This class introduces students to the discipline of Engish and Textual Studies. The departmental description of this class explains:
How does the becoming digital of textuality alter the character of what we do with texts? To judge from some accounts, digital technology promises to radically change the study of literature and culture. At one extreme, some critics have suggested that such technologies can enable new modes of "distant reading": literary criticism as data mining. In this class we will explore these claims and examine the tools used in such criticism.
This class will invite students to consider and explore (though not uncritically) the opportunities and challenges created by these new methodologies. Our focus will be chiefly on using (new) tools to understand (old) texts. Rather than theorize new media or examine digital poetry or fiction (activities which also might parade under the banner of a "digital humanities"), we will be considering the nature of literary study in a digital age. Readings will include work by Jerome McGann, Franco Moretti, Stephen Ramsay, and others. Coursework will include not only essays, but some attempts to explore these tools. No technical experience whatsoever is required, but students should be prepared to step out of their traditional methodologies and learn some new skills.