Intro to DH Statement

ENGL 2930: Introduction to the Digital Humanities

Spring 2014 | T and R 2:00 – 3:15

Dr M C Morgan
Dept of English
HS 314 | | 218 755 2814 | @mcmorgan

URL to course site:



The Digital Humanities is a fairly new study of the intersection of technology and the traditional humanities. UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities defines the Digital Humanities this way:

Digital Humanities interprets the cultural and social impact of new media and information technologies—the fundamental components of the new information age—as well as creates and applies these technologies to answer cultural, social, historical, and philological questions, both those traditionally conceived and those only enabled by new technologies.

This course is designed to give you the opportunity to study and practice the digital humanities. In practice, Digital Humanities is not just about reading and thinking; it’s about doing and making. This course focuses on learning about DH through hands-on engagement with and manipulation of DH materials in the tasks of curating.


We will work with a set of current topics in the DH. Your job as individuals and as a group will be to investigate, substantiate, and critique some of the practices, claims, and issues involved in each topic.

How? By curation. We’ll take the first couple of weeks to introduce and practice curation, but, in short, curation is what you’ll do to investigate the DH instead of writing papers and taking tests. Curating is a way of thinking through a subject, of learning and of demonstrating that learning, while at the same time contributing new material to the study of DH.

Curating is fundamentally an analytical and critical method involving

  • gathering
  • annotating
  • discussing
  • selecting
  • sequencing
  • publishing

Curation means making arguments through words, images, sounds, and objects, and presenting them for public consideration and response. But that’s not as scary as that sounds.


Your broadest goal in this course is to take the opportunity to develop “a humanistic understanding of [the] culture’s relationship to the technology of the moment” (Jones, 156), using methods and critical tools used in anthropology, sociology, history, rhetoric, linguistics, and information studies. My goal is to make that opportunity possible.

So, by the end of the course, if you take the opportunities offered,

  • You will have demonstrated an understanding of the methods, range, and issues in the DH by way of curating sources.
  • You will have demonstrated critical appraisal of the evidence around DH by way of curating sources.
  • You will be able to apply the curatorial method of critical analysis practiced in the class to other topics, as demonstrated in your final project.

Public Work

Your work for this course will be posted on or linked to this blog ( It is not a private blog but public. All visitors can view materials but only registered users – that’s you – can add to them. Working in a public space has become the norm in many professions; it is the way the DH operate. This is a good opportunity to get comfortable with it.


If I revise this syllabus during the semester, I’ll let you know and will mark the changes.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

From the BSU Academic Integrity Policy: Honesty in academic work.

Original work, except as specifically agreed or stipulated by the instructor, or explicitly and exactly acknowledged within the work itself, or both. Facts, ideas, analyses, and interpretations gleaned from external sources, as well as quotations and paraphrases, must be scrupulously identified and acknowledged, except for those facts and ideas which are so generally and freely circulated as to be part of the public domain. <;
When in doubt, identify and acknowledge – including anything you use from the web or internet.

For the rest, refer to the IntroToDH_FAQ.


To request accommodations or other services for this class, contact Disability Services, Sanford Hall 201, 218-755-3883, email



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