New Media & Literary Interpretation:
Close, Distant, and Other Reading
Graduate Course – Winter 2012
Instructor: Alan Liu
UC Santa Barbara
Thur 2:00 – 4:30 pm, South Hall 2509
Digital methods shared with other disciplines have recently introduced new methods of literary “reading” that destabilize older methods and extend the interdisciplinary experiments of previous decades. This course uses the theoretical and practical tools of the digital humanities and new media studies to study the relaton between “close reading” and such methods as “distant reading,” “cultural analytics,” and “social reading” (with their component methods of text analysis, social network analysis, visualization, mapping, etc.).
The course is designed to be a hybrid discussion seminar and project-building workshop. We begin with discussion of selected theoretical readings and digital methods. Then students break into teams, choose a literary work, and collaborate in workshop/lab mode to produce a final project that uses digital methods to complement established modes of literary interpretation with some other kind of “reading.” (Alternatively, students may work individually on projects designed to support or complement their dissertation topics.) Students, for example, can choose a story or poem to data-mine, text-analyze, model, simulate, map, visualize, sonify, encode, remix, blog, social-network, or redesign as a database, game, app, database, hypertext, mobile or locative installation, or virtual world. Individual students also undertake the following tasks: discover new online tools, prepare an annotated bibliography, write a brief research report, and write a final essay reflecting on the project. (Auditors participate in team projects and the minor assignments.)