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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:

This graduate seminar provides an introduction to the various theories and methods used by digital humanists to study culture. We’ll examine and critique recent computational approaches alongside the interpretative (hermeneutical) approaches found within cultural and literary studies. Throughout the term, we will give particular attention to subfields or areas of the digital humanities including critical code studies, game studies, machine learning, and text mining. Two short essays will enable you to 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, David M. Berry, Laura Mandell, Matthew L. Jockers, Lev Manovich, and Lisa Gitelman.

Original Instructor: James Dobson
Taught at Dartmouth College in Fall 2017
discipline: Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
conceptual difficulty: 4 technical difficulty: 4
Course Summary:

Key Questions:

• What happens to history as it gets digitized?
• That is, what does history look like, what happens to our materials, and the stories we tell or the questions we ask, as we abstract further and further away from ‘In Real Life’?
• What does ‘digital history’ really mean?

How will we explore these questions? You will choose a real world object/building/site here in Ottawa that you can access and:

• progressively abstract it away from the real world with a series of technologies from photogrammetry to augmented reality 
• all the while attending lectures to learn the context of what we’re doing and why,
• annotating the readings collaboratively on the open web
• as you keep open notebooks reflecting on this progression
• so that you can build a digital experience of your understanding of your results
• for a public reveal to be held on campus at the end of term.

Original Instructor: Shawn Graham
Taught at Carleton University in Spring 2018
discipline: History
conceptual difficulty: 4 technical difficulty: 4
Course Summary:

The sources for the history of our times are fragile. Joe Ricketts, the billionaire owner of DNAInfo and Gothamist, shut the local news publications down rather than tolerate a unionized workforce. For 11 minutes, Trump was kicked off Twitter. Ian Bogost sees in both episodes a symptom of a deeper problem: both are pulling on the same brittle levers that have made the contemporary social, economic, and political environment so lawless. As public historians, what are we to do about this? There are a lot of issues highlighted here, but let’s start at the most basic. It takes nothing to delete the record. The fragility of materials online is both a danger, and an opportunity, for us. Some scholars have “gone rogue” in trying to deal with this problem. That is to say, they neither sought nor obtained permission. They just scoped out a process, and did it. I initially called this class ‘guerrilla public digital history’ partly tongue in cheek. I imagined us doing some augmented reality type projects in public spaces. Reprogramming those public spaces. Using digital techs to surface hidden histories, and insert them into spaces where they didn’t ‘belong’. Counterprogramming. That was the ‘guerilla’ bit. I still want to do all that. But I think we’re going to have to do a bit more. Digital Public Historians have a role to play I suspect in countering the information power asymmetry. These ways are impromptu, without authorization. Rogue. Improvised. What is a ‘guerilla digital public history’? I don’t know. But we’re going to find out.

Original Instructor: Shawn Graham
Taught at Carleton University in Spring 2018
discipline: History
conceptual difficulty: 1 technical difficulty: 3
Course Summary:

This course will consist of five modules with a combination of video, written materials, tutorials, and assigned readings. Modules each cover approximately three weeks of the semester, and end with either an online exam or a creative project. Each module will open on its scheduled date, and will include at least one video lecture recorded in advance. Remember that while this course is online, it is not self-paced: discussion topics open every week and are due at the end of the week, and the three scheduled exams and projects are due as listed in this syllabus and will not be accepted late. The syllabus will be reviewed in detail as part of the first lecture, but students are also encouraged to read through these materials carefully and ask for clarifications if necessary.

Original Instructor: Anastasia Salter
Taught at University of Central Florida in Fall 2016
discipline: English
conceptual difficulty: 1 technical difficulty: 2
Course Summary:

We will examine how theoretical discourse has evolved through shifting technological platforms, with particular attention to the challenges software, code, and networks present to our understanding of texts. We will engage with examples of complex procedural works ranging from video games to electronic literature and social media. Each of these new platforms challenges our understanding of knowledge and how knowledge is circulated, curated, and redefined in a web-centric culture. Throughout the course, students will engage with current book-length scholarship on a variety of digital media subjects using a range of methodologies. Students will develop their skills at framing long-form scholarly objects in preparation for their dissertation projects, while engaging in several projects to prepare for qualifying exams and digital scholarship.

Original Instructor: Anastasia Salter
Taught at University of Central Florida in Spring 2017
discipline: English
conceptual difficulty: 3 technical difficulty: 3
Course Summary:

This course covers a wide range of current and emerging digital projects and topics in East Asian studies. Students will engage with digital projects focused on East Asia (encompassing Japanese, Chinese, and Korean languages) as well as research being done on digital methodologies for the humanities in those areas. Coursework consists of project and research analysis, active discussion, and learning about the implementation of various digital projects. No technical expertise is required but students must have reading knowledge of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean at the high-intermediate or advanced level. Class presentations, papers, discussions, and all course readings are in English, but projects involve reading articles and/or critiquing projects in the language and geographic area of students’ expertise.

Original Instructor: Molly Des Jardin
Taught at University of Pennsylvania in Spring 2018
discipline: East Asian Language and Culture, Digital Humanities
conceptual difficulty: 1 technical difficulty: 2
Course Summary:

In this course you will learn to apply computational methods to create historical arguments. You will learn to work with historical data, including finding, gathering, manipulating, analyzing, visualizing, and arguing from data, with special attention to geospatial, textual, and network data. These methods will be taught primarily through scripting in the R programming language. While historical methods can be applied to many topics and time periods, they cannot be understood separate from how the discipline forms meaningful questions and interpretations, nor divorced from the particularities of the sources and histories of some specific topic. You will therefore work through a series of example problems using datasets from the history of the nineteenth-century U.S. religion, and you will apply these methods to a dataset in your own field of research.

Original Instructor: Lincoln Mullen
Taught at George Mason University in Spring 2018
discipline: History
conceptual difficulty: 3 technical difficulty: 4
Course Summary:

Welcome to a new semester at the University of Nebraska at Omaha! Below is a general outline of what we’ll be trying to achieve over the course of our semester together. If you have questions that you don’t see answered, feel free to email me or stop by my office. You can also chat about anything that comes up in this course. What is digital history and what does it offer the discipline? We will investigate how digital history can enrich the study of historical topics by looking at activities, tools, platforms, and projects. We also will explore the historical underpinnings behind knowledge production on which digital practice depend. We will focus on resources enabling new forms of scholarship, looking at tools for visualization and text analysis for generating historical interpretations, and explore alternative forms of publishing, design, and research. The course covers a range of readings along with a critical engagement with tools and resources that enable new methods for print scholarship and the possibilities of new forms of scholarship. In this directed readings course, you will study the relationship between the discipline of history and computing tools through a combination of theoretical and hands-on activities. You will read and respond weekly to a number of print and digital materials. There are two objectives for this directed readings: to explore the methods of digital history and to develop your analytic skills as a student of the liberal arts. The readings and activities reflect these objectives.

Original Instructor: Jason Heppler
Taught at University of Nebraska Omaha in Spring 2018
discipline: History, Digital Humanities
conceptual difficulty: 3 technical difficulty: 3
Course Summary:

New York has played a crucial role in the history of media, and media have placed a crucial role in the history of New York. New York has been represented by media since Henry Hudson wrote his reports to the Dutch. Media institutions have contributed centrally to its economy and social fabric, while media geographies have shaped the experiences of city living. This course explores media representations, institutions, and geographies across time and is organized around the collaborative production of an online guidebook to the media history of the East Village. Concretely, we will be looking at media as networks with archæologies, sacrificing coverage for the opportunities to get dirty and trace spatiohistories from multiple vantage points. Our media history of New York, then, is an archæology of Downtown (south of 14th Street). We will first look to both the Astor Place Riot of 1849 and the Village Vanguard of the 1950s and 1960s before switching gears for the second half of the course to study the mediascape of the East Village and environs from the 1960s to today. The course culminates with producing a web-based exploration of that mediascape, “Downtown Archæologies,” through artifacts found and studied by students within either the Downtown Collection at the Fales Library or the Loisaida-specific collections at Centro, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

Original Instructor: Moacir P. de sa Pereira
Taught at New York University in Spring 2018
discipline: Media Culture and Communication
conceptual difficulty: 2 technical difficulty: 2
Course Summary:

How does the geography of New York City shape the literature of New York City? Does the literature shape the geography in return? In this course, we aim to understand the spatiotemporality of the Big Apple through novels of the 20th and 21st centuries that recreate and react to it. Not only will we read spatially, however, but we will also create spatially. Students will make maps that launch projects of geographical storytelling as a mode of literary analysis. More concretely, we will build online data repositories and exhibits (using JavaScript and HTML) that synthesize our reading and mapping practices. No previous programming knowledge is needed, but a curiosity and interest in puzzle solving is.

Original Instructor: Moacir P. de sa Pereira
Taught at New York University in Fall 2017
discipline: English
conceptual difficulty: 3 technical difficulty: 3

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