DH Grad Class Fall 2013

Introduction to Digital Humanities

HURC 604
Fall 2013
Tuesdays/Thursdays 10:50-12:05
Sewall 101
Updated 10.3.2013

Instructors:

Dr. Melissa Bailar
melba at rice dot edu, x5968
Herring Hall 303

Dr. Lisa Spiro
lisamspiro@gmail.com
Fondren 354 (look for NX512-NX705 in the Brown Fine Arts Library stacks)
713-348-2480

Course Description

This course introduces students to current digital humanities projects as well as tools for approaching humanities research in new ways. Faculty from across the humanistic disciplines will address trends in this expanding field and guide hands-on workshops. Sessions will also focus on the job market and grant opportunities. (3 credit, pass/fail course.)

Requirements

  • Blog posts:Write at least 4 blog posts [revised number] in response to prompts given in the syllabus. In addition, you should write at least 4 responses to your classmates’ blog posts. While there is no set deadline for blog posts, you should spread your responses throughout the semester. We have included some prompts for potential blog posts in the syllabus, but you are also encouraged to come up with your own topics, such as reflecting on a class reading, discussion or lab, posing a question, or sharing a resource or tool.Since blogging facilitates the free exchange of ideas and raises your visibility as a scholar, we encourage you to blog publicly under your own name. However, you can choose to keep your blog private to the Rice network and/or you can blog under a pseudonym. Please speak with Lisa Spiro and/or Melissa Bailar if you have any concerns about blogging.
  • Readings and project explorations: We’ve deliberately kept the reading load light. In order to contribute to class conversations, it’s important for you to be familiar with the material. Come to class with questions for our guest instructors.
  • Project proposal: Working in a small group, you will draft a proposal for a real or imagined digital humanities project using the NEH’s Digital Humanities Startup Grantguidelines. As part of the proposal, your group will develop a small prototype or experiment that demonstrates your project idea.Work on the project will be divided into phases:
  • Project charter (draft developed in class, September 12)
  • Initial project description: One or two paragraphs describing your group’s idea for a digital humanities project (due October 8). For ideas of what the NEH has funded in the past, see the NEH’s funded projects query form and limit the Program to “Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants.”
  • Pecha kucha: As a group, you will give a brief presentation about your project, contextualizing it through an environmental scan and describing how it is “enhancing the humanities through innovation” (due October 29). It is up to each team to determine how to divide the labor for the presentation; each team member can speak or take on different duties (e.g. presenter, researcher, slide developer, etc.). Conform to the pecha kucha format: 20 slides of 20 seconds each. See Jason Jones’ “Challenging the Presentation Paradigm (in 6 minutes, 40 seconds): Pecha Kucha.”
  • Work plan describing tasks, timeline, staff, resources, and evaluation plans (due November 12). For information about how to create a work plan, see DevDH’s “Building Your First Work Plan.” For example plans, see the Sample Application Narratives for the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants.
  • Draft proposal (due December 2 at 10 a.m., to be workshopped in class on December 3)
  • Final proposal (due December 18)
  • Presentation: In addition to the pecha kucha associated with the project proposal (see above), you will give a 3-4 minute presentation analyzing a digital humanities project (due September 3).
  • Active participation
  • Optional: Consider visiting Lina Dib’s “Murmurations” at the Lawndale Art Center (on display August 23-September 28). We’ll meet Dr. Dib and learn about her work on October 24.

Attendance policy: Attendance is taken each class. You may miss two classes without penalty; any beyond two will require advanced notice and instructor approval. Any more than two unapproved subsequent missed classes or partially missed classes will significantly lower the class participation portion of your grade. When you miss a class, the assignments are still due at the class start time unless we have made prior arrangements.

Office hours

  • For Melissa: 4-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays or by appointment.
  • For Lisa: 9:30-10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays or by appointment.

Special Accommodations: Any student with a disability that requires accommodation should contact both the instructor and the Disability Support Services office in Allen Center so that we can ensure all needs are met.

Changes to the syllabus: The syllabus will change (with advanced notice) as the instructors deem appropriate, particularly to address student interests and incorporate input from our guest instructors. Changes will not result in a significantly increased workload or alterations to the absence policy.

Goals of the course:

  • Students will speak and write fluently about the broad scope of digital humanities, including current research, ongoing debates, challenges, and their own engagement in the field.
  • Students will demonstrate basic familiarity with core digital humanities tools and methods, including text analysis, information visualization, 3D modeling, and mapping.
  • Students will evaluate digital humanities research with a critical eye.
  • Students will consciously craft a public presence as engaged scholars by blogging.
  • Students will become acquainted with digital humanities research at Rice and across Texas.
  • Students will demonstrate their understanding of project planning and management by creating a project proposal in which they explain the scholarly rationale for a digital humanities project, conduct a landscape review, describe the technical approach, and lay out a clear project plan and budget

Acknowledgements

This syllabus was inspired by a number of digital humanities syllabi, particularly those by Tanya Clement, Ryan Cordell, Brian Croxall, Kevin Kee, Matt Kirschenbaum, and Jentery Sayers.

August 27: The Emergence of Digital Humanities (Melissa Bailar and Lisa Spiro)

What are the digital humanities? Why digital humanities?

In-class

  • Introductions
    • Why are you interested in the course?
    • How might digital humanities be relevant to your work?
    • What research question might digital methods help you to answer?
  • Getting started in digital humanities
  • Hands-on exercise: In a small group, use Voyant to explore a corpus of research materials on digital humanities. What do you notice about the results? What do you find surprising? How might this method be useful in humanities research, and what are its limitations?

August 29: Best Practices in Blogging Lab (Lisa Spiro)

How do you set up a WordPress blog? What are blogging best practices?

Before Class

In Class

  • Explore a few sample academic web sites and discuss strategies for establishing your own professional presence.
  • Hands-on workshop on using the WordPress platform to blog. See Creating a Web Site Using WordPress (pdf)

Suggested Resources

September 3: Exploring Digital Humanities (with Melissa Bailar and Lisa Spiro)

What different forms does digital humanities scholarship take? How might digital methods help us to answer particular research questions?

Before Class

  • Read Anne Burdick et al, A Short Guide to the Digital_Humanities (2012)
  • Prepare for your presentation. Select a digital humanities project, ideally one related to your own research interests. We’ve provided you with an initial list of projects, but you’re welcome to find your own– just explain why you selected it. Address the following questions:
    • goals: What is the project trying to achieve?
    • methods: How does the project pursue those goals?
    • scholarly contexts: How does the project try to advance humanities scholarship?
    • project development: How was the project created? Who was involved with the project?
    • strengths: What does the project do well?
    • limitations: What could the project do better?

In Class

  • Give a 3-4 minute presentation on the project that you examined.
  • Discuss the projects and what they tell us about the digital humanities.

Suggested resources:

September 5: Scholarly Communication (with April DeConick and Caleb McDaniel)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a scholar sharing work online? How are scholarly communications changing in the digital age?

Before Class

In Class

  • Brief presentations by Dr. Caleb McDaniel and Dr. April DeConick
  • Panel discussion on blogging and scholarly communications in the humanities

Suggested Resources

September 10: Framing Arguments in the Digital Humanities (Lisa Spiro)

How might we frame new kinds of arguments using digital methods? What are emerging scholarly genres?

Before Class

In Class

  • Discussion of emerging genres of digital scholarship. [Slides]
  • Mini-workshop: Sketch out how you might remix one of your essays as a work of digital scholarship. [Handout]

Suggested Resources

September 12: Collaboration and Project Management Lab (Melissa Bailar and Lisa Spiro, with Monica Rivero)

How does digital work differ from traditional humanities work? What are the benefits and challenges of working in a team? What are some strategies for keeping track of a large-scale project?

Before Class

In Class

  • Discuss strategies for launching and managing a digital humanities project
  • Work in teams to develop an initial project charter.

Suggested Resources

September 17: Building Digital Collections: OAAP (with Melissa Bailar) and the Ephemera Project (with Steve Lewis)

What are the advantages to digital archives? What are their limitations? How might they change the nature of humanities research?

Before Class

In Class

  • Panel discussion on building digital collections.

Suggested Resources

  • Carole Palmer, “Thematic Research Collections,” A Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

September 19: Building Digital Collections with Omeka Lab (with Amanda Focke)
Meet in Digital Media Commons, Herring 129

What questions must one consider in the development of a digital collection? How can you set up a collection using Omeka? How might you use an Omeka collection?

Before Class

In Class

  • Hands-on Lab: Create a simple Omeka collection using the Sandbox (or Rice’s Omeka installation) [slides]

Suggested Resources

September 24: Oral History and the Houston Asian American Archive (Linda Ho Peche)

Before Class

  • “Archival representations of immigration and ethnicity in North American history: from the ethnicization of archives to the archivization of ethnicity” by Dominique Daniel. Arc Sci (2013)

In Class

  • Exploring digital narratives: oral history and online storytelling

Suggested Resources

September 26: Digital Reading and Victorian Poetry (with Natalie Houston)

What does “digital reading” entail?

Before Class

In Class

  • Brief presentation and interactive session with Dr. Houston

October 1: Doing Digital Research (with Caleb McDaniel)

**Meet in the DMC, Herring 129**

How can humanities scholars use computational methods, digital workflows and algorithmic thinking to advance their work? What hazards should they avoid?

Before Class

Suggested Resources

October 3: Spatial Humanities Lab, Part 1 (with Jean Aroom)

How might we use GIS to support the representation and exploration of humanistic ideas? What does it take to create a GIS map?

**Meet in the Fondren 156 Classroom**

Before Class

  • TBD

In Class

  • Hands-on workshop using GIS software

October 8: Spatial Humanities (with Alida Metcalf and Wright Kennedy)

Meet in the DMC

How does the Imagine Rio project function across disciplines? How is it innovative? What challenges does it pose?

Before Class

In Class

  • Discussion and demonstration of the Imagine Rio Project.
  • Brief presentation on Wright’s HGIS yellow fever research.

Suggested Resources

October 10: Spatial Humanities Lab, Part II (with Jean Aroom)

**Meet in Fondren 156**

Before Class

  • TBD

In Class

  • Hands-on workshop using GIS software

Suggested Resources

October 15: NO CLASS (MIDTERM RECESS)

October 17: Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Lab (with Lisa Spiro)

Why would scholars want to mark up texts using TEI? Why not?

**Meet in Digital Media Commons, 129 Herring Hall**

Before Class

In Class

  • Hands-on lab on marking up a letter using TEI
  • See the slides

Suggested Resources

October 22: Visualizing Culture (with Kirsten Ostherr)

Meet in the Digital Media Commons, Herring 129

To what extent does the way we visualize information shape how we understand it? What impact does visualization have on culture, politics, and scholarly knowledge?

Before Class

  • Read Kirsten Ostherr, “Operative Bodies: Live Action and Animation in Medical Films of the 1920s,” Journal of Visual Culture, “Science and Documentary” vol. 12, no. 2 (2012)

October 24: (Digital) Humanities Making (with Matthew Wettergreen and Lina Dib)

What happens when use digital processes to craft physical artifacts or experiences? What is “critical making”?

**Meet in the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen**

Before Class

  • Suggested blog topic: Write a brief blog post discussing how making can inform humanities scholarship.

In Class

  • Tour of OEDK
  • Brief presentation from Lina Dib about her work at the intersection of art and scholarship.

Suggested Resources

October 29: Project Pecha Kucha

**Meet in the DMC, Herring 129**

What does it mean to “innovate” in digital humanities? How do DH projects build on what has gone before?

In Class

  • Each group will present its pecha kucha, focused on their project’s humanities innovation and environmental scan.
  • Discuss and provide feedback on presentations.
  • Draft next steps for developing project proposals.

October 31: Modeling and Visualization: Reconstructing Rome (with John Hopkins)

**Meet in the DMC, Herring 129**

How might we use 3D modeling technologies to answer scholarly questions about the past? How do scholars represent conjecture and doubt in their models?

Before Class

Suggested Resources

November 1: Optional – Attend the lecture by Joseph Viscomi of the William Blake Archive (details TBD)

November 5: Modeling and Visualization: Rice’s Chevron Visualization Lab (with Erik Engquist)

How might visualization technologies open up new ways of seeing?

**Meet in Dell Butcher 110 (building 17 on the Rice map)**

November 7: Culturomics (with Erez Lieberman Aiden)

**Meet in the DMC, Herring 129**

Read as much as you can of Dr. Lieberman Aiden’s forthcoming book.

November 8

Attend Jerome McGann’s lecture “Title Page as Interface and Metadata, with an Example from Cooper,” 2-3:30 p.m., Humanities 117. (Optional but recommended)

November 12: Visualizing History (with Anne Chao and Andrew Torget)

**Meet in Digital Media Commons, 129 Herring Hall**

How might we use visualization tools to deepen our understanding of complex historical processes and phenomena, such as social networks and the quality of digitized newspapers?

Before Class

In Class

  • Brief presentations by Dr. Chao and Dr. Torget
  • Panel discussion of visualization techniques in history

Suggested Resources

November 14: Theory, Transformation and Digital Humanities (with Melissa Bailar and Lisa Spiro)

**Meet in the DMC, Herring 129**

Are cultural criticism and theory absent from digital humanities? What would it mean to “transform” the digital humanities?

Before Class

In Class

  • Open discussion/ debate.

Suggested Resources

November 19: Gaming, Interaction and Play (with Carlos Monroy)

**Meet in the DMC, Herring 129**

Before Class

Please look at the work by Jane McGonigal on gaming and answer the following question on the class blog or bring your answers to the class:

Based on McGonigal’s ideas (see links below),  choose a work or collection of art, literature, music or other humanities domain relevant to your major (e.g. History, English, Religious Studies, etc.) and explain how games can be used to disseminate those resources and engage the public. In order to frame you answer, think of games in a broader sense, that is, video games, computer games, board games, card games, or any other kids’ playground game you remember.

http://janemcgonigal.com/
http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

In Class

  • Brief presentation/ demonstration by Dr. Monroy, followed by discussion.

Suggested Resources

November 21: Lab: Data Visualization Using ggplot2 (with Hadley Wickham)

Meet in Sewall 101 computer classroom

Before Class

In Class

Suggested Resources

November 26: The Programming Scholar Lab (with Sid Byrd)

How can you get started programming? What can you reasonably expect to be able to do individually?

**Meet in Digital Media Commons, Herring 129**

Before Class

In Class

Suggested Resources

November 28: NO CLASS (THANKSGIVING BREAK)

December 3: Proposal Workshop (with Phyllis McBride and Katie Carpenter)

**Meet in the DMC, Herring 129**

What funding resources are available for digital projects designed by graduate students? What makes a compelling proposal?

Before Class

  • Evaluate all of the project proposals (including your own), using the NEH’s criteria for evaluating Start Up Grant proposals:
    • “The intellectual significance of the project for the humanities, including its potential to enhance research, teaching,and learning in the humanities.
    • The likelihood that the project will stimulate or facilitate new research of value to scholars and general audiences in the humanities, or use new digital technologies to communicate humanities scholarship to broad audiences.
    • The quality of innovation in terms of the idea, approach, method, or digital technology, and the appropriateness of the technology employed in the project.
    • The quality of the conception, definition, organization, and description of the project and the applicant’s clarity of expression.
    • The feasibility of the plan of work, including whether the start-up activities will significantly contribute to the project’s long-term goals.
    • The qualifications, expertise, and levels of commitment of the project director and key project staff or contributors.”

Indicate whether the proposal is highly recommended, recommended, has some merit, or is not recommended at this time.

In Class

  • Mock grant review panel.

Suggested Resources

December 5: Where next? (with Melissa Bailar and Lisa Spiro)

**Meet in the DMC, Herring 129**

In Class

  • Discuss what you learned in the course and how to incorporate digital humanities into your own academic work.
  • Provide suggestions for how to improve the next iteration of the course.
  • Look at the direction of the field as revealed by recent job postings on HASTAC.

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