Digital Humanities


This track allows students to focus on the ways in which technology can assist in the analysis and understanding of literature and textual information.

Course options with computational/digital focus:

CDT 20310 Topics in Linguistics taught by Hana         Kang (FALL)
This course offers a comprehensive understanding of digital literacy in relation to teaching and researching language acquisition. Students will learn a variety of digital writing technologies and be trained to think critically about cultural and communicative consequences of the digital media. Students will also gain the critical perspective and literacy tools needed to actively apply in language teaching and researching.


CDT 30330 Introduction to Digital History taught by TBD (NOT OFFERED AT THIS TIME)
Technological tools increasingly provide historians new means of accessing, organizing, analyzing, and disseminating scholarly research.  This course introduces students to the practice of digital history—the practices and principles by which historians engage new media conventions.  Though primarily a hands-on class, readings on theories and methods as well as the consequent discussions make substantial components of the course.  Students will read about and evaluate digital examples as well as produce major digital history projects.  Every element of project management (data collection, organization, analysis, and presentation) will receive attention.  Technological knowledge is not required to take this course though general computer literacy would benefit students.

CDT 30340 History of San Francisco taught by Lindsey Passenger Wieck (NOT OFFERED AT THIS TIME)
Gold miners & dreams of riches, hippies & drugs, the Castro & Harvey Milk ? popular images of San Francisco are colorful and controversial. In this course, we?ll explore topics like these to trace San Francisco?s adventurous and provocative history. We will also use primary sources including oral history, art, film, newspaper articles, and photographs to examine the rise of a Latino community in the Mission District. As we construct a case study of the Mission, we will investigate the role of radical politics, racial identity, and art and culture in San Francisco neighborhoods. Emphasizing digital history and writing for a public audience, this course will ask students to research and write like historians, producing historical content to share online about the history of San Francisco.

CDT 30360 Introduction to Digital Humanities taught by Dan Sinykin (SPRING)
Can computers help us read better? What would it mean to read distantly rather than closely? How is big data challenging traditional modes of study in the humanities? The emergent field of digital humanities asks these questions, and others like them. This course offers an overview of the field, including current practices that might include computational analysis, digital mapping, information visualization, and the production of digital exhibits. Students from all disciplinary backgrounds are welcome. The course will culminate with students producing a DH project on a topic of their choosing. No programming experience required.

CDT 30375 Literary Geographies of Gender: Computer-Assisted Study of Gender and Geography in 19th- and 20th- Century taught by Liz Evans (SPRING)
In this course, students and the professor will operate as a research team, each taking on particular tasks according to individual interests and all working towards a common goal: understanding how the geography of nineteenth- and twentieth- century British fiction was influenced by gender. Do novels show that men had more freedom of mobility than women? How did the author’s gender influence what places and kinds of places they represented? Did the importance of gender change throughout the centuries, as it’s often assumed? We’ll strategize how to test large-scale hypotheses about gender, geography, and time using a variety of resources and techniques, including a large collection of geographic data extracted from British novels. The Center for Digital Scholarship instructional team will offer workshops on digital tools including Voyant, GIS (geographic information system), information visualization, machine learning (such as topic modeling and document clustering and classification), and on scholarly research. In consultation with the professor, students will be able to choose how they contribute to the project, gaining experience that will support their own research interests and professional aims. This is a 1-credit course but, with the instructor’s permission, students may opt to take it for 2 or 3 credits. While prior experience with digital tools, programming, and/or nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction would be useful for the group, the course has no prerequisites. Everyone will join the class with different background knowledge and will learn through hands-on experience. Students may be at any stage of university education, from first year through graduate studies.

CDT 30380 Text Mining the Novel taught by Matt Wilkins (SPRING)
A course in quantitive and computational approaches to analyzing large bodies of text. Broadly speaking, the course covers text mining, content analysis, and basic machine learning, emphasizing (but not limited to) approaches with demonstrated value in literary studies. Students will learn how to clean and process textual corpora, extract information from unstructured texts, identify relevant textual and extra-textual features, assess document similarity, cluster and classify authors and texts using a variety of machine-learning methods, visualize the outputs of statistical models, and incorporate quantitative evidence into literary and humanistic analysis. Most of the methods treated in the class are relevant in other fields. Students from all majors are welcome. No prerequisites, but some programming experience strongly recommended. Taught in Python.

CDT 40310 Natural Language Processing taught by David Chiang (FALL)
Computers process massive amounts of information every day in the form of human language. Although they do not understand it, they can learn how to do things like answer questions about it, or translate it into other languages. This course is a systematic introduction to the ideas that form the foundation of current language technologies and research into future language technologies.

Course options without computational/digital focus (only one is allowed):

CDT 30320 Technologies of the American Novel (ENGL 30000 level) taught by Kate Marshall (NOT OFFERED AT THIS TIME)
In this course, we will consider the intertwined histories of the American novel and technology, and ask what this intersection has to tell us about the varieties of modernity emerging in American culture from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day. From media devices such as wireless transmitters, printing presses, and computers to highway and underground transit systems, or from robotics to movement machines such as elevators and escalators, technologies work as the settings for novelistic action, the agents of literary production, and the topics through which novels ask big questions about the place of the human in an increasingly mechanized world.

In novels by Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, Philip K. Dick, Patricia Highsmith, Colson Whitehead and Nicholson Baker, we will bring these technologies, often invisible because of their ubiquity, to the surface, and read their cultural histories alongside the literary texts. Students will be asked to complete an intellectual autobiography, one short close-reading paper and two mid-length papers, as well as short writing assignments related to the course reading. Active participation in class discussions and heightened awareness of the technologies mediating everyday life are a must.

Course options without computational/digital focus (only one is allowed):

CDT 30370 Models of the Human Person taught by Mark Graves (FALL)
How can one understand theological aspects of the human person using computational methods? Drawing upon neuroscience and the psychology of religion, one can model cognitive and linguistic aspects of human moral, religious, and spiritual development and exemplarity in ways amenable to computational analysis and simulation. The course will focus on using broadly applicable, semantic analysis techniques from artificial intelligence to extract meaning from classic and contemporary texts that are significant for theological anthropology, Christian spirituality, and moral theology.