Digital Humanities

*** IDST 2XX—Introduction to Digital Humanities (xxxxx) ***

Course Description and Policies, Fall Semester 2015 


Professor: Trevor L. Hoag, Ph.D. 

Class Time: XX xx:xx – xx:xx (xx:xx XM – xx:xx XM) 

Meeting Place: XXX Hall (XXX), #xxx 


Course Website:

Office: McMurran Hall (MCM), #213 

Office Hours: XXX


Textbooks and Required Materials: 

A Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth.

Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. Available Free Online:


Course Description 

The emerging interdisciplinary field of Digital Humanities has generated much excitement throughout the scholarly world and beyond. However, what texts, practices, and aims the field is constituted by remain matters of contention. Are the Digital Humanities any humanities work performed via technology? Is the term meaningful? Does “the digital” perhaps even signal “the end” of the humanities?

With such questions in mind, we will thus begin this course by asking “What ‘is’ Digital Humanities,” or “What does it do?,” so as to orient ourselves to on-going debates about how the spheres of the digital and the humanities intersect. We will likewise investigate how the emergence of digital technologies and practices are transforming what it means to be human. After looking at specific ways in which the digital has manifested itself in multiple fields of the humanities, we will then set our sights on some more general questions such as how digital practices have affected libraries and other institutions, whether digital culture represents a threat to print culture, and how digital methodologies such as data-mining have shifted what it means to be a humanities student or scholar. Finally, we will conclude the course by investigating the “dark side” of the digital, considering whether over-reliance on technology has negatively impacted human life. For instance, does the digital hinder or enhance our intellectual capacities and emotional relationships? Has the digital made life so “public” and “visible” as to practically eliminate privacy? Does the sophistication of language suffer from practices like texting or social media messaging? And do “open source” technologies that challenge copyright change human life in a beneficial or detrimental manner?

Beyond the above theoretical concerns, students in this course will also become familiar with numerous existing digital humanities projects, learn how to implement dozens of digital applications (especially in scholarly contexts), and present their findings to others both in the form of online media and in scholarly contexts.


Coursework and Grading:


The Learning Record Online (LRO):

Observations – 10%

Reflections – 10% (A= 2%, B= 4%, C= 4%)


Project #1: “How Will You Share?” – 10% (Write-Up=5%, Artifact=5%)


Project #2: “Mapping the Digital Landscape” – 20% (Write-Up=10%, Artifact=10%)


Project #3: “Analyzing and Visualizing Texts” – 20% (Write-Up=10%, Artifact=10%)


Project #4: “Advocating the Digital Humanities” – 20% (Write-Up=10%, Artifact=10%)


Final Presentation – 10%


Major Assignments:

In this course, you will tackle the above assignments. The “container” for these assignments will be The Learning Record Online (LRO), a wiki system that allows students to observe and record their learning as it occurs. This system also allows other students as well as the professor to view student work. Every week, students are required to make observations on what they’re learning about digital humanities either from the readings/videos themselves or something that one observes in “everyday life.” These observations will serve as starting points for in-class discussion; thus, they are important! At three points during the semester, students will be required to write a reflection on how their positions (viz. digital humanities) are changing and why. These reflections will take the place of a writing assignment.

Students will do four main projects over the course of the semester. The first involves making social media/blogging sites through which students will share their projects with the world, and on which they will invite discussion of the “nature” of digital humanities. The second project involves researching existing digital humanities projects (or “cases”) and then using digital technology to “map” a small sub-section of a field of interest. (For instance, how do literature scholars employ digital technologies?) Next, students will choose one of the “cases” that they initially mapped upon which to perform a digital analysis/visualization, for example, scanning a digitized Walt Whitman poem with Lexipedia or Inform7. Lastly, students will make an infographic, memes, and/or short video advocating for a digital humanities “case” of their choosing, presumably in the sub-field that they mapped. (Note: All media artifacts must be accompanied by a one page write-up that explains the artifact itself by referencing/discussing course readings.)

Students will conclude the course by giving a presentation over the material in their central projects. During this presentation, students are required to use digital media technology, but don’t despair, many useful technologies will be presented and discussed over the course of the semester. The professor does not foresee giving quizzes over the readings unless it is abundantly clear that no one is doing the course reading and/or contributing their observations to in-class discussion.


Letter Grades: 

A:        100 — 93%                  B-:       82 — 80%                    F: 69% and below

A-:       92 — 90%                    C+:      79 — 77%                    No Ds!

B+:      89 — 87%                    C:        76 — 73%                    No Incompletes!

B:        86 — 83%                    C-:       72 — 70%                    No Excuses!


Important Course Statements 

Assignments: All assignments are due for LRO posting at the beginning of class. If you cannot meet a due-date, you need to contact me in advance.  Please note that artifact projects require a completed peer review and will not receive full credit without one.

Participation: Because of the content and small size of this class, participation is invaluable. Please keep up with the readings and prepare LRO observations. Not only is class discussion essential to learning in this course, but we will be bored to tears if no one has read the readings and we have nothing to do but stare at each other (or I am required to pontificate for the entire class)!

Attendance: Attendance is required for this course. Moreover, if you are not in class, you will likely find the material difficult when you attempt to write about it, and you will not receive any in-class technology assistance with useful/required applications. Moreover, attendance and participation are considered when figuring grade “bumps” at the end of the course.

Disabilities: In order for a student to receive an accommodation for a disability, that disability must be on record in the Dean of Students’ Office, 3rd Floor, David Student Union (DSU). If you believe that you have a disability, please contact Dr. Kevin Hughes, Dean of Students (594-7160) to discuss your needs. Dean Hughes will provide you with the necessary documentation to give to your professors.

Students with documented disabilities are required to notify the instructor no later than the first day on which they require an accommodation (the first day of class is recommended), in private, if accommodation is needed. The instructor will provide students with disabilities with all reasonable accommodations, but students are not exempted from fulfilling the normal requirements of the course. Work completed before the student notifies the instructor of his/her disability may be counted toward the final grade at the sole discretion of the instructor.

Success: I want you to succeed in this course and at CNU. I encourage you to come see me during office hours or to schedule an appointment to discuss course content or to answer questions you have. If I become concerned about your course performance, attendance, engagement, or well-being, I will speak with you first. I also may submit a referral through our Captains Care Program. The referral will be received by the Center for Academic Success as well as other departments when appropriate (Counseling Services, Office of Student Engagement). If you are an athlete, the Athletic Academic Support Coordinator will be notified. Someone will contact you to help determine what will help you succeed. Please remember that this is a means for me to support you and help foster your success at CNU.

Academic Support: The Center for Academic Success offers free tutoring assistance for CNU students in several academic areas. Staff in the center offer individual assistance and/or workshops on various study strategies to help you perform your best in your courses. The center also houses the Alice F. Randall Writing Center. Writing consultants can help you at any stage of the writing process, from invention, to development of ideas, to polishing a final draft. The Center is not a proofreading service, but consultants can help you to recognize and find grammar and punctuation errors in your work as well as provide assistance with global tasks. Go as early in the writing process as you can, and go often!

You may drop by the Center for Academic Success to request a tutor, meet with a writing consultant, pick up a schedule of workshops, or make an appointment to talk one-on-one with a University Fellow for Student Success. The Center is located in the Trible Library, second floor, room 240.

*IDST 2xx Course Schedule*

(Week #1—Introducing; The Digital Humanities)


Syllabus and Introductions


Watch: An Undergraduate Report on Digital Humanities:

Optional: Schnapp—Short Guide to the Digital Humanities



Set up Course Wiki in PBWorks/The Learning Record Online:


Discuss: Companion to the Digital Humanities—The History of Humanities Computing



Discuss: Kirschenbaum—“What is Digital Humanities and What’s it doing in English departments?”


Watch: PBS Documentary—Digital Nation (Selections)



(Week #2—Digital Humanities and the Promise of Social Media)



Discuss: Cohen—“What is Digital Humanities?”


Discuss: Kanalley—“Social Media’s Role in Social Change”


Watch: Shirky—“How the Internet will One Day Transform Government”


Watch: “Friending Boo Radley”


Maximizing Facebook (Workshop):



Discuss: Cohen—“Digital Keys for Unlocking the Humanities’ Riches”


Discuss: Campbell—Egypt Unsha@ckled


Bear 71:


Maximizing Twitter (Workshop):



Discuss: Forster—“I’m Chris. Where am I Wrong?” (What is Digital Humanities?)


Watch: Molinari—“Let’s Bridge the Digital Divide”


Maximizing Flickr (Workshop):


Flickr Activism:


Learning Record Part A and Observations Due



(Week #3—What is Digital Humanities? Beats me, but I’m Gonna Blog about it Anyway)



Discuss: Reid—“Digital Humanities: Two Venn Diagrams”


Discuss: Sample—“Digital Humanities is not about Building. It’s about Sharing”


Watch: “The Machine is Us/ing Us”:


Using WordPress (Workshop):



Discuss: Pannapacker—“Stop Calling it Digital Humanities”

Watch: “Information R/evolution”:


Using tumblr. (Workshop):


Using Google Blogspot (Workshop):




Peer Review: “How Will You Share?” (Project Due!)



(Week #4—“Time-lining” Digital Humanities across the Disciplines)



Discuss: Companion— Digital Art History


Watch: Sood—“Building a Museum of Museums on the Web”


Watch “Ancient Wonders Captured in 3-D”:


Aaron Koblin, Digital Artist:



Processing (Artist Collective):


Using Storify (Workshop):




Discuss: Companion—Digital Classics


The Homer Multi-text:


Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:


Watch: Thorp—“Make Data More Human”


Using Timeline (Workshop):


Using Dipity (Workshop):




Discuss: Companion—Digital History


Geographic Systems Help Scholars “See” History:


Michel—“The Mathematics of History”


Using Tiki-Toki (Workshop):




(Week #5—“Mapping” Digital Humanities across the Disciplines)



Discuss: Companion—Digital Linguistics


(Gibagadinamaagoom–Preserving Native American Language):


Watch: Katragadda—“Making Maps to Fight Disaster”


Using Simile Maps (Workshop):


Using Instant Atlas (Workshop):



Discuss: Companion—Digital Literary Studies


Watch: McCandless—“The Beauty of Data Visualization”


Shakespeare and Data Visualization:


E-Literature Explained:


Electronic Literature Collection 1.0; 2.0:;


Using Polymaps (Workshop):


Using Open Layers (Workshop):



Discuss: Companion—Digital Music


Discuss: “Writing with Sound”:


Watch: Levin—“Software as Art”


Watch: Aguera y Arcas—“Augmented Reality Maps”


Using Kartograph (Workshop):


Using CartoDB (Workshop):



(Week #6—Brain-storms, Chainsaws, and Humanitarianism. Whoa…)




Discuss: Companion—Digital Performing Arts


Watch: Meibach—“Art Made of Storms”


Watch: “Algorithms are Thoughts, Chainsaws are Tools” (on live digitally-coded music):


Façade—A One-Act Interactive Play:


Using Freemind (Workshop):



Discuss: Companion—Digital Philosophy and Religious Studies


Watch: Conneally—“Digital Humanitarianism”


Transcribing Bentham:


Jeremy Bentham Transcription Project:


Using Text-2-Mindmap (Workshop):

Using Schematic Mind (Workshop):




Peer Review: “Mapping the Digital Landscape” (Project Due!)



(Week #7—Archive Fever: Libraries, Scholarship, Textual Analysis)



Discuss: Companion—Digital Libraries


Watch: Brewster—“Build a Free Digital Library”


September 11th Digital Archive:


Uncle Tom’s Cabin Archive:


Using d3js (Workshop):




Discuss: Cohen—Digital Historical Archives


Crowd-Sourcing the Civil War:


Time Magazine (Searchable) Archive:


Using Lexipedia (Workshop):



Discuss: Cohen—Preserving Undergraduate Research


Shakespeare by the Numbers:


William Blake Archive:


Using Inform7 (Workshop):



(Week #8—“Visualizing” the Future of the Book)



Discuss: Cohen—A Bookless Campus?


Nightingale’s Playground (Flash Interactive Lit):


Hawthorn “Celestial Railroad” Project:


Using Many Eyes (Workshop):



Discuss: Werner—“Fetishizing Books and Textualizing the Digital”


Hurricane Memories:


3-Dimensional poem:


Using Rap Genius (Workshop):




Discuss: Darnton—“Google and the Future of Books”


Jane Austen Fiction Manuscripts:


Using WordSeer (Workshop):


Learning Record Part B and Observations Due



(Week #9—Running the Data; Learning to Read all Over Again)




Discuss: Companion—Textual Analysis


Digitally Analyzing Victorian Literature:


Conrad Archive:


Using Viewshare (Workshop):




Discuss: Cohen—“Data Mining Large Digital Collections”


Civil War Archive:


Using Voyeur (Workshop):




Discuss: Nunberg—“Counting on Google Books”


Walt Whitman Archive:


Using Tapor (Workshop):



(Week #10—So, it’s the Digital Age. What’s that “Mean?”)



Discuss: Fish—“Mind Your Ps and Bs: Digital Humanities and Interpretation”


Emily Dickinson’s Letters:


Yeats’ Letters Archive:


Using Wordle (Workshop):



Steadman—“Big Data and the Death of the Theorist”


French Revolution Archive:


Way-Back Machine (Net Archives):


Using Wordhoard (Workshop):




Peer Review: “Analyzing and Visualizing Texts” (Project Due!)



(Week #11—Gaming and the “Critics of Tomorrow”)



Discuss: “10 Reading Revolutions Before E-Books”


Watch: “Is World of Warcraft on Your Resume?”


Play Serious Games: Darfur is Dying; Crosser; 3rd World Farmer;;



Discuss: Graphton—“Digitization and its Discontents”


Watch: “How Video Games give you an Edge in Business”:


Play Serious Games: 1066; Jamestown; Cotton Millionaire




Discuss: Mayer-Schonberger—Delete: The Virtues of Forgetting in a Digital Age

(Watch VMS’ Lecture here:


Watch: Enriquez—“Your Online Life as Permanent as a Tattoo”


Play Serious Games: Layoff; They Rule; Turboflex



(Week #12—Should We be Doing Any of This? I Feel [More] Dumber…)



Carr—The Shallows; “Is Google Making Us Stupid”


Watch: “Rewiring Young Brains”


Watch: “Are They as Savvy as they Seem?”


Watch: McWhorter—“Texting is Killing Language. JK!”


Using (Workshop):



Discuss: Shirky—“Does the Internet Make You Smarter?”


Watch: Shirky—“It’s Not Information Overload, but Filter Failure”


Using (Workshop):



Discuss: The Onion—“Nation Shudders at Large Block of Uninterrupted Text”,16932/


Watch: “Remembrance of Attention Spans Past”


Pepper-Spraying Cop Meme:


Using Meme Generator (Workshop):

Using Quick-Meme (Workshop):



(Week #13—De-Friending and Other 21st-Century Problems)



Thompson—“The Brave New World of Digital Intimacy”


Dawesar—“Life in the Digital Now”


Using Omeka (Workshop):


Using Jux (Workshop):



Watch: “Your Kids on Social Media”:


Watch: “The Human Touch”:


Watch: “How Jonathan met Kitten”:


Watch: “The End of Privacy”:


Using Google Sites (Workshop):


Using Wix (Workshop):




Peer Review: “Advocating for the Digital Humanities” (Project Due!)



(Week #14—Copyright, Copyleft; Write it like you “Stole” it?)



Discuss: Companion—Copyright


Stewart—“How Youtube Thinks about Copyright”




Using Prezi (Workshop):



Discuss: Wikipedia—“Copyleft”


Shirky—“Why SOPA is a Bad Idea”


Explore: materials for presentations)


Using SlideShare (Workshop):



Rosenzweig—“Can History be Open Source?”


Lessig—“The Law is Strangling Creativity”


Lessig—“Rethinking the Remix”


Watch: A Fair(y) Use Tale:


Using Animoto (Workshop):


Using Zeega (Workshop):



(Week #15—Re-Presenting the Digital Humanities)



Final In-Class Presentations



Final In-Class Presentations



Final In-Class Presentations


          Learning Record Part C and Observations Due**


Existing Projects Relating to Digital Humanities 

Project Series A (Digital History and Geography):

American Social History Project:

Computer History Museum:

Archiving Historical Materials:

French Revolution Archive:

History on the Web:


Hurricane Memories:

The Lost Museum:

Play the Past (Games and History):

Philadelphia (Mapped):

Rumsey Map Collection:

September 11th Digital Archive:

Spatial Humanities Lab:

Southern History:

Time Magazine (Searchable) Archive:

Virtual Jamestown:

Way-Back Machine (Net Archives):

Crowd-Sourcing the Civil War:

Civil War Archive:

Digital Maps and Scholarship:

Project Series B (Digital Literature and Linguistics)

3-Dimensional poem:

Alice in Wonderland (for Ipad):

American Women’s Dime Novel Project:

William Blake Archive:

Giving Literature Virtual Life:

Data Mining Google Books:

Digitally Analyzing Victorian Literature:

Conrad Archive:

Emily Dickinson’s Letters:


(Preserving Native American Language):

Gutenberg Bible (Digitized/Podcast):

EBBO (Early English Books Online):

Encoding Shakespeare:

Hawthorn “Celestial Railroad” Project:

The Homer Multi-text:

Jane Austen Fiction Manuscripts:

Orlando Project (Women’s Literary History):

Proust’s Churches Archive:

Shakespeare by the Numbers:

Shakespeare and Data Visualization:

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Archive:

Walt Whitman Archive:

Yeats’ Letters Archive:

Electronic Literature Collection 1.0:

Electronic Literature Collection 2.0:

Façade—A One-Act Interactive Play:

Project Series C (Art, Philosophy, and Religion)

Aaron Koblin, Digital Artist:

Bear 71 (Animal Ethics):


Digital Art Served:

Digital Art Museum:

Transcribing Bentham:

Dreaming Methods (Hybrid Art/Writing):

Jeremy Bentham Transcription Project:

Laser-Cat (Digital Art) – No, seriously…

Memory-Looms, “Petting-Zoos,” and more:

Nightingale’s Playground (Flash Interactive Lit):

Proust’s Churches Archive:

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Thomas Nast Gallery:

What is Digital Art (Links to Archives/Projects):

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