Navigation

Search DH@UVA

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

Search for Helpful Syllabus Models

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.

Use these boxes to sort:

Textual

Image-Based

Geospatial

DH Theory & History

Immersive

Sound-Based

Structured Data

Public Archives

Course Summary:

English 3386 equips students for critical encounters with the texts, images, sounds, and situations that constitute American life, politics, history, and culture. This section is organized around the theme of “Versioning Digital Humanities.” Many texts go through various “versions” as they are revised for republications, corrected for new editions, altered to suit audience responses, and so forth. To respond to the plural states of such texts, readers may draw on various tools, including digitizing, collating, versioning, and visualizing texts individually and in combination. Through a series of essays and formal assignments, students will also improve their understanding of persuasive and correct communication while acquiring the digital humanities skill sets that assist in responding to texts in multiple witnesses.

Original Instructor: James Gifford
Taught at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Fall 2015
discipline: English
conceptual difficulty: 2 technical difficulty: 2
Course Summary:

This mid-level core course offers a survey of canonical Victorian literature through the lens of Victorian information theories and knowledge organization practices. Reading texts like Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh, Alfred Tennyson’s In Memoriam A.H.H., Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, John Henry Newman’s The Idea of the University, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, we will investigate the relation between information, knowledge, and literature: how did Victorians imagine literature as information? And how do new literary-critical methods of interpretation draw on the idea of literature as information to test old readings and invent new ones? Calibrating the distance between various Victorians’ ideas about information and our own, we will read Tennyson’s In Memoriam A.H.H. alongside Lewis Carroll’s index for that famous poem before creating our own indexes to it, study John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty” by comparing it to his complete works using topic models, and interpret Darwin’s The Origin of Species alongside three different visualizations of that work’s seven major revised editions and our own experience with textual version control. Throughout, we will focus on developing techniques for close, middle-distance, and distant reading, with an emphasis on exploring digital tools for finding, organizing, counting, curating, decomposing, rereading, and remaking literary texts.

 

Original Instructor: Rachel Sagner Buurma
Taught at Swarthmore College in Spring 2014
discipline: English
conceptual difficulty: 2 technical difficulty: 2
Course Summary:

If you are a Facebook user, you know what it means to “friend” someone. But how old is this practice? Some might say a decade, and they would be technically correct since Facebook didn't exist until 2004. But the practice of establishing – what some might call superficial – friendships through written correspondence has a long history that extends beyond the surviving material record. Yet, we do have an abundance of evidence about the history of “friending” preserved in manuscript archives throughout the world, which maintain collections of earlier modes of epistolary exchange, or what we now call “social networking.” While such letter writing stretches back into antiquity, the form and function of such correspondence experienced a revolution in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Italy, when medieval teachers began instructing their students in the rhetorical forms of written persuasion called the artes dictaminis. These treatises, the first of their kind in the western world, survive in manuscripts and early printed books that not only explain the art of establishing social networks through letter writing, but also include marginal glosses written by later readers, which indicate how the practice was evolving over time. Additionally, these manuals were often accompanied by the works of the ancient Roman rhetorician Marcus Tullius Cicero, whose theories about speaking were adapted for written communication throughout the Middle Ages and well into the Renaissance. In particular, the prevalence of his treatise On Friendship indicates that establishing friendships and letter writing were increasingly considered to be complementary activities. The archival record 2 demonstrates that letter writers were actively “friending” each other to establish social networks beyond the scriptorium. This course will examine the literary, cultural, and material life of written correspondence from the poetic epistle to the snarky tweet. And while we will be reading and analyzing epistolary literature (both fiction and nonfiction) such as Ovid’s Heroides, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Alice Walker’s A Color Purple, we will focus our efforts on “real” letters of writers that are held in the Rare Books Room of the Boston Public Library. The BPL is a treasure trove of such correspondence, ranging from the stately epistles of Queen Elizabeth to the cryptic scribblings of Emily Dickinson. Much of the course will be devoted to handling, describing, and transcribing these fragile texts, all the while characterizing the place of letter writing within the history of the book. As we examine this life of letters, we will consider the rhetorical principles that shape authors and audience over time, as well as their implications for our understanding of the past, present, and future of epistolary friendship. Drawing on the innovative methods of the digital humanities, we will contextualize our archival research within read-write platforms, such as blogs, wikis, Facebook status updates, and Twitter feeds, in order to identify the shifting character and global significance of written correspondence today.

Original Instructor: Alex Mueller
Taught at University of Maryland Baltimore in Spring 2014
discipline: English
conceptual difficulty: 1 technical difficulty: 2
Course Summary:

In FMS 321 we will study the cultural significance of videogames from a number of critical perspectives. As products of a complicated network of social, economic, and technological forces, videogames are dense objects, deeply layered with multiple meanings and hidden histories. Whether we consider early arcade games like Pac-Man or the latest blockbusters like No Man’s Sky, we find that videogames reveal much about our cultural values, hopes and anxieties, and assumptions about the world. We will examine a range of games this semester as we strive to understand both their narrative and formal aspects. At the same time we will map connections between videogames and their broader social contexts—how games are designed and manufactured, who plays them and where, and in what ways videogames can be more than entertainment.

Original Instructor: Mark Sample
Taught at Davidson College in Fall 2016
discipline: Film and Media Studies
conceptual difficulty: 1 technical difficulty: 2
Course Summary:

This class, Digital Literary Studies, examines four elements of the field.

• Close reading, “deformance,” and remix.
• Distant & Surface Reading: computers allow us to view the “surface” patterns of texts from the “distance” of large data sets rather than “close,” isolated passages.
• Archives and Databases: digital literary studies began with digital scholarly editions, which eventually became “unbound” from the book and were built as author- and theme-specific databases. We’ll study several, and contribute to some. We’ll learn how to “clean” data and do basic data visualizations.
• Cultural Studies: how search and metadata allow incredible facility in accessing information, but also can flatten lived human experience and render important details invisible. We’ll examine archives in the context of critical race theory and gender.

This course is both hands-on and theoretical. Student will write essays, build remix and collage, clean data, visualize data and aim to detect patterns. No prior knowledge of particular software is necessary. The course’s technical lessons adapt to the needs and prior experience of learners in the class. No pre-requisites are necessary.

Original Instructor: Kathy Berens
Taught at Portland State University in Fall 2016
discipline: English
conceptual difficulty: 3 technical difficulty: 3
Course Summary:

“With the migration of cultural materials into networked environments, questions regarding the production, availability, validity, and stewardship of these materials present new challenges and opportunities for humanists” (Burdick 4). It is these new challenges and opportunities that ENGL615 seeks to investigate. Co-taught by a Special Collections Librarian and a faculty member in the English department, this course provides broad training and professional development in curating, archiving, exhibiting, critiquing, and publishing materials across a range of media. The course interrogates the practices associated with the digital humanities as it also probes the intersections of library science and English studies. The course is meant to help graduate students in English broaden their career options, as they consider what is at stake in processes of information creation. This course takes the view that digital humanities is a set of skills and ways of thinking that can prepare you for a range of career opportunities within and beyond the university. The course covers the histories, methodologies, tools, and debates of digital humanities. While no technical background is required as a prerequisite for the course, this course is as technologically intensive as it is writing and reading intensive. That is, the use of technology will be a key aspect of your learning experience in this course. This is apt given that our focus will be on how writers and readers are increasingly reliant on digital tools, and the media we use to share and create information is changing. You can expect this course to equip you with practical tools for theorizing and participating in these processes of information creation, management, and design.

Original Instructor: Janelle Adsit, Original Instructor: Carly Marino
Taught at Humboldt State University in Fall 2017
discipline: English
conceptual difficulty: 3 technical difficulty: 4
Course Summary:

In this class you will learn about the ways that digital technologies are changing the making and study of literature. The main goal, however, is to become a producer of creative digital materials. You will develop multiple projects with the aim of generating new knowledge about literary texts and of producing your own digital creative works. You will also develop your skills in collaboration, managing online content delivery, and computational/multimedia composing. And you will explore your own imagination, taking risks and experimenting with what it means to develop and study creative works in the twenty-first century.

Original Instructor: Daniel Anderson
discipline: English, Digital Humanities
conceptual difficulty: 4 technical difficulty: 4
Course Summary:

Popular media often portray “big data” as the exclusive province of information scientists, but data collection in the humanities can swiftly exceed the capacity of the human brain to analyze. Increasingly, humanists turn to digital tools to conduct quantitative research on literary texts, websites, tweets, images and sound recordings. How does one create or reuse a humanities data set? What tools are used to store, manipulate and process that data? How does one begin to analyze humanities research data and share findings in the form of visualizations? This course will explore some methodologies of quantitative analysis in the humanities using free and open source digital tools to yield insights into data that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. Through lectures, discussion, labs, and a digital final project, students will familiarize themselves with the tools of digital humanities scholarship and learn to form arguments on the basis of a few simple computational techniques.

Original Instructor: Francesca Gianetti
Taught at Rutgers University in Spring 2017
discipline: Digital Humanities
conceptual difficulty: 3 technical difficulty: 4
Course Summary:

Is the divide between human and machine becoming harder to maintain? From the Golem of folk tales to Frankenstein and even Siri, the concept of the semi-artificial person, or cyborg, is long-lived, appearing across popular, religious, and scientific imaginations. As technology becomes more personal, the cyborg becomes less alien, and the prospect of our own transformation into technologically enhanced organisms seems imminent. In this course we will investigate posthumanism through a critical look at cybernetics in our culture, examining representations in media such as literature, film, television, advertising, video games, and comics. Students will research the current state of modern medical and robotics science and use this to inform their readings of the cyborg in our society. Critiques will be framed through the lens of gender, race, and labor using the theory of scholars Katherine Hayles, Donna Haraway, and Lennard Davis. The class will engage in multimodal research projects on a WordPress blog that focus on building written and visual rhetorical skills. Readings will include fiction such as Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), which will be paired with films such as The Stepford Wives and shows such as “Black Mirror.”

Original Instructor: Amanda Licastro
Taught at Stevenson University in Fall 2017
discipline: English
conceptual difficulty: 1 technical difficulty: 2
Course Summary:

This graduate seminar provides an overview of the various theories and methods used by digital humanists to study American culture. It is our institutions first methods survey course for digital humanities and thus we will all be participating in a bit of an experiment. The course takes up the question of “where is ’America’ in cultural studies” by examining the degree to which the nation still matters in the digital humanities. Recent approaches will be studied alongside traditional methods of humanistic inquiry. We will give particular attention to critical code studies, game studies, and machine learning approaches to distant reading. Two short essays will interrogate oppositional positions within the field of digital cultural studies. Final projects will approach an object of American culture through digital methods or produce a reading of a digital object. Course readings include (among others): Alan Liu, N. Katherine Hayles, Matthew L. Jockers, Lev Manovich, and Lisa Gitelman.

Original Instructor: James Dobson
Taught at Dartmouth College in Fall 2016
discipline: Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
conceptual difficulty: 3 technical difficulty: 3

Pages