ENGL 8203: Digital Humanities (Fall 2020)

Week 1 (8/27): Introduction

In-class activities.


Week 2 (9/3): The Digital

  • Matthew Kirschenbaum, “What is Digital Humanities, and What’s it Doing in English
  • Departments?” (D)
  • McGann, “Introduction – Beginning Again: Humanities and Digital Culture, 1993-2000”
  • Hayles and Pressman, “Introduction – Making, Critique: A Media Framework”
  • Benjamin Peters, “Digital” (D)
  • Lev Manovich, “Principles of New Media,” from The Language of New Media (D)

Optional: For more re: Digital Humanities history, see “The History of Humanities Computing” in A Companion to Digital Humanities (http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companion/) and any relevant chapters in A Companion to Digital Literary Studies (http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companionDLS/)


Week 3 (9/9): Archives and Theory

  • Marta Werner and Paul Voss, “Introduction to Poetics of the Archive” (D)
  • Abigail De Kosnik, introduction to Rogue Archives (D)
  • Mark Sample, “Platform Studies as Historical Inquiry; or, Video Games Bleed History” http://www.playthepast.org/?p=1857

Spend a couple of hours exploring the following digital archives.

Lab: Searching / Browsing / Reading Digital Archives


Week 4 (9/17): Screens and Reading

  • McGann, “Chapter 6: Visible and Invisible Books in N-Dimensional Space,” “Appendix to Chapter 6,” “Chapter 7: Dialogue and Interpretation at the Interface of Man and Machine”
  • Hayles and Pressman – Johanna Drucker, “From A to Screen”; John David Zuern, “Reading Screens: Comparative Perspectives on Computational Poetics”

Lab: Reading Screens


Week 5 (9/24): Reading, Paper, Screen

T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (printed handout). Feel free to use your favorite
book or find a version in the library to bring to class. But for today it must be read on a printed

Re-read “Prufrock” in the Catholic Anthology at The Modernist Journals Project (pp. 2-8):

Also check out this illustrated digital comic version:

Guiding questions: Using one of last week’s readings, how is the experience of reading
“Prufrock” on screen different from in print? How does the poem relate to other content in the
anthology? Does it have a different meaning in the different medium?

Lab: The Structural and Semantic encoding of Prufrock in Extensible Markup Language (XML)


Week 6 (10/1): Close-Reading Digital Periodical Studies

George Bornstein, “How to Read a Page” (D)

Read the June 1918 issues of The Crisis, The Egoist, and The Little Review at MJP:

For Class: List 3 words that stand out to you as being prominent in each magazine. How do
they connect to some of the content items and the general thrust of the magazine?


Week 7 (10/8): Distant-Reading Periodicals

  • Franco Moretti, “Introduction” & “Graphs” from Graphs, Maps, Trees (D)
  • Lev Manovich: “What is Visualization?” (D)

Lab: Introduction to distant reading with Voyant Tools – http://voyant-tools.org; distantreading The New Freewoman.


Week 8 (10/15): Space and Networks

Pick a magazine at MJP and read through several issues. Please jot down the following for class:
Note which issues (dates) you looked at, how you moved in them, and what material you paid
attention to. Note also who the contributors are, and any that stand out to you for some

Franco Moretti, “Network Theory, Plot Analysis” (D)

Please install Gephi on your laptop (http://gephi.org)

Lab: Introduction to network graphing with Gephi


Week 9 (10/22): Encoding Magazines

Read about Extensible Markup Language (XML):

Read some of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) website, especially the “Guidelines” page

Lab: Encoding a periodical issue according to the TEI guidelines.


Week 10 (10/29): Textual Theory and Practice

Hayles and Pressman, Rita Raley, “TXTual Practice”; Matt Kirschenbaum, “The .txtual Condition”

McGann, “Chapter 2: The Rationale of Hypertext,” “Chapter 3 and Appendix: Editing as a
Theoretical Pursuit”


Week 11 (11/5): Mapping Fiction

James Joyce, “Araby” and “Eveline” (D)

Franco Moretti, “Maps” from Graphs, Maps, Trees (D)

Lab: Mapping Dubliners with Google Maps


Week 12 (11/12): Mapping with Automated Place Name Extraction

Find an electronic text of a literary work with which you are familiar and be ready to use it in

Hayles and Pressman, Mark Marino “Reading exquisite_code: Critical Code Studies of

Lab: Topic Modeling and Mapping with automated place name extraction


Week 13 (11/19): Putting it All Together

  • Roopika Risam, selection from New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy (D)
  • Lauren Klein, selection from The Image of Absence: Archival Silence, Data Visualization, and James Hemings (D)
  • Selections from Bodies of Information: Intersectional Feminism and Digital Humanities (D)

FALL Break 11/23-27

{{Everything henceforth is online only}}


Week 15 (Online) (12/3)

  • Walter Benjamin: “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (D)
  • McGann, “Chapter 4 and Appendix: Deformance and Interpretation (with Lisa Samuels),” “Chapter 5: Rethinking Textuality”
  • Hayles and Pressman, Lisa Gitelman “Print Culture (Other Than Codex): Job Printing and Its Importance”
  • Ted Underwood, selection from Why Literary Periods Mattered (D)


Due Monday 12/7: Final Project