Introduction to Digital Humanities
Artificial intelligence, big data, and the internet of things are rapidly changing every aspect of our lives. The methods and questions of the humanities are critical to understanding these shifts. Run like a workshop, this course will explore various sites at Penn and around Philadelphia where humanists and artists are collaborating with scientists and engineers to solve the big problems facing our planet and our species. We’ll visit museums and special collections in search of the future of past. We’ll learn how scholars of race and gender are combating algorithmic bias in our search engines. And we’ll meet librarians who are helping climate scientists save their data from politics. Students will gain hands-on experience with writing grants, collaborating across disciplines, and developing research questions in digital humanities. They will also acquire basic facility and literacy with key digital tools like GitHub, relational databases, XML/HTML, and online publishing platforms like WordPress and Scalar. Together, we will gain a critical, historical framework for understanding technology’s impact on our lives. Absolutely no prior coding experience is required. Coursework will involve regular in-class exercises, short response papers, and one mid-sized digital project.