This assignment requires you to analyze a “mature” digital humanities project, write a brief essay about it (1000-1500 words), and give a short informal presentation on your analysis in class (3-5 minutes).
Start by exploring a range of options before selecting the project you want to focus on. Here are some directories of digital humanities projects to help you get going:
Once you decide on a project to analyze, collect as much information as you can find about that project (blog posts, media coverage, early drafts, etc.). Then, immerse yourself in the project and try to understand it as thoroughly as possible: What was the original inspiration for the project? How does the project fit (or not) into a larger scholarly conversation(s)? What tools were used to create the project? Why do you think this project is significant/valuable? Did the project receive funding (if so, where did the funding come from)? Is the project complete or still in progress? How do you know?
When you feel like you have a deep understanding of the project, then you should move into the analysis/critique. You may use the following questions to help guide your thinking/writing:
- Why do you think the author(s) chose to pursue this project as a digital humanities project as opposed to a more “traditional” research project? What can this project do/enable that a “traditional” research project cannot?
- What about this project makes it count as “DH”?
- Consider the tools used to build the project. Do you think these tools were chosen to match the subject matter? Or was the subject matter chosen to match the tools?
- Has the project changed over time? If so, what did previous versions of the project look like? (you might be able to find out by using “The Way Back Machine.”)
- What are the strengths of this project? How does it enrich our understanding of the subject?
- What are the project’s limitations? What might the authors do to address these limitations in a revised version of the project?
Note: Your essay should begin with a brief overview/description of the project, but the majority of your essay should be devoted to critique and analysis.
Your essay is due at the start of class on Wednesday, October 15. During that class period, you will present your analysis in 3-5 minutes. The point of these informal presentations is to expose everyone to a range of diverse DH projects and to give you the opportunity to share your thinking about a specific project.