Digital Culture and Information Minor

Beginning in 2018-2019, W&L will offer a minor in Digital Culture and Information. This minor grew from the Digital Humanities courses that are documented below. As an interdisciplinary program, the minor will allow students to deeply explore how the digital age impacts knowledge and society. Through courses that integrate theory with hands-on practice, students will develop creative projects that demonstrate their emerging expertise in digital media. The program is designed to teach students concepts and methods that will enhance their academic success within any major. Students participating in the program will gain significant experience with technological platforms, complex information resources, and visual design. The course of study nurtures critical reflection on the underlying structure of information and not merely technical proficiency.

To learn more, visit the program’s website or read a blog post on the creation of the minor.

DH 190: Special Topics

DH 190: Scholarly Text Encoding

This course explores the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), a standardized markup language for humanities texts. In wide use for more than twenty years, TEI describes attributes such as marginalia, annotations, textual variants, and other features as well as structure such as chapters, acts, and scenes. The course also situates TEI within the context of the humanities by examining digital editions from a variety of disciplines. Students will produce their own encoded text and contribute to the scholarly community by creating content for the W&L TEI Web site.
Jeff Barry, Mackenzie Brooks, Winter 2015 | course website
Mackenzie Brooks, Winter 2016 | course website

DH 190: Digital History

This lab course is designed to introduce humanities students to the practice of digital history as a research environment that fosters historical thinking and explores the impact of the digital as a medium for thinking about history. What is happening as scholarship shifts from print books to digital formats that allow for different ways of understanding the past? Through hands-on practice, students learn about the digital tools for analyzing primary sources with new methodologies. Students participate in creating a digital project that utilizes multiple techniques such as spatial history, network analysis, or text mining. Prior experience with these digital methods is not required.
Jeff Barry, Fall 2015 | course website

DH 101: Introduction to Digital Humanities

This project-based course explores how digital media changes the ways we study culture and ideas. We’ll examine how technologies enable new forms of research and publishing not possible through print. Plus, we’ll discuss what is meant by “the digital” and how it impacts your careers.
Sara Sprenkle, Paul Youngman, Spring 2014 | course website
Jeff Barry, Mackenzie Brooks, Spring 2015 | course website

DH 102: Data in the Humanities

This course introduces students to the creation and visualization of data in humanities research. The course is predicated on the fact that the digital turn of the last several decades has drastically changed the nature of knowledge production and distribution. The community and set of practices that is digital humanities (DH) encourages fluency in media beyond the printed word such as text mining, digital curation, data visualization, and spatial analysis. Readings and discussions of theory complement hands-on application of digital methods and computational thinking. While the objects of our study come primarily from the humanities, the methods of analysis are widely applicable to the social and natural sciences. Three unit-long collaborative projects explore the creation, structure, and visualization of humanities data. This course meets in two-hour blocks to accommodate a lab component.
Mackenzie Brooks, Fall 2016, Fall 2017 | course website

DH 110: Programming for Non-Programmers

This course starts with a brief introduction to/review of HTML and CSS and then focuses on using Javascript to write basic code and implement preexisting libraries to analyze and visualize data. Students will become familiar with building a complete Web page that showcases all three languages. No prior programming experience is needed, but a desire to learn and be challenged is a must.
Jason Mickel, Winter 2016 | course website

Courses with DH designation

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.
Rebecca Benefiel, Spring 2015 | course website

English 382: Hotel Orient

This seminar charts the historical encounters between East and West through the very spaces that facilitate cross-cultural transactions from the medieval to the postmodern. If modern hotel consciousness is marked by transience, ennui, eroticism, and isolation, we ask whether or not the same characteristics held true in premodern hotel practices, and if the space of the Orient makes a difference in hotel writing. Semantically, “Orient” means not only the geographic east. As a verb, to orient means to position and ascertain one’s bearings. In this sense, to write about lodging in the East is to sort out one’s cultural and geopolitical orientation.
Wan-Chuan Kao, Fall 2015

History 211: Scandal, Crime, and Spectacle in the 19th Century

This course examines the intersection between scandal, crime, and spectacle in 19th-century France and Britain. We discuss the nature of scandals, the connection between scandals and political change, and how scandals and ideas about crime were used to articulate new ideas about class, gender, and sexuality. In addition, this class covers the rise of new theories of criminality in the 19th century and the popular fascination with crime and violence. Crime and scandal also became interwoven into the fabric of the city as sources of urban spectacle. Students are introduced to text analysis and data mining for the humanities.
Sarah Horowitz, Brandon Walsh, Fall 2016

Sociology/Anthropology 265: Exploring Social Networks

This course is an introduction to network analysis. Students learn some of the major network analysis literature in sociology and related fields and develop their skills as network analysts in laboratory sessions. Social science, humanities, business, and public health applications are emphasized.
Jon Eastwood, Spring 2015