Spring 2016 Courses

A list-in-progress of some of the digital humanities – related courses being offered across the Tri-Co during Spring 2016.  You can also view past courses from Spring 2015 and Fall 2014.

Are you teaching or taking a course that belongs on this list? Tell us about it.

Bryn Mawr

ANTH 359 | Digital Rome | Morton

How is architecture used to shape our understanding of past and current identities? This course looks at the ways in which architecture has been understood to represent, and used to shape regional, national, ethnic, and gender identities in Italy from the Renaissance to the present. The class focuses on Rome’s classical traditions, and looks at the ways in which architects and theorists have accepted or rejected the peninsula’s classical roots. Subjects studied include Baroque Architecture, the Risorgimento, Futurism, Fascism, and colonialism.

Working in small groups, students will create digital reconstructions (primarily in SketchUp) of select ancient Roman cities in North Africa and will try to answer a deceptively simple question, what determined the urban fabric of these ancient cities? This course will examine the ‘individuality within regularity’ of Roman cities, and our analysis will focus on major cities such as Carthage and Lepcis Magna. Readings from current critical scholarship will drive our weekly discussions. There are NO computer / digital modeling pre-requisites.

CMSC 330 | Algorithms Design and Practice | Cooper

This course examines the applications of algorithms to the accomplishments of various programming tasks. The focus will be on understanding of problem-solving methods, along with the construction of algorithms, rather than emphasizing formal proving methodologies. Topics include divide and conquer, approximations for NP-Complete problems, data mining and parallel algorithms. Prerequisites: Prerequisite: CS206 and CS231.

ENGL B375 | Sex on Screens | Nguyen

This course will provide a historical and theoretical overview of the ways moving image sex acts have been represented on screen, from early cinema’s silent film loops to today’s celebrity sex tapes. We will examine the ideological operations of sex in the cinema and aim to comprehend the multifarious ways viewers, filmmakers, critics, and scholars respond to dominant conceptions of sex-sexuality through alternative cinematic production and critical scholarship. Units include: stag movies, the Production Code and ratings system, European art cinema, sex ed, underground and the avant-garde, cult / sexploitation / blaxploitation, sexual revolution, hard core, women’s cinema, home video, queer cinema, HIV/AIDS, the digital revolution, feminist porn, and the Internet. Prerequisites: HART / COML B110: Identification in the Cinema; or ENGL / HART 205: Introduction to Film; or ENGL B299 History of Narrative Cinema, 1945 to the Present. Counts toward Gender and Sexuality Studies. Counts toward Film Studies.

HIST 303 | Topics in American History: History in Public: Race, Gender and Campus Memory | Mercado

This course explores the theoretical and methodological challenges that surround the public preservation and presentation of history in spaces like museums and archives. Students will learn the skills professionals use to communicate historical scholarship to wider audiences and will grapple with the issues around expanding history’s stakeholders. Drawing on the rich history of Bryn Mawr College as our primary case study, we will focus on histories of race and gender in the U.S. context as they intersect with elite higher education; the challenges of building institutional memory; and the processes of collecting and exhibiting the experiences of diverse alumnae/i, faculty, and staff. Over the course of the semester, we will gain experience in archives and special collections research, oral history, and digital methods, and contribute to the building of contemporary collections documenting Bryn Mawr campus life.

EALCB281 | Food in Translation (part of 360 on Food and Communication) | Shiamin Kwa

This semester we will explore the connections between what we eat and how we define ourselves in the context of global culture. We will proceed from the assumption that food is an object of culture, and that our contemplation of its transformations and translations in production, preparation, consumption, and distribution will inform our notions of personal and group identity. This course takes Chinese food as a case study, and examines the way that Chinese food moves from its host country to diasporic communities all over the world, using theories of translation as our theoretical and empirical foundation. From analyzing menu and ingredient translations to producing a short film based on interviews, we will consider the relationship between food and communication in a multilingual and multicultural world. Readings include theoretical texts on translation (Apter), recipe books and menus, Chinese and Chinese-American literature (Classic of Poetry, Mo Yan, Hong Kingston). Films include Ian Cheney’s “Searching for General Tso,” Wayne Wang’s “Soul of a Banquet” and “Eat a Bowl of Tea,” Ang Li’s “Eat Drink Man Woman,” and Wong Karwai’s “In the Mood for Love.”


ARTSH 224 | Computer and Printmaking | Kim

Computer-generated images and printmaking techniques. Students will create photographic, computer processed, and directly drawn images on lithographic polyester plates and zinc etching plates. Classwork will be divided between the computer lab and the printmaking studio to create images using both image processing software and traditional printmaking methods, including lithography, etching, and silk-screen. Broad experimental approaches to printmaking and computer techniques will be encouraged. Individual and group critiques will be employed. Prerequisite: An introductory printmaking course or permission by portfolio review.

ARTSH213 | Experimental Media: Theory, History, Practice | Muse

A study of experimental film, experimental video, and conceptual art, all of which have influenced our current media culture. Students will analyze the technical features of video, study themes that dominate the history of experimental film, and produce films and media installations. Crosslisted: Independent College Programs, Fine Arts; Enrollment Limit: 15 Humanities (HU)

CMSC 207 | Data Science and Visualization | Friedler

An introduction to techniques for the automated and human-assisted analysis of data sets. These “big data” techniques are applied to data sets from multiple disciplines and include cluster, network, and other analytical methods paired with appropriate visualizations.; Pre-requisite(s): (CMSC 105 and CMSC 106) or CMSC 107 and CMSC 231 or permission of the instructor; Enrollment Limit: 24; Lottery Preference(s): ; 1.) Senior computer science majors; 2.) Senior scientific computing concentrators; 3.) Junior computer science majors; 4.) Junior scientific computing concentrators; 5.) Sophomores and Freshmen; 6.) Computer Science Minors and Concentrators Natural Science (NA)

COML 320 |  Science as Fiction | Henkel

Taught in English. How does scientific knowledge inform and influence literature? How do scientific texts make use of literary strategies and rhetorical devices in order to produce and disseminate new knowledge? Bringing together primary texts from the history of science with key literary works from Goethe to cyberpunk, this seminar will introduce students to the interdisciplinary study of relations between science and literature. Despite disciplinary divisions, literature and the sciences converge strikingly in terms of their shared objects of inquiry, theoretical assumptions, and representational strategies. We will investigate how foundational concepts in the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, psychology, and cybernetics have profoundly shaped modern fiction. While taking seriously scientific claims of truth and objectivity, we will also discuss how scientists have historically drawn on the resource of fiction as a form of knowing and communicating. Primary texts will include works by Goethe, Mary Shelley, Poe, Mesmer, Darwin, Zola, Bram Stoker, Ernst Mach, Musil, Kafka, Einstein, Calvino, Norbert Wiener, Pynchon, and William Gibson.

SPAN 206 | Digitally Narrating Second Language Identities | Lopez-Sanchez

An exploration of the students’ experience in bicultural/bilingual home, or abroad, and of the subjectivities they develop through their use of a second/foreign language. Reading of biographical texts by bilingual authors, and articles on the role of language in the construction of the self. Prerequisite: Interning/studying/ knowing 2+ languages, or permission of the instructor. Enrollment Limit: 15 Humanities (HU)

WRPR 171 | Truth and Techno-Identity: Digital Auto/Biographies | Mercurio

An examination of the ways in which we communicate autobiographical truth online. Through class activities and small-group tutorials, students will hone their skills as critical readers, writers, and speakers. Readings by Sherry Turkle, Eli Pariser, Judith Butler, and Stuart Hall. Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. Enrollment Limit: 12

English 347b | Spectacle and Spectators in London Literary Culture | McGrane

“Our sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our senses. It fills the mind with the largest variety of ideas, converses with its objects at the greatest distance, and continues the longest in action without being tired or satiated with its proper enjoyments.” -Addison, The Spectator Papers 411

This course explores the act of seeing and the status of ‘the seen’ in eighteenth century literature and culture. How does one recognize oneself in a crowd? How does one represent and interpret the detail and grit of a city street, the artistic complexity of a painting or print, the visual excess of a theatrical performance, the grisly violence of public dissections, and the strangeness of scientific experimentation? In a burgeoning urban arena—a social space in which power resided with those who could “read” consumerism, taste, character, and knowledge—readers and viewers learned to convert faces, clothing, even postures, into meaningful texts. Relying on theorists of the imagination and the visual, including David Solkin, Pierre Bourdieu, Peter de Bolla, Michel de Certeau, and W.J.T. Mitchell, we will examine both the pleasures and the troubling implications of aesthetics, criminality, and the visual in eighteenth-century British literature. We will also explore formal developments in the art industry of the period and the methods by which authors represented the visual in fiction, drama, and poetry. Course Requirements: Students will submit weekly “thought experiments,” an interpretive paper of 6-8 pages, and a final essay of 15 pages on a topic of their choosing. Students will also participate in seminar discussions and prepare presentations on topics related to London visual culture. While this is not an art history course, students will be encouraged and expected to “read” prints and paintings as a regular part of the syllabus. In fact, visual culture will be a key element of the course. In addition students will be encouraged to use digital archives, including ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online), to create original scholarship.


ART 21 | Art and Technology | Feliz

This course examines the intersections of art and technology across a wide range of art and popular media. Beginning with an exploration of a set of aesthetic and cultural production that includes 16th century woodcuts, 17th century cabinets of curiosity, 18th century magic lantern shows, and 19th century stereoscopes and panoramas, the course will provide historical context for a consideration of the role that various forms of technology have played in shaping art and culture in the 20th and 21st century. Through class trips to local museums and galleries, classroom and online discussions, guest lectures, readings, screenings, and creative experiments in art and technology, this course will reflect on emerging technologies and their historical origins to understand the ways in which the relationships between humans and machines continue to evolve in our contemporary cultural context.

CPSC 21 | Introduction to Computer Science | Multiple Instructors

This course presents fundamental ideas in computer science while building skills in software development. Students implement algorithms as programs in a high-level programming language. Introducing object-oriented programming and data structures allows students to construct correct, understandable, and efficient algorithms. CPSC 031 and CPSC 035 present a deeper coverage of these topics. CPSC 021 is appropriate for all students who want to be able to write programs. It is the usual first course for computer science majors and minors. Students with Advanced Placement credit or extensive programming experience may be able to place out of this course. Students who think that they may fall into this latter category should consult with any computer science faculty member.

CPSC 35 |  Data Structures and Algorithms |  Palmer

This course completes the broad introduction to computer science begun in CPSC 021. It provides a general background for further study in the field. Topics to be covered include object-oriented programming in C++, advanced data structures (trees, priority queues, hash tables, graphs, etc.) and algorithms, and software design and verification. Students will be expected to complete several programming projects illustrating the concepts presented. Prerequisite: CPSC 021 or equivalent. Discrete Mathematics is recommended. Natural sciences and engineering practicum. Lab work required.

ENGL 111 |  Victorian Literature and Culture (Victorian Novel Research Seminar) | Buurma

This research-intensive honors seminar centers around two simple central questions: *How are Victorian novels made?* and *How is scholarship about Victorian novels made?* We will focus on the Victorian novel as both a genre and a material object, examining it within the context of the broader world of Victorian literature and culture in order to examine the ways in which the Victorian novel was both product and producer of its historical moment. We will explore the possibilities for rethinking canonical twentieth-century theories representational theories of novelistic realism, following a recent flourishing in Victorianist criticism on referentiality in order to ask how Victorian novels may be said to refer to the real worlds their authors and readers inhabited. In order to study this theoretical question, we will turn to the set of practices and processes through which Victorian novelists gathered the things of the world into their novels: research. Reading several major and minor Victorian novels, we will trace different forms of evidence of the ways their authors searched sets of documents, took notes, and organized information to perform research of all kinds in the library and on the streets. We will examine the published and unpublished commonplace books, notecards, papers, files, and marginalia of Victorian novelists both canonical and forgotten along with published descriptions of these novelists’ research practices and their representations of research in the novels they wrote. We will engage with criticism and theory from a number of fields, including book history, theories of materiality, historicisms old and new, theories of narrative and realism, genetic and textual criticisms, bibliometrics, media history, and digital humanities.

This class will help you develop our skills in research in print, digital, and manuscript or typescript sources; how to use and evaluate a range of databases and digital tools; how to think about citation practices as substantive and central to our work as scholars of literature. It will asks to examine your own implicit and explicit research practices and habits, and (in some cases) to experiment with modifying them or developing new ones. This class will collaborate with Nabil Kashyap, McCabe’s Librarian for Digital Initiatives and Scholarship, as we learn to incorporate various computational elements into our work, from the basics of plain-text authoring, citation management, and keeping an open research notebook to using digital tools to help us analyze individual novels and groups of novels. We will also collaborate with a Swarthmore English Department Digital Fellow in Data Visualization to conceptualize and realize a series of visualizations of data drawn from individual novels and a larger corpus.

ENGL 097 | Literary Data Visualization Independent Study | Buurma

For the Spring 2016 English Department Digital Fellow program. Readings in the history and present of data visualization, with a special emphasis on the practice of creating and visualizing literary datasets using D3 in collaboration with Nabil Kashyap and the Victorian Novel Research Seminar.

ENGR 2 |  Physical Computing: Interacting With the Real World | Cheever

This course examines ways in which electronics and computers can be connected to the real world. Students explore the use of sensors like those in the Nintendo WiiChuck, actuators like motors and solenoids, and simple displays like multi-color LED’s. These systems will also be WiFi enabled to become part of the Internet of Things. This course is intended primarily for those with little or no experience in electronics or programming who want to learn how to make computers and electronics interact with the real world. Natural sciences and engineering practicum.

FMST 002 | Digital Film Fundamentals | Evans

This course introduces students to the expressive possibilities and rigors of the film medium while offering a sound technical foundation in digital production and post-production. We will explore documentary, experimental, and narrative approaches and also consider the opportunities and limitations-conceptual, practical and aesthetic- of exhibiting work through different venues and platforms. Emphasis will be on using the formal and conceptual palette introduced in the course to develop one’s own artistic vision. Coursework includes short assignments, discussions, screenings, and a final project. Prerequisite: FMST 001.

FMST 005 | First-Year Seminar: Special Effects and Film Spectacle | Rehak

Focusing on the history and theory of spectacular media culture with an emphasis on visual effects and other forms of behind-the-scenes industrial knowledge, this class introduces students to the basics of studying and writing about spectacle in film, television, and digital entertainment, exploring questions such as the relationship between style and technology; formal and narrative principles of “showstoppers” such as musical numbers and fight scenes; and issues of realism and illusion, visual pleasure, sensory immersion, capitalism, cultural worth, and ideology.

FMST 41 | Fan Culture | Rehak

Explores the history, philosophy, and impact of fandom in film, television, and new media. Drawing on methodologies including reception and audience studies, feminism, performance, cultural studies, ethnography, and convergence theory, we will consider topics such as the evolution of celebrity and “cult” status; the creation and sharing of fan fiction and vids; gendered, queer, and cis identities in fan culture; relationships between fandom and industry; and fans’ use of digital social media. Screenings include serial and episodic TV, camp and “trash” cinema, narrative and documentary films, and fan-generated content.
Eligible for GSST credit if all papers and projects are focused on GSST topics.

FMST 090 |  Film and Media Studies Capstone: Trans-Media Theories and Practices | Simon and White

This course will explore theories and practices of adaptation and remediation in and across film, television, videogames, event tourism, theater and online environments. Working with leading critics like Linda Hutcheon, G.P. Landow, Jay Bolter, Henry Jenkins, Jill Rettberg, Elizabeth Evans, Katherine Hayles and others, we will investigate case studies driven largely by student interests and research foci. The course has an optional production component for modules and/or the final project and will culminate in an installation/exhibit.

HIST 044 | American Popular Culture | Dorsey

The history of entertainment and cultural expression in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present. This course challenges students to ask: What is “culture” and cultural history? What is the relationship between cultural creators and audiences? Topics may include: theater, minstrelsy, side shows, dime novels, amusement parks, Wild West shows, vaudeville, movies, radio, TV, sports, zoot suits, popular music (Blues, Jazz, Rock-and-roll, Punk, and Hip Hop), and digital entertainments.

HIST 90I | Technologies of the Cold War in Africa | Burke

This is a course in the history of technology, broadly imagined, and how the material and conceptual capacities of technologies structured experiences of the Cold War and its aftermath in African societies. Students will focus in particular on the AK-47, land mines, “structural adjustment,” and fertilizers, but other technologies may be examined as well. The class will look to develop direct material or applied understanding of these technologies in addition to working with archival and interpretative materials.

LING 009 | Languages of Fear, Racism, and Zombies (First Year Seminar) | Thomas

Both racism and fascinations with the living dead are expressions of fear. Using films including Night of the Living Dead, and texts such as The Zombie Survival Guide, this seminar will consider the apocalyptic turn in contemporary media. Together, we will examine the origins of multiple zombie myths to explore societal notions of difference and change, language and power, masculinity , alienation, and the colonial foundations of modern linguistics across the African continent, in particular. Finally, we will interact with local survival horror fan communities to understand the role of language in the growing popularity and significance of this widespread media phenomenon.

RELG 044 | Reading Comics and Religion | Chireau and Koltun-Fromm

This course focuses on how notions of Religion and the Sacred arise in comics and graphic novel texts. Drawing upon world religious traditions, the course will explore how comics use both text and image to frame spiritual identity, sacred practice, and religious experience. Using comics as primary sources, the class will engage the expression, imagination, and critical interpretation of religion through close readings of comics as texts, with analysis of their visual forms. Coursework includes weekly lab meetings within a digital media maker’s space. The course will culminate with the production of student-created comics, which will be developed over the semester and supervised by an artist-in-residence. This is a Tri-College course.

STAT 011 | Statistical Methods |  Wang,  Schofield

STAT 011 prepares students to carry out basic statistical analyses with the aid of computer software. Topics include basic summary statistics and graphics, design of surveys and experiments, one and two-sample t-tests and tests of proportions, chi-square tests, and an introduction to linear regression and analysis of variance. The course is intended for students who want practical introduction to statistical methods and who intend to do, or think they may eventually do, statistical analysis, especially in the biological and social sciences. Students who receive credit on entrance for the Statistics AP Exam should not take this course; they have placed out of it and will lose their AP credit if they take it.
Note that STAT 011 overlaps considerably with ECON 031; both courses cover similar topics, although ECON 031 focuses more on economic applications while STAT 011 draws examples from a variety of disciplines. Prerequisite: Four years of traditional high school mathematics (precalculus).

STAT 31 | Data Analysis and Visualization | Wang

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. Prerequisite: Credit for AP Statistics, STAT 011, STAT 061S, or ECON 031; or STAT 001 and permission of the instructor. Writing course.

THEA 004D | Integrated Media Design for Live Performance | Webb

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the application of various visual and audio technologies in live theater and dance performance. Discussion of the historical and theoretical context of contemporary mixed-media performance will be combined with an orientation to the available technologies found at Swarthmore and beyond. The class will include the conceptualization and preparation of a series of individual studio projects. The course is designed to serve all students regardless of prior experience in theater production.


Note: This listing includes courses that related to computationally-assisted humanities and humanistic social sciences work very broadly defined –  including using digital tools to do work in humanities and humanistic social sciences, using humanities and humanistic social sciences tools to describe, analyze, and critique digital forms and tools, possible prehistories of digital forms of reading, writing, publication, and knowledge organization, and more. Some courses include a single relevant strand or a few relevant weeks, or support students who choose to do digital humanities work; others are fully focused on the field.


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