Presentation Title

Beyond English Depts.: The Digital Humanities in Upper-Level Courses

Streaming Media

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

Based on a team-taught course, this presentation offers ideas for how to navigate between imparting linguistic and cultural content in a target foreign language, while effectively engaging students in DH projects and critique in upper-level language courses. Language majors still need to perfect their linguistic skills but DH projects and tools are still often designed with an anglophone audience in mind. We offer ways of combining "traditional" literary content with newer DH methods, in the foreign language of choice.

Start Date

5-22-2019 3:00 PM

End Date

5-22-2019 4:15 PM

Description

While language departments have long drawn on blended-learning methods to teach at the introductory levels, upper-level courses centered on developing digital competencies and acquainting undergraduates with DH methods remain relatively rare. As Matthew G. Kirschenbaum’s influential essay, “What is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments,” suggested, the space for curricular expansion and the openness to cultural and media studies approaches have suited the flexibility and variety of English Dept. curricula. Advanced courses in modern language departments, meanwhile, struggle with the imperatives of imparting their majors with the fundamentals of the history/culture/literature of a given national language, while continuing to perfect students’ linguistic skills, leaving little room for sustained development of students’ digital competencies, much less time to engage them in the critique of new digital methods. Our presentation will describe a team-taught-upper-level course offered in the French Dept. at Wellesley College, “Six Degrees of Marie Antoinette: Social Networks and the French Revolution,” which sought to bridge the divide between perfecting French language skills, teaching students about French history and literature, and introducing them to recent digital humanities approaches and tools, specifically digital network analyis. We will address the challenges and rewards posed by the goal of giving students a thorough understanding of eighteenth-century French culture, while also building the course around four hands-on digital humanities projects. We will share strategies for organizing such a course and fostering experimentation with, and critique of, existing Digital Humanities projects. Our presentation will reflect on the role modern language departments and collaborative teaching endeavors can play in developing DH courses, offering examples of the opportunities such approaches provide for advancing student understanding of research methods and practices, as undergraduates continue to perfect their foreign language skills.

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May 22nd, 3:00 PM May 22nd, 4:15 PM

Beyond English Depts.: The Digital Humanities in Upper-Level Courses

Based on a team-taught course, this presentation offers ideas for how to navigate between imparting linguistic and cultural content in a target foreign language, while effectively engaging students in DH projects and critique in upper-level language courses. Language majors still need to perfect their linguistic skills but DH projects and tools are still often designed with an anglophone audience in mind. We offer ways of combining "traditional" literary content with newer DH methods, in the foreign language of choice.