Most of our readings are available online. Those that aren’t (they don’t have a hyperlink) can be downloaded in this course packet. The zip file is password-protected; I will give you the password in class.

Unit 1: Genealogies

September 3: The Medium & the Message

  1. Friedrich Kittler, “The History of Communications Media”
  2. Marshall McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message”
  3. Alan Liu, “Imagining the New Media Encounter”
  4. N. Katherine Hayles, “How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine”
  5. Matthew Kirschenbaum, introduction to Mechanisms
  6. Julia Flanders, “The Productive Unease of 21st-century Digital Scholarship”
  7. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun And Lisa Marie Rhody, “Working the Digital Humanities: Uncovering Shadows between the Dark and the Light”

and, of course...

  1. Lisa Spiro, “Getting Started in Digital Humanities”

Unit 2: Texts

Software required for this unit: install the free trial of the oXygen XML editing suite on your computer and Omeka on your website

September 10: Texts and/as Data

Guest speaker: Julia Flanders, Northeastern University English Department and Digital Scholarship Group


  1. Jerome McGann, “The Rationale of Hypertext”
  2. Susan Schreibman, “Digital Scholarly Editing”
  3. Michael Witmore, “Text: A Massively Addressable Object”
  4. Lisa Gitelman and Virginia Jackson, Introduction to Raw Data is an Oxymoron
  5. The TEI, “A Gentle Introduction to XML”


  1. D.F. McKenzie, “Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts”
  2. Dino Buzzetti and Jerome McGann, “Electronic Textual Editing: Critical Editing in a Digital Horizon”
  3. Trevor Owens, “Defining Data for Humanists: Text, Artifact, Information or Evidence?”
  4. Alexis C. Madrigal, “How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood”

Practicum #1a: Markup & Metadata

September 17: Archive Fever


  1. Bethany Nowviskie, “Digital Humanities in the Anthropocene”
  2. Sarah Werner, “Where Material Book Culture Meets Digital Humanities” 
  3. Martha Nell Smith, “Democratizing Knowledge”
  4. Amy E. Earhart, “Can Information Be Unfettered? Race and the New Digital Humanities Canon”
  5. Lauren F. Klein, “The Image of Absence: Archival Silence, Data Visualization, and James Hemings”


  1. Jacques Derrida, “Archive Fever” (at least the 1st? section, before? the Preamble…)
  2. Ken Price, “Edition, Project, Database, Archive, Thematic Research Collection: What’s in a Name?”
  3. Jeffrey Schnapp, “Animating the Archive”
  4. Frederick W. Gibbs and Trevor J. Owens, “The Hermeneutics of Data and Historical Writing” 

Practicum #1b: Markup & Metadata

September 24: Distant Reading

Guest workshop leader: Benjamin Schmidt, Northeastern University History Department


  1. Stephen Ramsay, “The Hermeneutics of Screwing Around; or, What You Do With a Million Books”
  2. Tanya Clement, “Text Analysis, Data Mining, and Visualizations in Literary Scholarship”
  3. Matthew L. Jockers, Macroanalysis (Read at least Part I closely)
  4. Ted Underwood, “We Don’t Already Understand the Broad Outlines of Literary History” and “Topic Modeling Made Just Simple Enough”
  5. Lisa M. Rhody, “Topic Modeling and Figurative Language”


  1. Franco Moretti, “Conjectures on World Literature”
  2. Daniel J. Cohen and Frederick W. Gibbs, “A Conversation with Data: Prospecting Victorian Words and Ideas”
  3. Benjamin Schmidt, series on whaling logs and digital history:
  1. “Data narratives and structural histories: Melville, Maury, and American whaling”
  2. “Logbooks and the long history of digitization”
  3. “Melville Plots”
  4. “Machine Learning at sea”
  5. “When you have a MALLET, everything looks like a nail”
  6. “Where are the individuals in data-driven narratives?”
  7. “Reading digital sources: a case study in ship’s logs”
  8. “Military History and data: the US Navy in World World II”

Practicum #2: Text Analysis

September 30: NULab Talk: Katherine Bode, "Digital Humanities and Digitized Newspapers: The Australian Story," 12 PM in Curry Student Center, Room 342

October 1: On Hacking

Guest speaker: Moya Z. Bailey, Northeastern University Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


  1. Stephen Ramsay, “On Building” and “DH and CS” 
  2. Tara McPherson, “Why Are the Digital Humanities So White? or Thinking the Histories of Race and Computation”
  3. Moya Z. Bailey, “All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave”
  4. Natalia Cecire, “Theory and the Virtues of Digital Humanities”
  5. Paul Fyfe, “Digital Pedagogy Unplugged”


  1. Adeline Koh, “More Hack, Less Yack?: Modularity, Theory and Habitus in the Digital Humanities”
  2. Elizabeth Losh, “Hacktivism and the Humanities: Programming Protest in the Era of the Digital University”
  3. Mark Sample, “Building and Sharing (When You’re Supposed to Be Teaching)”

Practicum #1c: Metadata and Markup

Unit 3: Maps

Software required for this unit: install all three Omeka plugins that make Neatline run (Neatline, Neatline Simile Timeline, and Neatline Waypoints) on your website.

October 8: The Spatial Turn


  1. Jo Guldi, “What Is the Spatial Turn?” and at least two of the disciplinary perspectives
  2. David J. Bodenhamer, “The Potential of Spatial Humanities”
  3. Denis Wood, “A Map Is an Image Proclaiming Its Objective Neutrality”
  4. Matthew Wilkens, “The Geographic Imagination of Civil War-Era American Fiction”
  5. Johanna Drucker, “Humanistic Theory and Digital Scholarship”


  1. Richard Wright, “What is Spatial History?
  2. Peter Turchi, “Metaphor: or, the Map”
  3. Seth Long, “Digital Maps and Social Data”

Practicum #3a: Thick Mapping

October 15: Thick Mapping


  1. Bethany Nowviskie, “Neatline and Visualization as Interpretation” 
  2. Ian Gregory, “Exploiting Time and Space: A Challenge for GIS in the Digital Humanities”
  3. Nedra Reynolds, “Maps of the Everyday: Habitual Pathways and Contested Places”
  4. Lev Manovitch, “What Is Visualization?”


  1. Philip J. Ethington, “Placing the Past: ‘Groundwork’ for a Spatial Theory of History” (and, if you wish, some of the responses)
  2. Betrum H. MacDonald and Fiona A. Black, “Using GIS for Spatial and Temporal Analyses in Print Culture Studies: Some Opportunities and Challenges”
  3. Jason Farman, “Mapping the Digital Empire: Google Earth and the Process of Postmodern Cartography”

Practicum #3b: Thick Mapping

Thursday, October 16: William Noel Talk, “The Open Book: Medieval Data in the 21st Century”

4:00pm, 346 Curry Student Center, Refreshments Served!

William Noel is the Director of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts and Founding Director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Noel’s expertise is medieval illuminated manuscripts and he is a vocal advocate for open, accessible humanities data. He is best known for overseeing the Archimedes Palimpsest project, which used multispectral imaging to reveal unique texts from the ancient world that were erased in the 13th century. Dr. Noel also teaches classes on medieval manuscript books and digitization at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School.

Unit 4: Networks

Software required for this unit: download and install Gephi on your computer

October 22: Only Connect

(Virtual) Guest Speaker: Jack Jen Gieseking


  1. Scott B. Weingart, “Demystifying Networks, Parts I & II”
  2. Elijah Meeks, “More Networks in the Humanities or Did Books have DNA?”
  3. Fiona M. Barnett, “The Brave Side of Digital Humanities”
  4. Jen Jack Gieseking, “Opaque is Being Polite: On Algorithms, Violence, & Awesomeness in Data Visualization”
  5. Roopika Risam, “The Race for Digitality”


  1. Alexis Lothian and Amanda Phillips, “Can Digital Humanities Mean Transformative Critique?”
  2. Tom Scheinfeldt, “The Dividends of Difference: Recognizing Digital Humanities’ Diverse Family Tree/s”
  3. Browse Historical Network Research

Practicum #4a: Visualizing Networks

October 29: <Vectors> New Materialism 


  1. Bethany Nowviskie, “Resistance in the Materials”
  2. Matthew Kirschenbaum, “Software: It’s a Thing”
  3. N. Katherine Hayles and Jessica Pressman, Introduction to Comparative Textual Media
  4. Jentery Sayers, “Creative Humanities? Built Humanities?” and browse UVic’s MakerLab
  5. ——, “Tinker-Centric Pedagogy in Literature and Language Classrooms” 


  1. Bill Brown, “Thing Theory”
  2. Matt Ratto and Robert Ree, “Materializing Information: 3D Printing and Social Change”
  3. Media Archaeology Lab

Practicum #4b: Visualizing Networks

Unit 5: Coda

November 5: Project Development Workshop

Peer-led; Professor Cordell away

November 12: <Vectors> On Disruption

Guest Speaker: Roopika Risam, Salem State University English Department


  1. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, from Planned Obsolescence (Introduction, “Peer Review” chapter, browse other chapters as interest dictates)

note: the interface for PO is a bit odd. Make sure to use the arrows at the top to move between the sub-sections of chapters. The sections are about the length of blog posts, but the chapters are comprised of several sections.

  1. Roopika Risam, “Rethinking Peer Review in the Age of Digital Humanities”
  2. Johanna Drucker, “Pixel Dust: Illusions of Innovation in Scholarly Publishing”
  3. Bethany Nowviskie, “It Starts on Day One”
  4. Mark L. Sample, “What’s Wrong with Writing Essays”


  1. Stephen Brier, “Where’s the Pedagogy? The Role of Teaching and Learning in the Digital Humanities”
  2. Ian Bogost, “MOOCs are Marketing”

November 19, 5:30-8:00pm: Dinner at the Cordell House and Final Project Pecha Kucha Presentations