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Computing for Interpretation in the Humanities

ENGL 009.401
crosslisted as: COML 009, HIST 009
TR 3-4:30
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major

The “Digital Humanities” are an emerging field in which computers are employed to help with the interpretive work that humanists do. This class will introduce humanities-oriented students to basic computer programming and to some of the interpretive research that this skill can enable. No previous experience is necessary.

Students in the class will develop practical skills so that they can see for themselves how computer programing might alter their way of approaching questions about literature, history, and culture. The humanities have sometimes been skeptical about computational methods, and we will also take that suspicion seriously, reflecting on the implications of the rise of computation within contexts of humanistic inquiry. Student work in the course will consist of programming and analysis exercises aimed at interpreting textual materials relevant to both literary studies and cultural history. The programming language of choice for the course will be Python, which enjoys wide currency within the Digital Humanities.