Intro to Digital Humanities (draft)

(A working draft of a syllabus for this fall’s graduate course ENG5933-03, Introduction to the Digital Humanities. Preliminaries, policies, and specific dates have been redacted. Major thematic sections are numbered; individual classes are underlined. Any comments, edits, or suggestions are welcome.) [UPDATE: final syllabus version and course site here.]

1. What Is/Are The Digital Humanities?

Draft straightaway a 500-word definition of the digital humanities. Submit via email / attachment.


Productive Failure

Set up communications platforms: Twitter, HUMANIST, Zotero, RSS reader


In-class building project

2. Text and Code

Digital Materiality

  • Selections from Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008.

Hypertext and Code

  • McGann, Jerome J. “The Rationale of Hypertext.” In Radiant Textuality: Literature After the World Wide Web, 53-74. New York: Palgrave, 2001.
  • Hayles, N. Katherine. “Speech, Writing, Code: Three Worldviews.” In My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts, 39-61. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Introduction to mark-up languages

Encoding and Markup

TEI exercise (1)
Reports from the Field (Group 1): Storify essays

Electronic Scholarly Editing

TEI exercise (2)

3. eBook, Edition, Archive, Database, Hypertext

Google / Books

Digitization and Rare Books

Digitization project with FSU Library Special Collections

Archives: Theory and Practice (1)

  • Manoff, Marjorie. “Theories of the Archive from Across the Disciplines.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 4, no. 1 (January 2004): 9-25.
  • Folsom, Ed. “Database as Genre: The Epic Transformation of Archives.” PMLA 122, no. 5 (October 2007): 1572-79.

Case studies of selected archives and online collections
Reports from the Field (Group 2): Storify Essays

Archives: Theory and Practice (2)

  • Cooper, Andrew, and Michael Simpson. “Looks Good in Practice, but Does It Work in Theory? Rebooting the Blake Archive.” Wordsworth Circle 31, no. 1 (Winter 2000): 63-68.
  • Freedman, Jonathan, N. Katherine Hayles, Jerome McGann, Meredith L. McGill, Peter Stallybrass, and Ed Folsom. “Responses to Ed Folsom’s ‘Database as Genre: The Epic Transformation of Archives’.” PMLA 122, no. 5 (October 2007): 1580-1612.

Archive review assignment

Archives and Exhibits

NINES search, collect, exhibit

Cultural Heritage Informatics
Guest discussion with Professor Paul Marty
Omeka digitization and exhibition assignment

Digital Literature

  • Wardrip-Fruin, Noah. “Reading Digital Literature: Surface, Data, Interaction, and Expressive Processing.” In A Companion to Digital Literary Studies, edited by Ray Siemens and Susan Schreibman. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.

Game Studies

  • Selections from Ballestrini, Kevin, Emily Joy Bembeneck, Shawn Graham, Damien Huffer, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Katy Meyers, Jeremiah McCall, et al. Collaborative Scholarly Blog. Play the Past, 2010-.

Reports from the Field (Group 1): Storify Essays

4. New Forms of Criticism

Algorithmic Criticism

Text analysis exercise (1)

Distant Reading

  • Selections from Moretti, Franco. Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for A Literary History. London: Verso, 2005.

Text analysis exercise (2)

Data Mining

Reports from the Field (Group 2): Storify essays


  • Michel, Jean-Baptiste, Yuan Kui Shen, Aviva Presser Aiden, Adrian Veres, Matthew K. Gray, The Google Books Team, Joseph P. Pickett, et al. “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books.” Science 331, no. 6014 (January 14, 2011): 176-182.
  • Nunberg, Geoffrey. “Counting on Google Books.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 16, 2010, sec. The Chronicle Review.

Ngrams experiments

Digging into Data

DiD projects review

FSU data challenge (details TK)

The Spatial Turn

  • Selections from Bodenhamer, David, John Corrigan, and Trevor Harris, eds. The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010.

Guest discussion with Professor John Corrigan
Course projects: initial proposals (send email / attachment)

Space and Timelines

Collaborative geospatial timeline projects

5. Pedagogy, Publishing, and the Profession

Learning in a Digital Age

Authorship, Publishing, Peer Review

Participatory crowdsource and open review projects (1)

Scholarship and the Open Web

Participatory crowdsource and open review projects (2)

Professional Developments

Course Projects Review and Lab
Course Projects Due



Filed under Uncategorized

4 responses to “Intro to Digital Humanities (draft)

  1. Thanks! Very provocative and thoughtfully-selected readings. I’m going to be offering a grad course in the spring — covering not all of digital humanities, but just Text Mining for Literary Historians. I’ll post my syllabus on my blog too.

    • pfyfe

      Thanks! It’s tough to skim over so many topics; so many others had to be omitted. Writing an Intro syllabus seems as idiosyncratic as the backgrounds of digital humanists. I’ll be very interested to see yours; sounds like a more elaborated part of a training curriculum.

  2. Really impressive survey here, Paul; If I may, I’m going to mine it for my own, which is more specifically on using digital tools to analyze one text (Hamlet):

  3. Pingback: Proposed Grad Course for 2013-2014: Practicing the Digital Humanities (Draft) » Roger T. Whitson, Ph.D

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