Colloquium in Digital Culture & the Digital Humanities (w/C. Lit 554)
English 504/Comp Lit 554—Colloquium in Digital Culture and the Digital Humanities
Five years ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education called the digital humanities “the first ‘next big thing’ in a long time.” Today, DH has arrived. Its domain encompasses research institutes, learned journals, Mellon fellowships, and an NEH mandate. Its language permeates the MLA convention program. It arouses messianic expectations and doom-laden condemnations in seemingly equal measure.
But what is it? The term “digital humanities” applies to a huge range of loosely related enterprises from coding with XML-based TEI standards to the critical study of digital culture and born-digital literature to simply the dissemination of humanistic research in digital form. Rather than following any one path in this seminar, our objective will be to step back and survey the field as it has emerged and in its full institutional complexity. What does a graduate student in the humanities need to know about DH right now? Who are the major thinkers and what are the major debates? How might one situate oneself or one’s project in relation to the digital turn? To answer these questions – and raise new ones – this seminar will meet in a weekly colloquium format with invited experts leading discussion or giving talks on key themes in DH: Laura Mandell (Texas A&M) on reading and visualization, Nicholas Paige (Berkeley) on big/small data in literary studies, Jeffrey Schnapp (Harvard) on the remediation of print, Roger Whitson (Washington State U) on media archaeology, and a host of local faculty members on topics such as speculative computing, GIS and mapping, social media ecologies, topic modeling, and quantitative text analysis. Students will attend and engage with a special MLQ symposium, “Scale and Value: New Digital Approaches to Literary History,” which will be held at UW in May. Practical issues of project-based scholarship, web publishing, DH funding opportunities, and digital pedagogy will be covered. No prior technical knowledge or experience is assumed.
English 504 / Comp Lit 554 is one of four core graduate seminars administered by the UW Textual Studies Program. Course credit will count towards the Textual Studies degree track in participating departments and Textual and Digital Studies certificate now in the proposal stages.