Fall 2014

A list of some of the digital scholarship and digital humanities-inclined courses being offered in the Tri-Co during Fall 2014.

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Swarthmore College

HIST 082. Networks, Simulations, Information: Cultural Histories of Digital Media

Tim Burke

Digital culture, whether we mean everyday habits and practices involving computers and the Internet or the production and consumption of media in digital environments, is still often described as “the next new thing”, as having come by its current dominant status suddenly and by surprise. In this course, students will first ask whether some of the characteristic structures and forms associated with digital culture, such as networks, simulations or ways of organizing and working with information, are in fact much older. Is there a “prehistory” of the digital worth considering? The class will then examine the earliest cultural forms and practices associated with digital technology in the 1970s and 1980s, including video game consoles, bulletin boards (BBSs), homebrew computing, and the rise of hacking, and from there track the rise of new genres and forms of practice up to 2014.  This course is an overly ambitious attempt to cover a great deal of ground, interweaving cultural histories of networks, simulations, information, computing, gaming, and online communication. Uses Twitter, Tumblr, and a class blog.

ENGL 040. Core Course: Victorian Literature and Victorian Informatics

Rachel Sagner Buurma

This mid-level core course offers a survey of canonical Victorian literature through the lens of theories of knowledge organization and the history of information practices. We will read texts by authors like Charlotte Brontë, John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin, George Eliot, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, Oscar Wilde, and others. This class will focus on developing techniques of close, middle-distance, and distant reading, with an emphasis on exploring new digital tools for organizing, curating, decomposing, and remaking literary texts. For more information, see the syllabus.

STAT 031. Data Analysis and Visualization

Lynne Steuerle Schofield

This course will study methods for exploring and modeling relationships in data. We introduce modern techniques for visualizing trends and formulating hypotheses. We will also discuss methods for modeling structure and patterns in data, particularly using multiple regression and related methods. The format of the course emphasizes writing assignments and interactive problem solving using real datasets.

CPCS 065. Natural Language Processing / LING 020. Computational Linguistics

Richard Wicentowski

Students in the course will learn the algorithms and data structures central to Natural Language Processing. Students will use these tools to access large, possibly hand-annotated, text corpora. These corpora serve as the basis for statistical machine learning algorithms that students will use to build components such as language models, part of speech taggers, morphological analyzers, text classifiers, parsers and machine translation software.

GMST 111. German Media Culture

Sunka Simon

German Media Culture, beginning with the first Western book printed in movable type in the 1450s (Gutenberg’s Bible), is a rich source of inquiry for historical, political, sociological, philosophical, technological, and aesthetic reasons. In this interdisciplinary senior seminar, we will not only read, view and listen to primary media sources in their specific historical contexts, but we will also investigate and analyze media theories by Freud, Marx, Benjamin, Heidegger, Adorno, Brecht, Enzensberger, Habermas, Kracauer, and Kittler (among others) that develop alongside and in reaction to the rapidly changing mediascapes of 19th–21st century German-speaking countries. The course will require students to work on a digital semester-long project related to a specific case study (media-specificity, history, theory, analysis etc).

ARTH 018. Digital Rome: Visualizing Urbanism in Roman North Africa

Tom Morton

Working in small groups, students will create digital reconstructions (primarily in SketchUp) of select Roman cities in Africa Proconsularis, and try to answer a deceptively simple question, what determines the urban fabric of these ancient cities? By using Roman Africa as a test case, this course will examine the ‘individuality within regularity’ of Roman cities. Temporally we will commence with the end of the Roman Republic and conclude with the Late Empire. Geographically, we will primarily limit our analysis to the province of Africa Proconsularis (modern day Tunisia and parts of Algeria and Libya) and look at famous cities such as Carthage and Lepcis Magna and little known cities such as Meninx (Jerba, Tunisia).

Bryn Mawr College

ENGL B247. Shakespeare’s Teenagers

Emily Cora Weissbourd

There was no such thing as a teenager in Shakespeare’s England; the word doesn’t enter the English language until the 20th century. Yet present-day writers and filmmakers often cast Shakespeare’s young adults as teenaged characters, using adaptations to tell the story of today’s teens coming of age. In this course, we’ll study several Shakespeare plays and current versions them, including film, fiction, music and even a production of Romeo and Juliet conducted entirely over Twitter. Why do so many artists choose to represent present-day teen culture through Shakespeare? And can the notion of a “teen” protagonist productively be applied to Shakespeare’s plays?

CITY B201. Intro to GIS/Environmental Analysis

Ganapathy Narayanaraj
This course is designed to introduce the foundations of GIS with emphasis on applications for social and environmental analysis. It deals with basic principles of GIS and its use in spatial analysis and information management. Ultimately, students will design and carry out research projects on topics of their own choosing.

HART B373. Contemporary Art in Exhibition: Museums and Beyond

Carrie Marie Robbins

How does the collection and display of artwork create meanings beyond the individual art object?  In recent decades, enormous shifts have occurred in exhibition design as artwork projected from the walls of the museum, moved outdoors to the space of the street, and eventually went online.  We will study an array of contemporary exhibition practices and sites in their social and historical contexts, including the temporary exhibition, “the white cube,” the “black box,” museum installations, international biennials, and websites.  During the seminar, we will examine how issues such as patronage, avant-gardism, globalization, and identity politics have progressively brought museums and other exhibition spaces into question.

ESEM 028/029. Changing Our Story: Shifting Identities, Altering Environments

Jody Cohen/Anne Dalke

Grounding ourselves in the domains of identity matters and ecological studies, we ask how different dimensions of human identity (such as race, class, gender, sexuality and religion) affect our ability to act in the social and natural worlds; simultaneously, we look at how these spaces shape and re-shape our identities and actions, individually and collectively. Our cross-disciplinary approach re-examines personal experiences through the differing orientations of the humanities, social sciences and sciences. Seeking fresh understandings, we revisit well-known examples of children’s literature, alongside Eli Clare’s memoir,Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation; Elizabeth Kolbert’s “unnatural history,”The Sixth Extinction; and one novel; as well as essays by community activists and educators Teju Cole, Paulo Freire, Van Jones, and Eve Tuck. Students will be using new “webby posts” option on Serendip, which uses the online course platform to the show the relationships between ideas.

Haverford College

ENVS H348. Walter Benjamin on Lancaster Avenue

Andrew Friedman

This course mixes a readings seminar in the work of the German-Jewish philosopher and critical theorist Walter Benjamin with an inquiry into the history of American modernity, using Benjamin of the Philadelphia and Lancaster, PA. It culminates in a collective project of digital scholarship, based in semester-long student-faculty collaboration in archival research on Lancaster Avenue.

HIST H216. Social Justice Traditions: 1960s to Occupy Wall Street

Andrew Cornell

A historical study of the civil rights, antiwar, counter-culture, and feminist initiatives of the 1960s. This course will explore how progressive and radical activists adjusted their theories and strategies after the 60s as the country became more conservative in the 1970s and 1980s. Making use of movement documents, documentary films, and a variety of other sources, the course traces the development of LGBTQ, ecological, and economic justice initiatives up to the present day.

ICPR H250. Theory and Practice of Exhibition: Objects, Images, Texts, Events

John Muse
An introduction to the theory and practice of exhibition and display. This course will supply students with the analytic tools necessary to understand how exhibitions work and give them practical experience making arguments with objects, images, texts, and events.

PEAC H300. Against Death: Opposing Capital Punishment in American Literature and Culture

Lindsay V. Reckson

This course examines the history of literary and cultural responses to capital punishment in the U.S., from the introduction of privately conducted state-sanctioned executions in the 1830s to the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. We’ll explore the anti-death penalty movement through literature, photography, and film, with an emphasis on the relationship between politics and aesthetics; interwoven histories of race, gender, class, and criminality; and the connection between capital punishment, media, and other technologies of social power.

SOCC H270. Measuring Education

Matthew McKeever
This course explores contemporary political movements to measure learning outcomes in educational institutions. It covers such topics as NCLB legislation, standardized testing for college admissions, assessment of college education, and development of online learning tools.

SPAN H322. Politics of Memory in Latin America

Aurelia Gomez Unamuno
This course explores the issue of memory, the narration of political violence and the tension between truth and fiction. A selection of documents, visual archives and documentary films are compared with literary genres including testimonies memories, diaries, poetry, and fiction writing. This course also compares the coup and dictatorship of Pinochet, with the repression of the student movement of 68, and the guerrilla warfare in Mexico.


One Response to “Fall 2014”

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