Introduction to DH

ENG 429/529: Intro to Digital Humanities

Fall 2013

Christopher M. Ohge

Contact Information

Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to the history, methodologies, and practices of digital humanities (DH). In addition to being a survey of DH as an emerging discipline, the course will show how digital tools enhance or reshape literary and cultural studies, scholarly editing, and the study of material objects in virtual spaces. As DH is a practical enterprise by nature, you will be expected to engage in hands-on projects that use digital tools to enlighten your current research or creative interests.

We will also investigate several technologies relevant to digital scholarship and editing, including eXtensible Markup Language (XML), the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), Adobe Creative Suite, and platforms such as WordPress and Omeka. Each week will be divided into two sessions, the reading/lecture portion (a discussion of readings) and the demo/lab portion (blog responses as well as practical exercises with digital resources).


Schreibman, Susan, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, eds. A Companion to Digital Humanities. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

Schreibman, Susan, and Ray Siemens, eds. A Companion to Digital Literary Studies. Oxford: Blackwell, 2007.

Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

The above texts will be supplemented by online and reserve readings.


You’re required to do at least six blogs, all of which should be about 500 words and include pointed questions. The list of responses/questions must be posted to the class by 9 p.m the evening before class meets.

Mid-Term Essay

A 2000-word essay. Topics to be determined.

Text Encoding Exercise and Reaction Paper

An exercise in encoding a literary work in TEI and a 500-word paper reflecting on the exercise.

DH Project

A small-scale project using some digital tool, with a 2000-word essay.

Attendance and Participation

Students are expected to attend and participate in class discussions, and turn in assignments on time.

Should you have to miss class, you are required to email me before the class begins. You are responsible for any material that you missed in class; you should ask your fellow classmates for help with the notes, and also feel free to come into my office hours if you need additional assistance.


3 September 2013 [Virtual]

  • Introduction

5 September, Perspectives on DH

10 September, Perspectives

12 September, Applications: Topic Modeling, Distant Reading [Virtual]

17 September, Topic Modeling; Disciplines: Classics [Virtual]

19 September, Disciplines: History

24 September, Disciplines: Literary Studies [Virtual]

26 September, Disciplines: Literary Studies

1 October, Editions and Annotation [Virtual]

3 October, New Media and Materialities

  • Marshall McCluhan, Introduction to Understanding Media
  • Response by Christopher Ricks
  • Kirschenbaum, Matthew. “Introduction: ‘An Awareness of the Mechanism.” Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008. 1-23.
  • Hayles, Katherine N. “Print is Flat, Code is Deep: The Importance of Media-Specific Analysis.” <>, Poetics Today 25.1: 67-90.

7–10 October, Digital Humanities Week

TEI Workshop [Virtual]

15 and 17 October (No class), but continue TEI Projects! And read:

  • Kirschenbaum, Matthew. “‘Every Contact Leaves a Trace’: Storage, Inscription, and Computer Forensics.” Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008. 25-71.

22 October, Materialities; TEI Workshop

24 October, TEI Project Presentations

29 October, TEI Project Presentations

31 October, XSLT

  • Transforming TEI: A Quick and dirty intro to XSLT

November 1: Mid-Term Essay due

5 November, Digital Curation / Speculative Computing / Scalable Reading

Speculative Computing & DATA [Virtual]

  • Drucker, Johanna.”Introduction: The Background to SpecLab.” SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Projects in Speculative Computing. xi-xix.
  • Drucker, Johanna.”From Digital Humanities to Speculative Computing.” SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Projects in Speculative Computing. 3-30.

7 November, Data Visualization

12 November, E-Lit [Virtual]

  • E-Lit demonstration

14 November, Spatial Humanities

  • Nowviskie, Bethany. “‘Inventing the Map’ in the Digital Humanities: A Young Lady’s Primer.” Poetess Archive Journal 2.1 (2011): n. pag. Web.
  • Franco Moretti, “Maps” from Graphs, Maps, Trees.
  • Neatline demonstration
  • Non linear mapping: Scalar

19 November,  [Virtual]


21 November, NINES / Publication / Projects and Archives

Peer Review [Virtual]

November 26, 28: Thanksgiving Break (no class)

3 December, Book Club [Virtual]

  • Read and discuss Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

5 December, Book Club

  • Read and discuss Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

10 December, DH Project Presentations

  • 10-minute presentation of your DH project

13 December: Final Project portfolio due

More resources:

Randomness in Literary Computing

Skills package for DHists:

Cultural theory & code / Coding Crime:

DH Novels


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s