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Intro to Digital Methods in the Humanities

This modular curriculum that will prepare first-year graduate students with the basic computational literacy necessary for research in the humanities today. Digital technologies have become part of the fabric of our daily research activities, and it is the goal of these workshops to impart a criticality and an awareness of the tools that graduate students will be using every day. In addition, the curriculum is designed to introduce ideas that will scale with students' field-specific research interests as they progress through their PhD programs. By the end of the semester, students will have gained:

  • an introduction to the standard tools in digital humanities research (TOOLS)
  • a conceptual fluency in methodological exchange across the disciplines (METHODS)
  • a basic familiarity with the history of textual interpretation from philology to data mining (HISTORY)

Each tutorial will be guided by the assumption that new research paradigms in the digital humanities are in fact grounded in a deeper history of humanistic inquiry whose epistemologies actively guide present-day experimentation. Three modules of two workshops each will be organized around the following topics and tools:

  • Closer to the Metal: accessing your computer and working with your files via the command line
  • Textual Transformations and Scholarly Editing (sed, grep, regular expressions, markup, pandoc)
  • The Documentary Hypothesis: collaborative writing through version control (Github)

Sample Readings

Jerome McGann, “Philology in a New Key,” Critical Inquiry 39, no. 2 (January 1, 2013): 327–46.

Barbara Herrnstein Smith, “What Was Close Reading? A Century of Method in Literary Studies,” 2015.

Hoyt Long and Richard Jean So, “Literary Pattern Recognition: Modernism between Close Reading and Machine Learning,” Critical Inquiry 42, no. 2 (December 17, 2015): 235–67.

Roopika Risam, “Beyond the Margins: Intersectionality and the Digital Humanities” 9, no. 2 (2015).

Simon During, “When Literary Criticism Mattered,” in The Values of Literary Studies, ed. Ronan McDonald (Cambridge University Press, 2016), 120–36.

Paul Feyerabend, Against Method (London; New York: Verso, 1993).

Matthew Kirschenbaum, “What Is ‘Digital Humanities,’ and Why Are They Saying Such Terrible Things about It?,” Differences 25, no. 1 (January 1, 2014): 46–63.

Tara McPherson, “Why Are the Digital Humanities So White?,” in Debates in the Digital Humanities, ed. Matthew K. Gold, NED - New edition (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 139–60.

Daniel Rosenberg, “Data Before the Fact,” in “Raw Data” Is an Oxymoron, ed. Lisa Gitelman (Cambridge, Massachusetts ; London, England: The MIT Press, 2013), 15–40.

James Turner, Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2014).

Ted Underwood, “Theorizing Research Practices We Forgot to Theorize Twenty Years Ago,” Representations 127, no. 1 (August 1, 2014): 64–72.

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