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ENGL 5100 Introduction to Digital Research

Peter Logan

This course introduces students to the concepts and tools needed to conduct digital research in English. During the semester, we’ll discuss how the broader field of the Digital humanities (DH) is defined, why humanists are using digital tools to do their research, how the new methods compare with older methods of humanities scholarship, and what are their strengths and weaknesses. This course gives you a chance to explore these new methods. We begin with a focus on the basic theoretical and technological issues involved in creating and analyzing digital texts, before moving on to a series of hands-on exercises in analyzing words and interrogating the results. By the end of the semester, students will understand the history, theory, and technology of digital textual analysis and produce a 15-page paper applying these new methods to material relevant to their own interests or analyzing examples of digital-based criticism. The field of DH values collaborative work far more than most other forms of scholarship in the humanities. This is because every DH project involves a collection of many discrete skills, far more than any one person can generally master. In this course, students will be encouraged to work collaboratively where possible. Part of the course will be devoted to discussing the nature of collaborative work and how it differs from “group work,” so that students learn how to work together in productive and positive relationships. Students should be comfortable using a computer and moving around in the file system. No knowledge of computer programming is needed. If you own a laptop, please bring it to class. If you do not, we’ll have laptops available for you to work through the in-class exercises.

Course Number: 
ENGL 5100