Nine years years ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education called the digital humanities “the first ‘next big thing’ in a long time.” Today, the domain of the Digital Humanities encompasses research institutes, learned journals, Mellon fellowships, and an NEH mandate. Its language permeates the MLA convention program. It arouses messianic expectations and fiery 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 – we will meet in a twice weekly colloquium format and will explore a variety of critical topics that will include: project creation and management, close/distant reading, critical code studies and data visualization, the archive in theory and in practice, the intricacies of open access, to matters of equity and access within the digital humanities. To enliven and enrich our discussions, we will have three guest speakers visit campus throughout the quarter to visit our seminar and give public talks (which all members of the seminar are expected to attend): Angela Bennett (U of Nevada) on close and distant reading and data aggregation, Kimberly Christen (Washington State University) on the intersections of Indigenous Studies and the digital turn, and Kimberly Gallon (Purdue) on Black Digital Humanities. Practical issues of project-based scholarship, DH funding opportunities, and digital pedagogy will be covered. No prior technical knowledge or experience is assumed.
Students will be evaluated on the following: their attendance and participation in class meetings and related public talks, their serving as a presenter and discussion leader on a chosen day during the term, an evaluation of an existing digital project in their field, and their successful completion of a final project, which will be comprised of an in-class presentation on a hypothetical digital project of their own creation and a mock grant application.
English 504 / Comp Lit 554 is a core graduate seminar in the Textual Studies Program. Course credit can be applied towards the Textual and Digital Studies Graduate Certificate. For more information, see http://depts.washington.edu/text.