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Readings and Assignments for English 149

The first eight classes of the course focus on selected readings designed to start students thinking about how contemporary "digital humanities" methods complement, alter, or challenge the way we study literature (for example, by contrast with the "close reading" methods that . These classes run in instructor-led discussion mode. From Class 9 on, the course enters its workshop mode where everything is geared toward the making of team projects. Some of workshop classes will also feature student presentations of their projects-in-progress; others will be pure "studio" or "lab" sessions giving team members a chance to work side by side in consultation with the instructor.


Solo assignment = Solo assignment  Team assignment = Team assignment


1. "Digital Humanities" and Literary Study: A Primer


Class 1 (Oct. 6) — Introduction

  • Introduction to the course and to "digital humanities"
    • Video of instructor's welcome and introduction to the course: .avi | .mov | .wmv (to be played in class by an assisting English Dept. staff member if the instructor is still on jury duty on this date)
  • Course enrollment business
    • Attendance will be taken of registered students and of students on the course wait list.  A sign-up sheet will be passed out for other students wishing to take the course.  Students must come to first three class meetings to hold their place in the course.)


Class 2 (Oct. 8) — From "Close Reading" to "Distant Reading"

      For each class, please read the assigned texts & other works prior to class:

Course "practicums" are hands-on, small-scale exercises that ask students to experiment at a beginner's level with the tools of the digital humanities.  Each practicum should be completed before class, resulting in a "souvenir" of the exercise left on the Student Work site. (General instructions for practicums)


Class 3 (Oct. 13) — Graphing Literature


Class 4 (Oct. 15) — Mapping Literature

Solo Assignment Create a bio for the course wiki, including your intellectual interests. (See Assignments: Solo Assignments: Student Bio)


Class 5 (Oct. 20) — Encoding Literature


Class 6 (Oct. 22) — Text-Analyzing Literature

Team Assignment Teams to be formed in class on this date. (See Assignments: Team Preparatory Tasks)


Class 7 (Oct. 27) — Playing Literature

  • Gaming
    • Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, "Game Design and Meaningful Play" [PDF] from Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (2004)
    • Play an example of "interactive fiction": Andrew Plotkin, The Dreamhold (2004) (click on "Play On-line" at upper right of page).  If you want to be able to save your location in the game, you'll need to download and install a "Z-code" or "Z-machine" interpreter program for interactive fiction and also the dreamhold.z8 file containing story (see the links at the upper right of The Dreamhold page).
  • Simulating
    • NetLogo (downloadable agent-based simulation-building program) [minimum assignment: browse the NetLogo site and learn about the concept] [maximum assignment: download and run the NetLogo program, which comes with many starter simulations]
  • Practicum: Playing Literature Instructions for this practicum | Folder of exercises on Student Work page


Class 8 (Oct. 29) — Changing Literature

Team AssignmentAt least one team-meeting outside class by this date to begin brainstorming.  (See Assignments: Team Preparatory Tasks)


2. Project-Building


Class 9 (Nov. 3) — Project Planning Workshop

  • Workshops are in-class team collaboration sessions when students work on their projects while the instructor circulates among the teams to consult.
  • Team AssignmentIn this first workshop, the instructor will consult with the project teams in preparation for the upcoming project idea presentations.  (See Assignments: Team Preparatory Tasks)


* [No class November 5th (instructor away).  Teams should use time to prepare for project idea presentations and to begin collecting sources, tools, and materials for their project.]


Class 10 (Nov. 10) — Presentations of Project Ideas

  • Team Assignment Choose a literary work (or part of a work) that your team will "interpret."  Each team will present to the class its rationale for choosing the work and at least two initial project ideas. (See Assignments: Team Preparatory Tasks)



Class 11 (Nov. 12 ) — Presentations of Project Ideas

  • Team Assignment(continued from last class).



Class 12 (Nov. 17) — Workshop (teams work together on projects in class)


Solo AssignmentAnnotated bibliography due. (See Assignments: Solo Assignments: Annotated Bibliography)


Class 13 (Nov. 19) — Workshop


Class 14 (Nov. 24) — Workshop


Solo Assignment 4-page research report on one of the items in your annotated bibliography due. (See Assignments: Solo Assignments: Research Report)


Class 15 (Nov. 26) — Workshop


Class 16 (Dec. 1) — Workshop


Class 17 (Dec. 3) — Workshop


Class 18 (Dec. 8) — Final Presentations

Team AssignmentFormal presentations of team projects. (See Assignments: Team Final Tasks) [12-minute presentations; presentation schedule]


Class 19 (Dec. 10) — Final Presentations [last class]

Team AssignmentFormal presentations of team projects (continued). (See Assignments: Team Final Tasks) [12-minute presentations; presentation schedule]



(Dec. 15) Solo AssignmentFinal Essay due. (See Assignments: Solo Assignments: Final Essay)
































































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