Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Professor Todd Presner
Winter 2012, Wed, 2-5 PM, Public Affairs 1278
University of California Los Angeles

DH 201/Comp Lit 290 Graduate Seminar
Introduction to Digital Humanities 
Humanistic Knowledge, Disciplines, and Institutions in the 21st Century 

Course Description: The purpose of this graduate seminar is to introduce students to the key concepts, methods, theories, and emerging practices in the "Digital Humanities." The seminar will provide a historical overview of the field from its beginnings in the post-World War II era to the present, highlighting the major intellectual problems, disciplinary paradigms, and institutional challenges that are posed by Digital Humanities. While we will proceed from a trans-disciplinary perspective and focus on the transformation of disciplines such as literature, history, geography, archaeology, among others, the seminar will ultimately consider "Digital Humanities" as a group of "knowledge problems" that affect what we know, how we know, and what we consider to be knowledge. We will examine the major epistemological, methodological, technological, and institutional challenges posed by the Digital Humanities through a number of specific projects that address fundamental problems in creating, interpreting, preserving, and transmitting the human cultural record. At the same time, we will examine how digital technologies and tools—ranging from mark-up languages and map visualizations to database structures and interface design—are themselves arguments that make certain assumptions about, and even transform, our objects of study. This is not a course in studying new media or the impact of digital technology on culture per se, but rather is focused on those areas where the Humanities intersect with digital tools for analysis and interpretation, and how we can bridge the gap between the traditions of critical theory and the practice-based approaches of the Digital Humanities.

This is a five-unit course broken down as follows:  4 units for weekly seminar meetings (3 hours/week) and 1 unit for tools workshops.  Students are required to attend at least four tools workshops over the quarter (scheduled for various days).  The workshops are organized by the Library and will focus on a wide-range of digital tools, methods, and technologies, including XML, TEI, GIS, and general research issues in the Digital Humanities such as copyright.  The schedule for the workshops can be found here: http://www.library.ucla.edu/service/6362.cfm  Graduate students may also audit DH 194 (in spring quarter) to satisfy the "lab" component of this class. 

Required Books:

Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge
Jerome McGann, Radiant Textuality: Literature after the World Wide Web [selections]
Johanna Drucker, SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Projects in Speculative Computing [selections]
Course-reader (TBA)

Grading Structure:

25% = Completion of weekly problem sets; participation in seminar and workshops
10% = Assignment #1
15% = Assignment #2
50% = Assignment #3 (draft is 25% and final written proposal is 25%)