LIT 6934 (SPRING 2018)

LIT 6934

TUES, 6:30-9:15pm
CPR 257
Professor Steven Jones
CPR 303
Office hours: T, 3:00-5:00; TH, 12:30-2:30 (and other times by appointment)

Digital Humanities (DH) is an interdisciplinary field at the intersection of digital technologies and humanities research and learning. It rose to prominence around 2004, partly in response to changes in technology and culture, including the advent of mobile platforms, the geospatial turn, the mass digitization of books and other objects, casual and mobile gaming, augmented reality applications, and large-scale data analysis. By now there are dedicated grants, journals, conferences, degree and certificate programs in the field. and This seminar is an introduction to DH. We’ll explore contemporary debates in the field, including questions about technology and culture, access and preservation, privacy and security. Readings will consider theories and specific DH tools, projects, and methods. In addition to doing reading and presentations, students will use digital platforms and tools to create a prototype collaborative DH project. Like all seminars, this class will be based on open discussion, but many class periods will also involve student presentations, as well as at least some tinkering and experimentation.

This seminar serves as a contextually-framed introduction to Digital Humanities. The course will provide a practical, hands-on introduction to a range of specific DH tools and methods, for example:

  • digitization and the curation of archives
  • text markup and electronic editing
  • text mining, data analysis, and data visualization
  • maps and humanities-oriented geospatial techniques
  • game studies and new media from a DH perspective
  • the use of digital platforms for creative work, scholarly publication, and pedagogy

As a result of this course, students will be able to:

  • understand and engage with key debates, issues, and definitions of DH
  • formulate a DH research question
  • mark up sample text using simple Markdown, HTML and some TEI-XML encoding
  • gain a basic understanding of digitization and the uses of metadata
  • identify a basic textual corpus and use available tools to analyze it
  • use digital platforms to produce and study creative work
  • apply critical analysis to digital media and platforms, and to digital technology in historical and cultural contexts
  • organize and execute a prototype collaborative research project on a digital platform using appropriate tools (and including a written rationale). This could take many forms: a digital exhibit of texts and images, a website or humanities app, a data analysis project with visualizations, a creative work on a digital platform or using mixed digital-and-physical media, a GIS project based on data-rich maps, and so on. The project should address a research question or area of inquiry, and it should demonstrate the value of the digital tools and platforms as well as contribute to knowledge in its content area. Because of the limits of time, these projects will necessarily be prototypes of limited scope–demonstration projects. For example, a digital scholarly edition of only a single lyric poem, or representative sample portion of a digital exhibit that might in theory be much larger.

Please adhere to the USF Graduate Student Policy, found here:

Students with disabilities are responsible for registering with Students with Disabilities Services (SDS) in order to receive academic accommodations. SDS encourages students to notify instructors of accommodation needs at least 5 business days prior to needing the accommodation. A letter from SDS must accompany this request. Student responsibilities:

USF is committed to providing an environment free from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence (USF System Policy 0-004). The USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention is a confidential resource where you can talk about incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. This confidential resource can help you without having to report your situation to either the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSSR) or the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity (DIEO), unless you request that they make a report. Please be aware that in compliance with Title IX and under the USF System Policy, educators must report incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. If you disclose any of these situations in class, in papers, or to me personally, I am required to report it to OSSR or DIEO for investigation. The USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention can be reached at (813) 974-5757.

The Agrippa Files:
An Aura of Familiarity, Institute for the Future, 2013:
Electronic Literature Organization ELC3:
Gold, Matthew and Lauren Klein, eds., Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016:
Rockwell, Geoffrey and Stéfan Sinclair, Hermeneutica website:
Schreibman, Susan, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, eds., A Companion to Digital Humanities:
Schreibman at al., A New Companion to Digital Humanities:

To purchase:
Borsuk, Amaranth and Brad Bouse.  Between Page and Screen (2012).
Gibson, William.  Spook Country (2007).
Sloan, Robin.  Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore (2012).

In addition to the readings and discussion, requirements will include regular writing on a digital publishing platform; in-class presentations; and a final collaborative project on a digital platform addressing a DH question using appropriate tools. (Note: no knowledge of programming or other technological skills is prerequisite for the course. During the semester students will learn the basics of markup languages and become familiar—at the introductory level—with the basics of programming.) Grades will be distributed approximately as follows:

  • class participation ………………………………………………….………..………………10%
  • regular online writing …………………………………………………..……………..……10%
  • 2 PechaKucha presentations with discussion……………………………….………20%
  • Group presentation/demo of collaborative digital project (in progress).…30%
  • Final digital project, including documentation……………………………………30%

MA Lit cultural-critical studies
MA Lit elective
MA R/C 1-2 other electives
MFA elective (5 courses)
PhD Lit theory-rich course
[The course will fulfill a core requirement for the Graduate Certificate in DH now under review.]


9 Introductions

16 Jones, “The Emergence of the Digital Humanities,” in Gold and Klein, eds., Debates 2016:
Barlow, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace:
Jurgenson, “Digital Dualism Versus Augmented Reality”:

23 Gibson, Spook Country

30 DH Manifesto 2.0:
Kirschenbaum, “What is the Digital Humanities?,” in Gold, ed., Debates 2012:
Burdick, Drucker, Lunenfeld, Presner, Schnapp, A Short Guide to the Digital_Humanities (MIT Press, 2012), pp. 121–36):
Chun, et al., “The Dark Side of the Digital Humanities,” in Gold and Klein, eds., Debates 2016:
McPherson, “Why Are the Digital Humanities So White?” in Gold, ed., Debates 2012:
Black DH Projects and Resources (@CCP_org):

6 Parham, interview, LARB:
Losh, et al., “Putting the Human Back into the Digital Humanities,” in Gold and Klein, eds., Debates 2016:
Wernimont, Jacqueline, and Julia Flanders, “Feminism in the Age of Digital Archives: The Women Writers Project,” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 29.2 (2010): 425-35.
[visit from Kristin Allukian]

13 Stauffer, “My Old Sweethearts: On Digitization and the Future of the Print Record,” in Gold and Klein, eds., Debates 2016:
Flanders and Jannidis, “Data Modeling,” in Schreibman at al., eds., A New Companion to DH:
[visit to the Library Digital Scholarship and Services]

20 Markdown editor:
Gil, Ed.:
Mozilla Introduction to HTML:
McGann, “Marking Texts of Many Dimensions,” in Schreibman at al., eds., A New Companion to DH:
The Agrippa Files:

27 Jockers and Underwood, “Text Mining and the Humanities,” in Schreibman at al., eds., A New Companion to DH:
Rockwell, “What is Text Analysis, Really?” Literary and Linguistic Computing, 18.2 (2003): 209-19:
[lecture by Geoffrey Rockwell]

6 Rockwell and Sinclair, Hermeneutica website (esp. chptrs. 6, 8):
Nowviskie, “What Do Girls Dig?”:
Drucker, “Graphical Approaches,” in Schreibman at al., eds., A New Companion to DH:
Underwood, “Where to Start wth Text Mining,” The Stone and the Shell, August 14, 212:

13 SPRING BREAK (no class)

20 Rettberg, “Electronic Literature as DH,” in Schreibman at al., eds., A New Companion to DH:
Borsuk and Bouse, Between Page and Screen
Borsuk, “The Upright Script: Words in Space and On the Page”:–upright-script-words-in-space-and-on-the-page?rgn=main;view=fulltext;q1=BOrsuk
Sample, “Your Mistake Was a Vital Connection,” samplereality, September 5, 2015:
List of resources on electronic poetry:

27 Jones, “New Media and Modeling” in Schreibman at al., eds., A New Companion to DH:
Whitson, et al. “Comics and the Digital Humanities,” DHQ, 9.4 (2015), Intro.:
[visit from Jarod Roselló]

3 Sayers, et al., “Between Bits and Atoms,” in Schreibman at al., eds., A New Companion to DH:
Jorgenson, “The Internet of Things” in Schreibman at al., eds., A New Companion to DH:
metaLAB, Teaching with Things project:

10 An Aura of Familiarity:
Sterling, Shaping Things (esp. chapters 1 and 5):
Sterling, “Stop Saying ‘Smart Cities’.” The Atlantic, February 12, 2018:
[visit to the USF Advanced Visualization Center, Director Howard Kaplan]

17 Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Nowviskie, “On the Origin of ‘Hack’ and ‘Yack,” in Gold and Klein, eds., Debates 2016:

24 Final project demos
Posner, “How Did They Make That? Reverse Engineering Digital Projects,” video, April 17, 2014: