This course will focus on the intersection of digital culture and literary studies. Students will learn how to use digital tools to study literature. Simultnaeously, they will use literary analysis approaches to study contemporary digital culture.
Digital technologies make it possible to study and communicate about literature and culture in new ways. Today, we can create interactive maps of ancient cities with geolocation data, use machine learning algorithms to discover patterns of characterization across thousands of novels, and apply methods from network science to visualize the correspondence of spies in Renaissance Europe. We can also draw on insights from history, philosophy, religion, linguistics, literary studies, and other humanities disciplines to study digital culture itself—for example, to understand how race and gender are represented on social media, or to analyze the artistry and themes of a video game. This class lays the foundation for the Digital Humanities minor by giving you the opportunity to experiment with a variety of tools and approaches; to develop (or deepen) a critical orientation toward digital culture; and to identify your values and your goals as a consumer and maker of electronic media. You do not need to identify as a tech whiz to succeed this class, but you must have an open mind about exploring these subjects.
Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.
Lower-division Elective courses allow students to choose (or “elect”) courses or faculty specific to their own developing interests, enabling them thereby to shape their own educational experience. Major II students can also use one lower-division elective to fulfill the Writing Requirement with ENG 209 The Craft of the Sentence.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.
Digital Humanities Minor courses integrate literary study with the use of digital tools and technologies. Students in the minor learn how to make interpretive arguments by building digital archives and maps, interacting with digital games, using web-based publishing platforms, and visualizing data. The minor pays particular attention to the culture of creation in literary and cultural analysis.