Final Project

2 minute read

Complete by: Tue. 8 June, 8pm CST

Your final project for the course will build on something you’ve already been doing over the course of the semester. You can choose one of the two options below.

By Thursday 27 May, you will send me a brief email saying which option you’ve chosen and the topic of your project.

On the last day of class, Tuesday 1 June, you’ll have a chance to say something about the project you’ve started. This is listed as a “presentation,” but it’s really just an informal way of telling your classmates what you’ve been up to.


Take one or more of our course texts (the first chapter of Americanah, or a selection of Dickinson poems, for example) and transform it into a different medium. This could mean creating a material version of the text (i.e. building your own book, scroll, or poster), turning the text into a series of social media posts, converting the text into a list of counts (as in the Text as Interface workshop), transferring a text to XML, or trying to express the text in a non-linguistic mode (as in the Stop Sign workshop). You’ll have a lot of freedom to think about creative possibilities. You can use techniques we learned in the workshops or bring in any other techniques you choose.

Here are a few examples:

  • an Instagram account for Emily Dickinson’s poems, where each image represents a poem and the texts themselves are the captions
  • Areopagitica as a series of words and their counts, showing how often Milton talks about books and printing
  • Ifemelu’s blog posts from Americanah formatted as an actual blog, or as a set of XML documents
  • A scene from The Staple of News as an audiorecording

The main purpose of this assignment is to think about what happens to the text when it is taken from one form to another. Along with your transformed text, you’ll turn in a 750-word reflection that describes the ways the text was changed by your intervention and how these changes relate to the histories of text technologies that we covered in class.


Expand on the historical comparison you made in your midterm assignment. Using your midterm as a first draft, you’ll add an additional historical example that sheds new light on your topic. Having three examples of the same phenomenon at different points in history will allow you to think about the development of certain emotional responses to technology over time.

You’ll also bring in one or two secondary sources that comment on the phenomena you’re describing. For example, if you’re talking about the earliest days of the printing press, you might use Ann Blair’s book Too Much to Know (which we discussed in class) to establish that the 16th century was a time of anxiety around information.

You will revise what you’ve already written as you add your new section. You should try to add about 1000 new words, for a total of 2000-2500 words.

Requirements (for both assignment types):