October 2013

“Advocating for the Humanities Today: 4Humanities.org and 4Humanities@UCLA.” UCLA. 24 October 2013.

Abstract: 4Humanities is an initiative that advocates for the humanities by drawing on the technologies, new-media expertise, and ideas of the international digital humanities community and also on research and projects from local chapters at various universities. Alan Liu will give an overview of the initiative’s goals and projects and then participate with UCLA faculty, staff, and students in planning for a possible 4Humanities@UCLA local group. What research activities and project-building could a group that taps into UCLA’s pool of talent and expertise engage in? How might a UCLA local group collaborate with other 4Humanities local research groups—e.g., the ones at UC Santa Barbara and CSU Northridge?

“This is Not a Book: Long Forms of Attention in the Digital Age.” Print Culture Speaker Series, Simon Fraser University. 18 October 2013.

“Remembering Networks: Agrippa, RoSE, and Network Archaeology.” Print Culture Speaker Series, Simon Fraser University. 18 October 2013.

[Go to course site] Digital technologies and methods have recently become important in the humanities as scholars use the new tools not only to help read and write about literary, historical, and artistic materials in traditional ways but in new ways influenced–not just communicated by–the new media forms. Literature+ is a course that draws on the new fields of “digital humanities” and “new media studies” to ask students to think about, and experiment with, how new digital methods enhance the study of literature.

Students choose a literary work and use digital methods to model, map, visualize, text-analyze, social-network-analyze, blog, or otherwise interpret it using new tools and media. How can such methods augment or change our understanding of literature by comparison with other methods of literary interpretation? What is the relation, for example, between “close reading” of literary texts and “distant reading” methods that identify trends in language or themes across thousands of texts?

The course begins with discussion of selected readings and demos of digital tools to set the stage. Readings include: Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees, Ryan Heuser and Long Le-Khac’s “A Quantitative Literary History of 2,958 Nineteenth-Century British Novels,” Lisa Samuels and Jerome McGann’s “Deformance and Interpretation,” and Stephen Ramsay’s “Toward an Algorithmic Criticism.” Demos include online or downloadable tools from a Digital Humanities Resources for Student Project-Building site made available to the class (most can be used by non-programmers to create interesting projects).

After the initial unit of the course, students break into teams, choose a literary work, and collaborate in workshop/lab mode to produce a proof-of-concept digital project. Collaboration will occur both face-to-face and virtually in the class wiki. Individual students also create an annotated bibliography, research reports, and a final essay reflecting on their project.

This course counts for the English Department’s Literature and Culture specialization and also welcomes students from the College of Creative Studies and other majors.

Citation: Scott Pound and Alan Liu, “The Amoderns: Reengaging the Humanities — A Feature Interview with Alan Liu.” aModern, 2 (2013). http://amodern.net/article/the-amoderns-reengaging-the-humanities/