in the classroom? The digital humanities investigates how new media and digital tools are changing the way we produce knowledge in the humanities, by enabling us to share not only information, but sound, visualizations, and even performances using new platforms. This class will provide an introduction to some of these formats and tools, along with immediate critical reflection and discussion about their value to the academy. Since information technology has become one of the key ways in which the peoples of the Caribbean and its diasporas both communicate with one another and gain access to global conversations, alongside this exploration of digital tools, in general, this class will likewise study how the internet can help people in marginalized spaces to engage with crucial social problems and to express their political ideals and aspirations. As the creators of the Digital Caribbean website have attested, “the Internet is analogous in important ways to the Caribbean itself as dynamic and fluid cultural space: it is generated from disparate places and by disparate peoples; it challenges fundamentally the geographical and physical barriers that disrupt or disallow connection; and it places others in relentless relation.” This class will therefore both introduce students to the digital humanities and to the Caribbean as an apt space for exploring the potential of the internet to confront and disrupt many of the more traditional structures of dominance that have traditionally silenced marginalized voices.

Exploratory Text Analytics

DS 5000

Should appear in SIS by May 18

Rafael Alvarado

Data Science

Exploratory text analytics concerns the application of computational and statistical methods to the interpretation of large collections of digitized written documents. The field is motivated by the research of scholars from the humanities and human sciences interested in understanding the semantic, cultural, and social dimensions of texts from historical and contemporary sources, such as novels, newspapers, and social media. The course comprises three main sections: (1) an overview of text interpretation theory combined with information theory to introduce the domain knowledge required for making inferences in this area; (2) a hands-on introduction to methods for converting unstructured textual content into both graph and vector-space representations; and (3) the application and discussion of algorithms from natural language processing and text mining approaches, including term frequency measures, topic models, and sentiment analyses, to address the classic problems of text classification and clustering as well as new areas, such as social event detection, computational narratology, and data-driven approaches to structuralist poetics. There are no hard prerequisites for the course, but students should be comfortable with combining qualitative and quantitative approaches, have some experience programming in Python, and be familiar with basic statistics and probability theory.


Hacking for Humanists

Brad Pasanek


This is a course for English majors (and other students) that introduces the basics of computer programming, text analysis, text encoding, and statistics as experimental methodologies that promote new kinds of reading and interpretation.  The aim is to move from “computation into criticism.”  We’ll work, primarily, with a Shakespeare play, poetry by William Blake, and a Jane Austen novel.  Students will find these works at the bookstore alongside manuals on Text analysis in R. NO prior familiarity with coding required; indeed, advanced computer science majors are discouraged from applying, as they will likely find the professor’s halting and lame way with the algorithmic course content comic at best.  The term ‘hacking”, the humanist will note, has to apposite senses at least.

(This description is from Fall 2017; it may be updated for Fall 2018)

Colonial British America

HIUS 7031

S. Max Edelson


This colloquium offers an introduction to themes, regions, and debates in the history of colonial and Revolutionary America. It will focus on colonization, development, and cultural encounter in early North America, West Indies, and the Atlantic World in the early modern period, ca. 1600-1800, from a variety of historical approaches. The instructor is open to digital projects, especially those that focus on geospatial visualization.

A Critical Approach to Digital Humanities

ARH 5500

Lisa Reilly

Architectural History