Course Materials

Many of our materials are available online, and all relevant links are in the class schedule below. In addition, we’ll use these four books:

  • Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren Klein, Data Feminism (Open access, free web copy:, or ISBN 9780262044004 if you prefer a physical copy)
  • Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (ISBN 1479837245)
  • Roopika Risam, New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy (ISBN 9780810138858, 25% off from NU Press with code NUP19)
  • Ted Underwood, Distant Horizons: Digital Evidence and Literary Change (ISBN 9780226612836 or ebook ISBN 9780226612973)

Class Schedule

n.b. Keep in mind that some of this schedule could change throughout the quarter. However, if anything changes I’ll be sure to give you plenty of advance notice.

17 Sept Introductions

Kirschenbaum, “What Is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments?”
Noble, “Toward a Critical Black Digital Humanities”
Spiro, “‘This is Why We Fight’: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities”

Google Ngram Viewer
EEBO Ngram Browser

24 Sept What are Data?

Data Feminism: “Introduction: Why Data Needs Feminism” and 6. The Numbers Don’t Speak for Themselves
Gitelman and Jackson, “Introduction” to ‘Raw Data’ is an Oxymoron (Available online at NU Library site. Let me know if you need a PDF.)
Miriam Posner, “How did they make that?”

[For all of the above, use the sample datasets and explore the tools’ attitudes toward data.]
The Data-Sitters Club

1 Oct Histories and Archives

Discussion Leader(s): Eliza

Buurma and Heffernan, “Josephine Miles and the Origins of Distant Reading”
Hockey, “The History of Humanities Computing”
McGann, Radiant Textuality, read Chapter 4: Deformance and Interpretation, skim Chapter 5: Rethinking Textuality (I will distribute a PDF.)

The Rosetti Archive
Sea and Spar Between

8 Oct Describe, Analyze, Compute

Discussion Leader(s): Min Li, Eshan

Alpert-Abrams, “Machine Reading the Primeros Libros
Benjamin, Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, Introduction and Chapter 3, Coded Exposure: Is Visibility a Trap? (available online via NU Library)
Binder, “Alien Reading: Text Mining, Language Standardization, and the Humanities”

The Princeton Prosody Archive
Digital Harlem
Viral Texts
Colored Conventions

15 Oct Modeling

Discussion Leader(s): S., Sam

Underwood, Distant Horizons: Chapter 1, “Do We Understand the Outlines of Literary History?” and Chapter 3, “The Long Arc of Prestige”
Gavin, Jennings, Kersey, Pasanek, “Spaces of Meaning: Conceptual History, Vector Semantics, and Close Readings”

Cultural Analytics (browse articles)
Open Syllabus
Underwood, Chapter 4 “Metamorphoses of Gender”
McGrath, “America’s Next Top Novel”

22 Oct Networks

Discussion Leader(s): Chris, Avey

Ahnert & Ahnert, ‘Metadata, Surveillance, and the Tudor State’, History Workshop Journal 87 (2019) (I will distribute a PDF.)
Weingart, “Demystifying Networks, Parts I & II”
Zer-Aviv, “If Everything is a Network, Nothing is a Network”

Six Degrees of Francis Bacon
Mapping the Republic of Letters
Network Analysis + Digital Art History
All One People Under One King

29 Oct Visualization

Discussion Leader(s): Jessica, Maria

Drucker, “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display”
D’Ignazio and Klein, Data Feminism, Chapter 7: “Show Your Work”
Wickham, “A Layered Grammar of Graphics”

revisit RAWGraphs
TimelineJS (especially the “Women in Computing” example)
The Decolonial Atlas
Two Plantations
West River Inscriptions

5 Nov Pedagogy and Publics

Discussion Leader(s): Sreddy, Rio

Risam, New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy, Introduction, Chapter 4: “Postcolonial Digital Pedagogy,” and Conclusion: A Call to Action
Nowviskie, “Reconstitute the World” and Change Us, Too

Torn Apart/Separados – Make sure to look at Volumes 1 & 2
Mapping Police Violence
Collections as Data
DH Syllabi Collection
Directory of Caribbean Digital Scholarship Data Sheet — This indexing project is currently in-progress. Take a look at Alex Gil’s tweets from the last few days, publicizing the effort and encouraging others to contribute.

12 Nov New Media Possibilities and Limitations

Discussion Leader(s): Serena, Emily

Noble, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, Chapter 1: A Society, Searching, Chapter 5: The Future of Knowledge in the Public, and Conclusion
Walsh, “Tweets of a Native Son: The Quotation and Recirculation of James Baldwin from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter”
Weingart, “The Route of a Text Message, A Love Story”

Documenting the Now
Tweets of a Native Son
Algorithmic Accountability: A Primer

19 Nov Final Class

We’ll reserve some time here for you to choose readings based on your interests. We’ll also briefly discuss everyone’s final projects.

Two articles from PMLA 135.1 (Jan. 2020) Varieties of Digital Humanities:
Alan Liu, “Toward a Diversity Stack: Digital Humanities and Diversity as Technical Problem”
Élika Ortega, “Media and Cultural Hybridity in the Digital Humanites”
(If you have time, you might also look at Booth and Posner’s introduction to the issue.)