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DH@UVA, U.Va.
Your Portal to the Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia

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Would you like to see how instructors incorporate DH approaches into syllabi for courses taught across the humanistic disciplines?  Here you can search our exhaustive catalog of publicly available syllabi, pinpoint useful assignments, and identify tools and technologies to implement in your classroom.

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Course Summary:

The purpose of this graduate seminar is to introduce students to the key concepts, methods, theories, and emerging practices in the "Digital Humanities." The seminar will provide a historical overview of the field from its beginnings in the post-World War II era to the present, highlighting the major intellectual problems, disciplinary paradigms, and institutional challenges that are posed by Digital Humanities. While we will proceed from a trans-disciplinary perspective and focus on the transformation of disciplines such as literature, history, geography, archaeology, among others, the seminar will ultimately consider "Digital Humanities" as a group of "knowledge problems" that affect what we know, how we know, and what we consider to be knowledge. We will examine the major epistemological, methodological, technological, and institutional challenges posed by the Digital Humanities through a number of specific projects that address fundamental problems in creating, interpreting, preserving, and transmitting the human cultural record. At the same time, we will examine how digital technologies and tools—ranging from mark-up languages and map visualizations to database structures and interface design—are themselves arguments that make certain assumptions about, and even transform, our objects of study. This is not a course in studying new media or the impact of digital technology on culture per se, but rather is focused on those areas where the Humanities intersect with digital tools for analysis and interpretation, and how we can bridge the gap between the traditions of critical theory and the practice-based approaches of the Digital Humanities.

Original Instructor: Todd Presner
Taught at UCLA in winter 2012
conceptual difficulty: 2 technical difficulty: 3
Course Summary:

The goals of this course are to:

● explore a broad spectrum of perspectives on the digital humanities
● engage with a variety of digital humanities tools in order to choose the most appropriate technology to facilitate different work in different situations
● develop familiarity with a range of digital humanities projects, as well as the ability to evaluate the tools and methods involved in creating those projects
● become more thoughtful, critical, and reflective users of digital tools, technologies, and spaces by understanding that all technologies are complex, socially situated, and political tools through which humans make meaning

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

● identify resources for digital humanities community and assistance at MSU and beyond
● critically discuss digital humanities projects in light of current methods and theoretical approaches to the field
● explain how digital humanities methods and practices are applied in different disciplines
● plan, develop, and evaluate a digital humanities research project

Original Instructor: Kristen Mapes
Taught at Michigan State University in Fall 2018
conceptual difficulty: 4 technical difficulty: 4
Course Summary:

In many ways, the humanities are already digital: whether you’re working on The Odyssey or Only Revolutions, most of us do our research, writing, and sometimes reading at a computer. In these situations, the computer replaces the index, the pen, and the printed book. In a sense, then, the computer has simply sped up processes with which humanists were already familiar. But what might we gain if we begin to use the computer to do something that only it can do? How would it change our understanding of a novel if we laid it out in geographical space? What would it mean to look at every frame of a film at once? What could we discover if we read everything a prolific author wrote, in just two weeks? And what would we learn if we turned the tables and decided to look at digital objects the same way we typically look at novels or films? In this course, we will consider these questions as we explore the field of digital humanities (DH). Through readings and various projects, we will familiarize ourselves with the concepts, tools, and debates of and within DH.

Original Instructor: Brian Croxall
Taught at BYU in Fall 2018
conceptual difficulty: 4 technical difficulty: 4
Course Summary:

Introduction to the theoretical and practical aspects of the Digital Humanities, including the historical and ongoing debates over its boundaries, methodologies, objectives and values.

Original Instructor: Shawn Graham
Taught at Carleton University in Fall 2017
conceptual difficulty: 4 technical difficulty: 4
Course Summary:

This course provides students with an introduction to the digital humanities. It builds a firm foundation of technical skills and introduces students to the basic questions in the field. Although we will engage with theoretical work on the digital humanities and read secondary materials, this is primarily a methods course. While a basic familiarity with computers is recommended, students will not need to have any prior programming or command line experience. All of the tools used in this course are open-source or freely available on the internet. We will be using Anaconda (a scientific computing distribution of the Python programming language), Processing, and other open source software. In this course, students will learn to identify and acquire useful materials, program ad-hoc tools, and use digital analytical techniques where appropriate. The course will culminate in a 2,000 to 3,000 word research paper and a short ten-minute presentation. This paper must contain at least two figures. Alternatively, students can develop an online project (with a similar amount of content) in consultation with me. Students should meet with me by October 31st to discuss ideas for final papers/projects. Course materials will be distributed through GitHub and Blackboard. Over the course of the semester, I will provide students with assignments that will help guide you through the important concepts. Each assignment will require the student to write a short program that implements techniques from previous sessions and an essay describing the program and its purpose. Students should complete the assignment on her/his/their own. You are encouraged to search the internet for help in finishing the assignments. If you find a solution to the problem somewhere online, you can use it but post the source and explain in detail why the solution works.

Original Instructor: Paul Vierthaler
Taught at in Fall 2018
Course Summary:

“Reading Machines” will pivot around the double valence of its title, outlining a literary history of new media from the hand-press period to the present. Our approach will draw on scholarship in book history, bibliography, media studies, and digital humanities, an intersection described by N. Katherine Hayles and Jessica Pressman as “comparative textual media.”

We will take this comparative, interdisciplinary approach first to better understand machines of reading (e.g. the printed book, the internet) as material, historical, and cultural objects. We will examine how practices of reading, writing, and publishing have interacted—thematically and materially—with contemporaneous technological innovations over the past 250 years. We will complement our readings with praxis, gaining hands-on experience with textual technologies from letterpress (using the English Department’s new letterpress studio) to computer programming, as well as direct experience with archival materials in special collections around Boston. Together, weekly “book labs” and course discussions will help us consider relationships among modes of textual production, reception, and interpretation: including in our purview both “intellectual work,” such as writing, and “manual labor,” such as typesetting.

Through our discussions, we will unpack the second valence of the course title, developing greater capacities to critically read machines, analyzing the political, cultural, and social forces that shape—and are shaped by—textual technologies. We will raise urgent questions around privacy, algorithmic bias, intellectual property, information overload, and textual authority, asking how a rich new media history might inform our technological present and contribute to a richer construction of the digital humanities field. This course will include a substantial introduction to programming in the R language, but presumes no prior technological expertise.

Original Instructor: Ryan Cordell
Taught at Northeastern University in Spring 2019
discipline: English
Course Summary:

Data and data-empowered algorithms now shape our professional, personal, and political realities. This course introduces students both to critical thinking and practice in understanding how we got here, and the future we now are building together as scholars, scientists, and citizens.

The intellectual content of the class will comprise

  • the history of human use of data;

  • functional literacy in how data are used to reveal insight and support decisions;

  • critical literacy in investigating how data and data-powered algorithms shape, constrain, and manipulate our commercial, civic, and personal transactions and experiences; and

  • rhetorical literacy in how exploration and analysis of data have become part of our logic and rhetoric of communication and persuasion, especially including visual rhetoric.

While introducing students to recent trends in the computational exploration of data, the course will survey the key concepts of "small data" statistics.

Original Instructor: Matthew Jones, Original Instructor: Chris Wiggins
Taught at Columbia University in Spring 2020
Course Summary:
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30pm - 1:45pm .    
 
In order to sign up for this class email rca2t@virginia.edu and rcm7e@virginia.edu for instructions.
 
Description: Introduction to text analytics with a focus on long-form documents, such as reviews, news articles, and novels. Students convert source texts into structure-preserving analytical form and then apply information theory, NLP tools, and vector-based methods to explore language models, topic models, sentiment analyses, and narrative structures. The focus is on unsupervised methods to explore cognitive and social patterns in texts.
 
Students are expected to know Python and probability theory, and understand vectors and matrices from linear algebra.
Original Instructor: Rafael Alvarado
Taught at University of Virginia in Spring 2020
discipline: Data Science
Course Summary:

Fridays 1:00-3:30p.m. in CAM 108.

This digital humanities seminar combines archival research and close reading of texts with data visualization to explore new insights into two significant designed landscapes, Park Muskau, Germany and Central Park, New York.  We focus on how concurrent developments in technology and science, changing social practices as well as territorial networks of material and information exchange impacted the form and experience of these 19th century landscapes.

This seminar fulfills the UVA digital humanities certificate elective as well as landscape architecture elective. Open to students in the all schools of the university.

Original Instructor: Michael Lee, Original Instructor: Elizabeth K. Meyer
Taught at University of Virginia in Spring 2020
discipline: Digital Humanities, Landscape Architecture
Course Summary:

This course introduces students to the concepts and tools needed to conduct digital research in English. During the semester, we’ll discuss how the broader field of the Digital humanities (DH) is defined, why humanists are using digital tools to do their research, how the new methods compare with older methods of humanities scholarship, and what are their strengths and weaknesses. This course gives you a chance to explore these new methods. We begin with a focus on the basic theoretical and technological issues involved in creating and analyzing digital texts, before moving on to a series of hands-on exercises in analyzing words and interrogating the results. By the end of the semester, students will understand the history, theory, and technology of digital textual analysis and produce a 15-page paper applying these new methods to material relevant to their own interests or analyzing examples of digital-based criticism. The field of DH values collaborative work far more than most other forms of scholarship in the humanities. This is because every DH project involves a collection of many discrete skills, far more than any one person can generally master. In this course, students will be encouraged to work collaboratively where possible. Part of the course will be devoted to discussing the nature of collaborative work and how it differs from “group work,” so that students learn how to work together in productive and positive relationships. Students should be comfortable using a computer and moving around in the file system. No knowledge of computer programming is needed. If you own a laptop, please bring it to class. If you do not, we’ll have laptops available for you to work through the in-class exercises.

Original Instructor: Peter Logan
Taught at Temple University in Spring 2016
discipline: English, Digital Humanities
conceptual difficulty: 3 technical difficulty: 4

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