Course Introduction

The internet and digital technologies have come to permeate all aspects of our lives in the twenty-first century, and yet the primary modes of University education and scholarly communication remain those developed in an analog age (like lectures, essays, and print monographs). But that is rapidly changing. The digital world is infiltrating the academy and profoundly disrupting the humanities. It is changing the way scholars search for source materials, the archives—ever more of them digital or born digital—they consult, and the way they collect and store their research. It is changing the way humanists analyze their sources, prompting new and exciting research questions, and encouraging greater collaboration in historically single-authored fields. New media are also changing the way humanities research is reported and greatly enhancing the range of audiences it can reach. And perhaps most importantly, digital technologies are changing classrooms from places of listening and of individual writing to places of collaborative doing and knowledge production.

Students in this class will learn to hack the humanities by making a collaborative, publishable Digital Humanities project, while acquiring the skills and confidence necessary to actively participate in the digital world, both at the university and beyond. While the objects of our study will primarily come from the humanities, the methods of analysis are widely applicable to the social sciences and other disciplines.

DISCLAIMER: this course will not make you an expert in all things digital. It is designed, instead, to change your attitude towards digital technologies and increase your fluencies in media beyond the printed word such as text and network analysis, data visualization, and geospatial digital humanities. With the skills you will learn here in digital practices and critical reflection on digital scholarship, you will become a more discerning consumer and an active producer of digital knowledge.