Note to faculty: if you know of courses relevant to the digital humanities slated to be offered at Rutgers, please write the initiative co-directors, Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan and Francesca Giannetti.

Spring 2023

Italian 16:560:670:01 Digital Humanities: Methods, Project Management, and Sustainability. Graduate. Lisa Tagliaferri.

In this seminar, participants will learn and practice technical tools and methodologies in order to develop and workshop a digital humanities project that intersects with their research agendas and goals. This course will introduce and examine a variety of digital approaches to doing humanities research, and will review successful examples of digital humanities projects. We will consider how to develop viable and sustainable projects that are well-scoped, maintainable, and accessible to the target audience (whether that audience consists of experts or the general public). Participants are invited to begin with a humanistic research question that can be explored through digital methods, manage a project through testing and feedback, release the project to the public, and create a longevity strategy.

History 16:534:587 Introduction to Public Humanities. Graduate. Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan.

This is the core course for the new Public Humanities Graduate Certificate.

Public humanities involves ‘the work of moving humanistic knowledges among individuals and groups of people.’ This course surveys the landscape of the field through a theory / method / practice model that invites students to explore the work of public humanists from conception to conclusion. Students will learn about different methodologies, key principles, and case studies within the public humanities, alongside opportunities for hands-on experience with digital humanities and community-engaged scholarship methods and tools. We will learn from and speak with practitioners and scholars who across subsections of the field, visit local sites and agencies engaged in public humanities work, explore project management techniques and best practices, and network with local practitioners. Students should be prepared to ask and answer questions, “read” the built environment, analyze curated spaces, objects, artifacts, and digital interfaces, and most importantly, challenge themselves to practice the collaborative, interdisciplinary work that defines the public humanities.

Fall 2022

English 359:207 Data and Culture. Undergraduate. Andrew Goldstone and Meredith McGill.

The digitization of wide swaths of the print record has opened up new challenges and opportunities for researchers in the humanities. This course introduces students to some of the key techniques used by humanities scholars to organize, manipulate, and analyze digital sources—attending both to longstanding scholarly institutions and practices that shape our understanding of digital texts (critical editions, brick-and-mortar archives, and quantitative methods within social, political, and cultural history) and to new methods for studying texts, cultural geography, and relations between and among producers and consumers of culture.

Students who complete this course will develop facility in the use of digital tools for the representation, curation, and analysis of digital texts, including TEI markup, Omeka (a publishing platform for digital collections), network and mapping tools, and data visualization software. In each case, however, we will place these relatively new tools within a longer history of humanistic inquiry and will ask: what insights can these tools provide, and what questions (and texts) do they marginalize or occlude? Our aim throughout is to examine how digitization and data science have changed the questions that humanists can ask of their sources. What does it mean to think of culture as data? What new histories do these tools and methods help us uncover? In what ways has digitization helped and hindered the ability of humanities disciplines such as history, literary studies, and art history to provide an understanding of the past that can speak to urgent questions in the present moment?

Requirements include two short papers and a final project which may be a digital project (data analysis, digital exhibit, etc.) or an essay.

This course fulfills the CCO-2 and AHp Core Curriculum requirements. It is also a Domain class for the Data Science certificate and minor.

Spring 2022

Italian 16:560:670:01 Digital Humanities Theories and Practices. Graduate. Lisa Tagliaferri. Wednesdays, 4:30-7:10pm AB – 5050.

This course will provide a practical and theoretical approach to the Digital Humanities, the computational humanities, and their intersections with the Public Humanities. Balancing practical guidance on tools and methodologies with modes for entering into the research of participants, the course will foster experimentation with and critical exploration of digital scholarship coupled with humanistic inquiry. We will have labs on Linux, multilingual humanities data, static websites, Python, and data visualization. With an emphasis on the historical literary humanities, we’ll broaden our discussion to include current scholarship in the digital archives and digital pedagogy (especially within language and literature) to provide us with breadth for understanding the diversity of the field. The class is taught synchronously remote over zoom.

Byrne 01:090:101:18. Data Mining in the Humanities. Undergraduate. Francesca Giannetti.

Spring 2021

English 01:359:315 Reading With Your Laptop. Undergraduate. Sean Silver.

Computers are changing how we read. If you have ever googled a word you didn’t know, or used COMMAND-F to locate a word in a digital file, then you are already reading with your laptop. Even more potent methods are emerging within literary analysis and allied fields. This course will introduce you to them.
Reading With Your Laptop is designed around a single, end-of-term individual project on a text or body of texts of your choice. For the first ten weeks, course readings will be fairly light. They will include a couple of novels and a play. The light reading load will give us the time and space to learn the rudiments of R, and experiment as a group with a few emerging approaches of digital literary analysis.
During the last five weeks, you will design and pursue an independent project, using tools you learned in the first part of the course. You will choose your own texts, develop a research question, compile and clean your data, and write the code to produce an analysis.

Italian 16:560:691 Digital Humanities: Theories and Practices. Graduate. Isabella Magni.

What are the digital humanities? How is the digital changing the way we read and interpret literary and historical texts? What do we mean when we talk about digital projects? And how do we “make” them? In this online graduate seminar, we will trace the development of humanities scholarship in the digital age; discuss advantages and challenges in the application of computational and digital methods as humanities scholars; reflect on, learn and practice a number of digital methods and tools to encode, analyze and visualize texts and objects in the digital environment. This seminar will include a combination of in-class discussions, study of primary sources and hands-on digital workshops. Students will also have the chance to participate in an ongoing NEH-funded digital project. No previous digital knowledge or computational skills of any kind are required. Conducted in English.

Fall 2020

History 01:512:237 Data: A Social History. Undergraduate. Jamie Pietruska.

What, if anything, is new about “Big Data” in the 21st century? How is data made, rather than simply “found”? This course examines the “datafication” of American society: how and why data became central to government, business, and daily life in the United States from the 19th century to the present day. From early American almanacs to 21st-century algorithms, data has been produced, managed, and used by public and private institutions as well as individuals to calculate, control, and predict myriad aspects of society. This course will uncover the surprising histories of census data and identity documents, credit scores and economic indicators, SAT scores and opinion polls, digital databases and data visualizations, weather forecasting and climate modeling, and baseball statistics and biometric data—and their implications for today’s debates over security, privacy, democracy, and inequality in the age of “Big Data.”

Spring 2020

Italian 16:560:691 Textual Studies and Digital Humanities. Graduate. Isabella Magni.

What are the digital humanities? How is the digital changing the way we read and interpret literary and historical texts? What do we mean when we talk about digital editions? And how do we “make” them? In this graduate seminar we will trace the development of textual scholarship and editorial theory in the digital age; study literary and historical texts as material documents; challenge our preconceived notions of printed and digital-born texts; trace the ways in which editions influence what we read, how we read, and what we accept as historical fact or textus receptus.

This “learning by doing” seminar will include a combination of in-class discussions, study of primary sources and hands-on digital workshops. We will reflect on, learn and practice digital methods to encode and visualize texts in the digital environ-ment, including (but not limited to) XML and TEI markup. Students will also have the chance to participate in ongoing digital projects.

No previous digital knowledge or computational skills of any kind are required.

Spring 2019

Italian 16:560:691 Thinking Digitally as a Humanities Scholar. Graduate. Laura K. Morreale.

The goals of this mini-seminar are to re-situate humanities scholars in the DH ecosystem, to reaffirm their skills as fundamental to any computer-enabled humanities undertaking, and to provide students digitally-oriented options and approaches to their scholarly work (aka, “thinking digitally”). This class posits that the subject-expert’s role in collaborative digital initiatives always advances in partnership with information scientists and academic technologists. Any successful DH project will require the expertise of all these workers, and it is, above all, the ability of the humanities researcher to think digitally and work co-operatively with librarians and technology specialists that promotes profitable and effective DH work.

All seminar participants will take part in a unified class project to facilitate hands-on familiarity with digital methodologies and work-flows. Since our project will explore text located in the Rutgers University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, students will consider a source digitally that they will also consult materially. Access to both the material and digital forms of our target source will invite students to think critically about what can and cannot be achieved with digital methods and encourage them to wield digital tools effectively in future scholarly efforts.

Fall 2018

American Studies (RU-N) 26:050:533 Intro to Digital Public Humanities: Black Digital Humanities. Graduate. Mary Rizzo

Thursday, 5:30-8:10pm, Newark campus. This course will introduce students to the emerging field of Black Digital Humanities. As scholar Kim Gallon writes, “the black digital humanities help to unmask the racialized systems of power at work in how we understand the digital humanities as a field.” What is the relationship between digital humanities and African American Studies? What can each field learn from each other?  In addition to readings, in lab sessions students will learn digital technologies, which may include blogging, social media, mapping, and archiving, applying theory to praxis. We will discuss applying for grants to fund digital projects in the humanities as well.

American Studies 01:050:389 Junior Seminar: Digital Humanities. Undergraduate. Andy Urban.

Wednesday, 3:55-6:55 pm. This course will explore the emergent field of the digital humanities, and how identities, ideas, social behavior, and communication get mediated through digital technologies and mediums. Topics considered may include the meaning of community and civil society in a virtual or cyber age; how digital technologies contribute to the production and reproduction of information; how virtual and digital realities get explored in works of fiction; the research uses of digital archives, databases, and cyber ethnography; and, the tension between human existence as a physical, embodied set of practices, and human existence as a set of digital connections and experiences.

Spring 2018

Byrne 01:090:101:28 (13681). Data Mining in the Humanities. Undergraduate. Francesca Giannetti.

Comp Lit 16:195:516:01 Topics in Comparative Literature: Novel/ Medium—Julio Cortázar and Others. Graduate. Andrew Parker.

Tuesday 4:30-7:10 pm, AB-4052 (CAC). While the availability of mass print has long been recognized as a condition of the novel’s inception as a genre, most scholars continue to approach the novel as though its media histories were extrinsic and contingent. The nineteenth-century serialized novel—with each monthly installment concluding with a climactic event—is one well-studied exception, of course. But there are many other exceptions that take us beyond the novel’s print forms, from the radio drama to the telenovela to the comic book to the novel written after a film. This seminar will ask whether these exceptions might generate a rule: what if the novel’s relation to its media can be considered a constitutive feature of the genre, an inherent part of what makes a novel a novel? While we will test this hypothesis with examples drawn from a range of periods, languages, and narrative styles (many of which will be chosen by the seminar’s own students), our main text will be Julio Cortázar’s 1963 novel Rayuela/Hopschotch, which we will read retrospectively as an experiment in hypertext avant la lettre. (The instructor is at work on a collaborative, bilingual, digital edition of this novel.)

Comp Lit 16:195:519:M1 Topics in Comparative Literature and Other Fields: Virtual Travel and the Panoptic Self: For an Archaeology of Virtual Reality in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century. Graduate. Massimo Riva.

Six Friday meetings (Jan 19, Feb 2 and 9, Mar 9 and 30, Apr 20), 4:30-7:10 pm, AB-5050 (CAC). Cross list: 16:560:691:01. In this six-Friday seminar, we will explore an archaeology of virtual reality in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through five case studies focused on Italy as a “virtual” country and on historical figures of Italian modernity, representative of broader social, political and cultural dynamics. Each case-study focuses on an optical tool or spectacle: the mondo nuovo or cosmorama, the polemoscope, the magic lantern/ phantasmagoria, the moving panorama, and stereoscopic photography. Primarily designed, or adopted, for entertainment and education, these media have this in common: they let the user/spectator see the world in a different dimension by impacting sensory perceptions in ways not dissimilar from those of our contemporary digital media. Each case study thus cuts across the fields of literature, art history, military history, the social history of technology, media archaeology, mobility studies, in order to explore five genealogical dimensions of the modern “panoptic Self”: virtual travel, social voyeurism, phantasmagoric consumption, instant history and stereoscopic memory are presented here as defining aspects of modern popular culture. Taught in English.

History 01:506:299 History Workshop: Immigration Case Files and Stories of Restriction and Deportation. Undergraduate. Andrew Urban.

During the Spring 2018 semester, the focus of the “History Workshop” will be on primary sources that document the United States’ attempts to regulate and restrict immigration from 1882, when the first Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, to 1965, when nationality and racial quotas were eliminated from federal law. Over the course of the semester, students will use these sources and insights gleaned from secondary readings to curate an online exhibition that examines major themes in US immigration history.

History 01:506:303 Digital History: Scarlet and Black Project. Undergraduate. Jesse Bayker.

Wednesdays, 1:10-4:10pm. This course offers an overview of digital history as a field, including how it originated out of the fields of public history and humanities computing. Students will examine the theory and debates that guide digital history practice. We will explore a range of tools for historical research and the dissemination of historical information to varied audiences, including digital exhibits, mobile applications for historic sites, digital archives, research databases, and digital mapping tools. The course includes a practical component in connection with the Scarlet and Black Project. Scarlet and Black is a public history project that explores the experiences of African Americans and Native Americans at Rutgers University. Students will work collaboratively to develop the Scarlet and Black Project Digital Archive using the Omeka platform.

Spring 2017

Byrne Seminar 01:090:101 28 15148. Data Mining in the Humanities. Undergraduate. Francesca Giannetti.

Fall 2016

American Studies 050:333:01 Cultures of Consumption. Undergraduate. Andrew Urban.

This course surveys the cultural and social impact of markets, and changes to how we consume goods and services, from 1492 to the present. We’ll examine, among other topics, the historic tensions and conflicts between societies defined by the production of goods and services  and those organized around consumption; the relationship between consumer practices and the condition of laborers; the impact that consumption has on the environment and different ecologies; how consumerism has empowered, exploited, and governed ideas about race, gender, and sexuality; how consumption has changed with the development of the advertising industry; and, the politics and economics of debt. This class will combine serious analysis with more “playful” fieldwork and artistic interpretation. Activities will include a trip to NYC to examine various stores as living habitats for consumerism, and the maintenance of a class website where we will deconstruct the different logics of marketing. Cross-listed with History 512:333:01.

Spring 2016

American Studies (RU-N) 26:050:522 Introduction to Digital Public Humanities. Graduate. Mary Rizzo.

Mondays, 5:30-8:10pm. What happens when we make digital humanities public? What about when we take the public humanities and make them digital? This in-person graduate seminar will explore the history, theory and methods of the digital humanities and the public humanities and, especially, their intersection. We will use and critically examine digital tools like Omeka, mapping software, content management systems, and social media to put theory into practice. By the end of the semester, students will have conceptualized a digital public humanities project, written a grant application for potential funding, and built a prototype.

English 358:215 Introduction to 21st Century Literature. Undergraduate. Richard Miller.

What will emerge as the dominant literary form of the 21st century? Will it be the graphic novel? Or the serialized drama (i.e. Breaking Bad,Orange is the New Black, etc.)? Or the ephemera of the web (i.e., blog posts, fan fiction, youtube videos)? Or video games (i.e., Fallout, Assassins Creed, etc.) Or creative nonfiction? Or will it remain the novel?

Humans are hard-wired to be storytellers, but storytelling itself has been transformed by the shift from paper to the screen as the assumed final destination for human expression. This shift in the default technology for human expression has occurred around the stunning act of violence that inaugurated the beginning of the 21st century: the attacks on September 11th, 2001. Accordingly, we will consider how the technological change and the launch of The War on Terror together have altered both the how and the what of literary expression. Our ultimate goal is to consider what forms literacy, “the literary,” and aesthetics take in post-9/11 literature.

History 506:303 Mapping the Past: A Spatial History of the United States. Undergraduate. Cameron Blevins.

Fall 2015

American Studies 01:050:400 Advanced Topics in American Studies: Public Histories of Detention and Mass Incarceration. Undergraduate. Andrew Urban.

This course gives students the opportunity to work on a public history exhibition and series of digital projects, in collaboration with the Humanities Action Lab, New Jersey Digital Highway, Newest Americans Project, and Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center, on the history of detention and mass incarceration in the United States. The resulting projects will be exhibited online and in museums and galleries across country – from New York City to Riverside, California to Nashville, Tennessee. This course’s contribution to the project will focus on the history of Seabrook Farms, a frozen foods’ processing facility and company town in southern New Jersey that housed and employed Japanese American and Japanese Peruvian detainees, migrant agricultural laborers contracted from the Caribbean and U.S. South, German POWS, and Estonian and other Eastern European refugees displaced by World War II.

Byrne Seminar 01:090:101 Section 42 Index 11453 Data Mining in the Humanities. Undergraduate. Francesca Giannetti.

Spring 2015

English 350:509 Literary Data: Some Approaches. Graduate. Andrew Goldstone.