Teaching the Digital Humanities


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  • I’d like to frame my presentation by raising the question …There are as many answers to this question as there are people who call themselves “digital humanists”For example, see the wiki page on this topic that was create fro Geoff Rockwell’s Day of Digital Humanities projectI actually have an answer to this question that I have subscribed to, implicitly and explicitly, which forms that foundation …
  • The courses I’ve taught were designed from this perspective
  • Teaching the Digital Humanities

    1. 1. Teaching the Digital Humanities<br />Rafael C. Alvarado, Ph.D.<br />Associate Director of SHANTI<br />University of Virginia<br />
    2. 2. What are the “digital humanities”?<br />See http://bit.ly/ci7Tuy<br />
    3. 3. Features of DH<br />A set of methods and practices, not a humanities discipline per se<br />Applied to traditional humanities disciplines<br />The humanities as those disciplines concerned with interpreting the "records left by man [sic]“ (Panofsky)<br />Focusing on (1) the use of digital media to represent both primary and secondary sources<br />Especially texts and images<br />and (2) to engage in scholarly communication<br />But to a lesser degree<br />
    4. 4. Features of DH<br />With a specific history<br />Outgrowth of “humanities computing”<br />Use of TEI, emphasis on graph theory, GIS<br />Closely related to (and merging with) fields of<br />Media Studies<br />Instructional Technology<br />New Media <br />And in productive tension with more recent developments <br />Digital storytelling<br />Edupunk<br />
    5. 5. Representation is the key term in this definition<br />Specifically a practical and critical understanding of the uses and effects of digital representation in a pervasively networked medium (the web)<br />The digital humanities is therefore also about what happens to scholarship when text and image become digital?<br />
    6. 6. The particular approach I take to understanding digital representation borrows from the work of John Unsworth, former director of IATH at UVA <br />See “Knowledge Representation in Humanities Computing,” “What is Humanities Computing and What is it Not,” and “Scholarly Primitives”<br />See also A Companion to the Digital Humanities<br />http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companion/<br />
    7. 7. Undergraduate Curricular Courses<br />Art History and Technology<br />Freshman Seminar (1990, 2001)<br />Art History at Princeton (as Assoc Dir of Educational Tech Ctr)<br />Introduction to the Digital Liberal Arts<br />3000 and 7000 level course<br />Media Studies at UVA (Spring and Fall 2010)<br />Part of SHANTI’s effort to create a Digital Humanities minor<br />“digital liberal arts” thought to be more inclusive than DH<br />Dataesthetics<br />Follow-up course to Intro<br />To be taught next semester (so won’t cover today)<br />Theory and practice of database-driven web applications<br />
    8. 8. Art History and TechnologyFRS113 and FRS163<br />Content<br />Roman Art and Archaeology (Professor John Pinto)<br />Themes<br />Connected art historical classification to database design and use<br />Connected Panofsky (Iconology) and Kubler (Shape of Time) to data modeling and SQL<br />Activities<br />Students engaged in hands-on classification exercises<br />Students built out a complete record in Almagest<br />Students presented an argument based on their work<br />Exemplary work on Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne<br />
    9. 9. 2001 Syllabus <br />
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    12. 12. Introduction to the Digital Liberal ArtsMDST 3703/7703<br />Content<br />HC and DH itself, from V. Bush to Clay Shirky<br />Mesoamerican archaeology (to a limited extent)<br />Themes<br />Thematic Research Collections (Palmer 2004)<br />What is scholarship?<br />Activities<br />Critical exploration of existing DH work (IATH, etc.)<br />Create database-driven web site of museum data (as a group)<br />Or: Create WordPress-based thematic research collection<br />
    13. 13. Spring 2010 Syllabus <br />
    14. 14. Fall 2010 Syllabus <br />
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    20. 20. Commons Features<br />Dual track design<br />Combined Seminar and Studio (aka Lab)<br />Collections-driven pedagogy<br />Builds on the embarrassment of riches in DH product<br />Leverages the “Rationalization Effect”<br />Moves focus from product to process of scholarship<br />DH as Knowledge Representation<br />Classification as a practice, not a given<br />Database and Narrative<br />Awareness of symbolic forms: essay, film, database<br />Core tension in both scholarship and social media<br />
    21. 21. Common Learning Goals<br />Media Fluency<br />How to produce messages, not just consume them<br />How to consume critically<br />Historical Knowledge<br />History of hypertext, hypermedia, the web, etc.<br />Theoretical Knowledge<br />E.g. Lexia, symbolic form, structuralism, etc.<br />Design Sensibility<br />
    22. 22. “The main goal of this course is to give you the opportunity to become a new kind of scholar, one who is able to use digital media to effectively present ideas and arguments in the academic field of your choice, either for your own work or as part of a faculty-led project.”<br />
    23. 23. Issues Arising<br />What are we producing? Scholars, technologists, both?<br />We want hybrids sure, but the reality is different<br />Topic focused?<br />Degree and kind of technology training in the course?<br />Basal technological literacy<br />Should everyone know how to edit video? Program? (Campbell vs. Ramsay)<br />Team teach?<br />Practical vs. Critical approaches <br />
    24. 24. Observations<br />Don’t try to cram a curriculum into a course<br />Less is more<br />Hands-on is key<br />Don’t do everything by computer<br />Use theory, but don’t overwhelm<br />Connect to content (e.g. history of the web followed by HTML)<br />