Instructor Info

Name: Prof. Libby Hemphill


Office Hours: Mondays after class or by appointment

Office location: Siegel Hall 214

Course Description

This course is designed for Digital Humanities majors, Technology and Humanities graduate students, and other students interested in DH research. This course will prepare you for the research and writing required in your advanced HUM classes and graduate research projects and will help you master tools (both theoretical and technical) for engaging and understanding the world around you.

To meet the major assignment requirements of the course, you will design and build an artifact of digital scholarship (e.g., a website, a movie, an interactive infographic) and write blog posts to reflect on the readings and activities. Most of our readings will be related to developing technical skills for doing digital humanities research (e.g., learning a scripting language, understanding data structures) or publications about digital humanities research (i.e., articles from academic journals).

Learning Goals

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Discuss the situations under which various digital humanities research methods are appropriate
  • Effectively manage a digital humanities research project from end-to-end
  • Write thoughtfully and critically about digital humanities research and its methods
  • Convey effective arguments using evidence gathered using digital methods
  • Use a variety of tools of digital humanities researcher including Jekyll, GitHub, iMovie, and maybe some Python

Cultural Competencies

In addition to the content of the course, you will also develop social skills and cultural competencies1:

  • Play — the capacity to experiment with your surroundings as a form of problem-solving
  • Performance — the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery
  • Simulation — the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real world processes
  • Appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content
  • Multitasking — the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.
  • Distributed Cognition — the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities
  • Collective Intelligence — the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal
  • Judgment — the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
  • Transmedia Navigation — the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities
  • Networking — the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information
  • Negotiation — the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.

Reading Materials


You may find physical copies of these two books useful since you’ll have to read quite a bit of each of them:

  1. Burdick, A., Drucker, J., Lunenfeld, P., Presner, T., & Schnapp, J. (2012). Digital Humanities. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (You can buy the book (print or ebook) or use the Open Access Edition PDF that’s available for free.)
  2. Booth, W., Colomb, G.C., Williams, J.M. The Craft of Research (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Other Required Materials

Most what we read won’t come from a physical book. Instead, it’ll be on blogs, in articles, in digital books, and in other forms of media. Links to all required readings will be posted on the class website in time for you to read them. What we read will depend on what you’re interested in and what projects you decide to work on, so the complete list isn’t available when the semester starts.

Special Needs Policy

Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, students must obtain a letter of accommodation from the Center for Disability Resources. The Center for Disability Resources (CDR) is located in 3424 S. State St., room 1C3-2 (on the first floor), telephone: 312.567.5744 or


1. Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Weigel, M., Clinton, K., & Robison, A. J. (2009). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. MIT Press: Cambridge.