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DHUM201 Digital Humanities: Method and Critique

An introduction to 'digital humanities', understood as the application of computational methods for scholarly practice along with critical reflection on the techno-cultural transformations of both the humanities and humans.

The digital medium has undoubtedly technologized the humanities. But is such a transformation necessarily all for the better? And does this mean that humanists must transform themselves into technologists in turn?

DHUM 201 is an introduction to the promise and the politics of digital humanities. The paper is structured in weekly modules that will provide introductions to: text analysis and data mining; data visualisation and geospatial analysis; neural networks and expressive Artificial Intelligence (AI); and meta-data and digital archives. Modules are split between a focus on the transdisciplinary tools specific to that module’s applied research methods, and a broad critique that examines what’s at stake – critically, culturally, and ethically – with each approach. DHUM 201 also accommodates the expressive and artistic side of digital humanities with a module on digital art and creative media. It concludes with an extended meditation on digital humanities in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand.

This is an introductory level paper that welcomes students in any discipline across the arts and sciences; no prior knowledge of digital humanities and no prior technical skills are required. This paper is co-taught and draws on established, and internationally-recognised digital humanities expertise in English, linguistics, religious studies, classics, media studies, computer science, information science, and philosophy. Library staff actively working in digital humanities at Otago will also contribute to teaching. Topics and modules may change from year to year.

Paper title Digital Humanities: Method and Critique
Paper code DHUM201
Subject Digital Humanities
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2020
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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36 points

Teaching staff

Coordinator: Associate Professor David Ciccoricco
Dr Hunter Hatfield; Dr John Shaver; Dr Anne Begg; Professor Anthony Robins

Paper Structure

The paper consists of one (1-hour) lecture per week and ten (2-hour) writing workshops during the semester.


To be advised

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students completing this paper will be able to:

1) apply skills acquired in a range of digital tools, applications, and methods commonly associated with the domain of digital humanities, and gain an understanding of the conceptual fields surrounding each of those approaches;

2) work in teams and communicate with team members both across disciplines across the “cultures” of the arts and sciences. Project-oriented weekly labs will facilitate time-constrained group tasks involving hands on exposure to digital tools, applications, and methods for humanities research;

3) gain a critical and historical understanding of the ways in which digital humanities has transformed the scholarly conventions and the disciplinary boundaries of traditional humanities disciplines;

4) develop their capacity for self-directed activity through self-guided digital humanities projects;

5) research, reflect on, and develop critical and ethical responses to: the societal and environmental effects of digital culture; the potentially exploitative effects of digital technologies in corporate and capitalist contexts; and the potentially precarious effects of digital humanities itself in the academic marketplace; 

6) understand digital humanities in the expressly bi/multicultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Not offered in 2020

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system