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The course catalogue will tell you that this course is about an "Introduction to the theoretical and practical aspects of the Digital Humanities, including the historical and ongoing debates over its boundaries, methodologies, objectives and values." I suppose that's more or less correct. Doesn't actually tell us much about what 'dh' is about. Let us turn to the web: 

defining dh memedata/captalizard

Well, still no good answer, which is great, for it gives us much territory to explore. I'm loathe to define DH. But I will say this much:  it's not just about tool use or shiny new digital toys applied to humanities-type materials. It is also about exploring what our tools do to us. I would suggest that's the more important aspect. Archaeology teaches us that our things help make us us as much as we make our things. What kind of a world are we building? There is no such thing as 'data'. There are only 'capta'. We will read, and we will make. We will build!

Let us begin.

Introduction to the Course

Required materials


DH is public facing. As such, a certain amount of what you'll be assessed on will be your public engagement with DH materials.  But there's public, and then there's public:

Wondermark 'Sea Lion' Comic


There's also the question of the authenticity of the exercise if I force you to do it in public. That's a really important issue that we need to discuss.  

For all public-facing work, you may use a psuedonymn for everything that leaves a trace on the internet, if you so desire. Just let me know who you are! There is value in using your real name, and I strongly suggest you look into reclaiming your digital identity; but what is safe for me as a middle-aged white man to do online is not safe for everyone. You have the right to not have any public facing work at all; we will arrive at an equitable solution that meets the learning objectives of this course.

In class work:     

      pointing finger seminar 20%

Public facing work (subject to any provisions arrived at in the previous paragrah):

      pointing finger assignments 40%

      pointing finger tool tutorial. 10%      

      pointing finger community building pass/fail (ie, you don't do this, you don't complete the course) 

Final project work:

      pointing finger A DH Primer for your respective field (with Pecha Kucha presentation). 30% 

What is a tool tutorial? 

What is a seminar? 

What is an assignment? 

What is community building? 

What on earth is a 'DH Primer'?

Pecha Kucha? You're joking? Yes? No.


Please note the schedule for the speakers' series is here.

Before our first meeting on Sept 29:

Get your Github, Twitter (optional), Course site (which uses the 'Known' platform), and Slack accounts set up:

Read: Graham, On Teaching High School ; Sherrat, Unremembering the Forgotten; Posner, What's Next: The Radical, Unrealized Potential of Digital Humanities

September 29: Introduction

Getting set up with your own DH Laboratory; The principles of open access research; splitting content from form; push, pull fork & clone. See also this suite of exercises from HIST3907b. We will sort out who will do which seminars, and also the . Look over the schedule below to get a sense of which topics you'd be interested in exploring.

October 6: How we got here; 'code'

(ie, you could choose to write a tool tutorial on one of the following)

October 13 The Crowd: sourcing, milking? 

November 3 Visualization & Other Ways of 'Seeing': Design Issues & the objects of study

NB: We will meet in the Library's Discovery Centre, RM 481 today

Assignment: Colour, layout, & graphs

November 17 Maps & Digitized Space

NB: We will meet in the Library's Discovery Centre, RM 481 today

assignment: Make a map

December 1 DH Images, audio, music

(pay attention in those last two to the platform and its usage).

Projects to explore:

January 12 Text analysis

 assignment: Comparing Text Analysis Tools

January 26 Algorithmic writing: games, simulations, visualization



(I've published a bunch of stuff on these lines. I won't put them on the list, but if you're interested, look me up on Google Scholar for links).l


GG (because, games should be treated as art only when gamers find it convenient, right?)

assignment: Twine

February 9 Sustainability & Preservation

February 23 Scholarly Publishing & Collaboration & Open Access

March 8  Archives & databases


March 22 So what is DH anyway? Future DH!

  • Matthew K. Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities., Part III, "Critiquing the Digital Humanities," 139-248. 
  • Amy E. Earhart, "Can Information Be Unfettered? Race and the New Digital Humanities Canon," in Matthew K. Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities. 309-318  
  • Alan Liu, "Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?,"n Matthew K. Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities. 490-510.  
  • Adeline Koh. “Niceness, Building, and Opening the Genealogy of the Digital Humanities: Beyond the Social Contract of Humanities Computing.” differences (2014) 25(1): 93-106.
  • Richard Grusin, “The Dark Side of Digital Humanities: Dispatches from Two Recent MLA Conventions”. differences 2014 (25.1): 79-92.

April 5 Pecha Kucha: DH Primers Ahoy!


background image for the site: CC-BY-SA by Jake Von Slatt