Classics 343: Classics in the Digital Age

An exploration of the art, architecture, monuments, and space of the ancient world by analyzing and assessing the innovative scholarly resources that are currently available to students and scholars of the classical world. Each week a new discipline within Classics (e.g., philology, epigraphy, numismatics) is presented, followed by an introduction to several scholarly tools and resources that can be used to query or conduct research in that field. Each of the five groups within the class examines a particular time period and applies a series of scholarly tools to evaluate how Roman society, politics, and the expression of power shifted over the centuries of empire. This course was taught by Professor Rebecca Benefiel in the Classics Department. Course website

English 330: Milton

This course surveys one of the most talented and probing authors of the English language — a man whose reading knowledge and poetic output has never been matched, and whose work has influenced a host of writers after him, including Alexander Pope, William Blake, William Wordsworth, and Mary Shelley. In this course, we read selections from Milton’s literary corpus, drawing from such diverse genres as lyric, drama, epic and prose polemic. As part of their study of epic form, students create a digital humanities project rendering Paradise Lost in gaming context. Quests, heroes,ethical choices and exploration of new worlds in Paradise Lost are rendered as a game. Students read Milton in the context of literary criticism and place him within his historical milieu, not the least of which includes England’s dizzying series of political metamorphoses from Monarchy to Commonwealth, Commonwealth to Protectorate, and Protectorate back to Monarchy.

This course used Ivanhoe WordPress theme created by Scholars’ Lab.

Read more about this course in a blog post by Professor Gertz.

Interdisciplinary 203: You Say You Want a Revolution- An Introduction to Digital Humanities

Sara Sprenkle, Associate Professor of Computer Science, and Paul YoungmanAssociate Professor of German, taught this project-based course, which introduced non-STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) majors to the use of digital technologies in humanities research and research presentation. The course was predicated on the fact that the digital turn the world has taken in the last several decades has drastically changed the nature of knowledge production and distribution. To call this turn a revolution is not an exaggeration. The class involved “talking” and “doing;” it integrated lectures on digital humanities (DH) and computer science with demonstrations of fully developed DH projects by guest speakers culminating in thrice-weekly lab sessions. At the beginning of the term, the lab sessions gave students hands-on experience with new tools and techniques but later evolved into inquiry-based, student-designed group projects in DH. 

Students in this course produced two projects:

English 382: Hotel Orient

Professor: Wan-Chuan Kao, Assistant Professor of English

Course offered: Spring 2014

Course website:

Student website: Ryokan Higashiyama | Historic Bed & Breakfast

Course description:

This course focused on the literary, cinematic, and historical representations of the encounters between East and West through the space of the hotel. Student read literature, viewed films, wrote interpretive essays, engaged in discussions, and produced a digital humanities project.

This course asked students, firstly, to create a hotel in the Orient using historical, literary, and cinematic hotels as design muses and guidelines, and secondly, to build the hotel not in the physical world but the virtual realm. By situating Hotel Orient in cyberspace, students bypassed the constraints of physical laws and were free to reshape hotel consciousness and to investigate what precisely constitutes a hotel experience. Moreover, the use of computing tools alleviated the need of prior experience or expertise in architecture, design, and IT on the part of students. The digital Hotel Orient is therefore a fun and fantastical nexus of technology, architecture, text, multimedia, and the human.

Methodology: 3D Modeling and SketchUp

German 311: Kulturkarte

In Fall 2013, German 311(Advanced German I), taught by Associate Professor Paul Youngman, mapped the German culture over time.  The class was divided into groups of students who then selected a specific era of German history and used written analysis and mapping functionalities in their Kulturkarte project:

1. Explanation of the ideals of the era
2. Background of a historical figure (philosopher, scientist, etc.) or statesman
3. Description of an important historical event
4. Background of a writer, artist and musician
5. Analysis of two works of art (music, painting, sculpture, novel, drama, or architecture)

1. First flowering of German literature (1100-1400)
2. Renaissance and Reformation (1350-1600)
3. Baroque (1600-1700)
4. Enlightenment (1720-1790)
5. Sturm und Drang (1767-1785)
6. The Classic Era (1786-1805)
7. Romanticism (1797-1830)
8. Young Germany (1815-1848)
9. Biedermeier (1815-1848)
10. Realism (1840 – 1900)
11. Naturalism (1880-1900)
12. Kafka and his era (1900-1924)

Anthropology 290: Campus Sex in the Digital Age

This Winter 2014 class, taught by Professor Sascha Goluboff, will explore how the cell phone has impacted hooking up and dating at college, with particular attention to Washington and Lee University as a case study. They will discuss the development of campus sexual culture in America and the influence of digital technology on student sociality. Students will use open source digital research tools to analyze data (interviews, focus groups, and statistics) collected by Professor Goluboff in Fall 2011 about dating and hookup behavior at our college. Students will work in groups to post their weekly analyses on a class WordPress site. The ultimate goal of the course is to develop a variety of interpretations of the data that might challenge, as well as reaffirm, the conclusions drawn by Professor Goluboff in her recent article manuscript.




French 285/History 210: Re-Reading/Re-Writing Paris

This Spring 2013 course began by studying foundational concepts of history, memory, and space.  The figure of the palimpsest—a text whose multiple layers of writing are legible, despite efforts to erase past inscriptions—was a guiding trope as we progressed through the term, exploring notions of official and unofficial memory, power and violence, the urban flâneur, universalism, and foreignness in the Parisian context.  Each topic allowed us to examine in detail a specific event or movement in French history (the Algerian War, 19th-century Hausmannization, the French Revolution, 17th-century Absolutism, Renaissance Humanism, and 20th- and 21st-century tourism), as well as specific sites of central importance to the cultural text of Paris (the Eiffel Tower, Père Lachaise cemetery, Montmartre, the Louvre, the Bastille, the Latin Quarter, etc.).  Throughout the term, the course invited students to think about how their own practices—of walking, consuming, reading, and writing about the city—participate in the Parisian “text.”  The project for this course, Paris 2013, includes mapping and timeline functionalities.  This course was co-taught by Professor Sarah Horowitz of the Department of History and Professor Katie Chenoweth of the Department of Romance Languages.

German 349: Age of Goethe

This course offered undergraduate students an in-depth introduction to the Age of Goethe, a period of enormous cultural renaissance that for many generations represented the very essence of modern German literature and culture.  Over the course of the semester we studied a diverse group of texts by Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) and his peers to sketch out the complex cultural landscape of the German lands in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  The project for this course, Digital Goethe, is a digital humanities project that makes use of WordPress and the open source tools available at TAPOR, Bamboo-DiRT.  This course was taught by Professor Paul A. Youngman of the Department of German and Russian.