An Introduction to Digital Humanities
Can a machine tell me what books are about? What happens when we can visualize literary movements? Can we teach computers to read? When we apply digital research methods or digital modes of thought to our humanistic questions, we’re engaged in a burgeoning field broadly conceived as Digital Humanities (DH). In this introductory course we will explore the discourses of DH, we will experiment with digital tools and research methods, and we will become practicing digital humanists through a critical engagement with those tools, methods, and discourses.
All students interested in an introduction to Digital Humanities methods and meanings are welcomed. The more humanistically-inclined student should be interested in experimenting with technologies, while the computational expert should be prepared to think critically about digitally-inflected humanistic inquiry. One-half of the course will feature hands-on practice, while the other half will offer contextualizing theories and discussions. (NB: Because of the professor’s disciplinary biases, our questions and datasets will trend toward literary applications. You’ve been warned!)
My course objectives are pinned to the College’s Graduate Qualities. By the end of the semester we will have worked together to toward becoming “creative and independent thinkers with exceptional ablities to ask important questions, research complex issues, solve problems, and communicate new knowledge and insight” (from the College Mission Statement).
This broad conception constitutes the learning goals for the course; more specifically, students will
- engage in critical and creative thinking about and through digital humanities methods and modes of thought;
- bring to fruition a researched and thought-out digital humanities project;
- when appropriate, work collaboratively across disciplines to explore interdisciplinary lines of questioning and thought; and
- actively and effectively participate in intellectual exploration through thoughtful engagement in discussions and adept communication of the students’ own ideas.
These are separate, in my mind, from course outcomes, which will be measureable outputs that demonstrate students’ effective engagement with the course learning goals. Bear in mind, these are not the only “measureable outputs” for the course – there will be many – these are merely the primary and potentially public-facing outcomes for the course.
- Individual, student-generated, personal while professional, public-facing website that will feature each student’s professional goals and may also offer a showcase each individual student’s work to date, both in this course and otherwise.
- A collaboratively written and constructed annotated guide for low-barrier-to-entry digital tools for the benefit of peers in the course and for others outside of the course.
- A research project conceived, researched, staged, developed, and presented by groups of students in the class.
An Introduction to Digital Humanities by Jacob Heil is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.