Conceptual Introduction to Digital Arts and Humanities

Aims and Learning Outcomes
This module will introduce students to the fundamentals of digital arts and humanities history, theory, and methodologies. It will lay the foundations for subsequent modules by introducing students to a wide variety of issues of concern in contemporary digital arts and humanities practice. The trajectory of the course will move from historical and cultural concerns to present-day practice to cutting-edge research questions. By the end of this course students will:

  • Be familiar with both the history and current trends in digital arts and humanities;
  • Be introduced to the central questions and problems associated with identity and subjectivity in digital culture;
  • Be familiar with the major data types in the field and issues associated with their preservation and curation;
  • Understand how digital art and artefacts are positioned within the wider socio- economic-cultural sphere;
  • Understand the current models of digital aesthetics;
  • Understand the development of computational technologies in art practice;
  • Understand how data modelling is used within the discipline;
  • Be familiar with the major standards in the field, both historically and contemporaneous;
  • Be able to differentiate the field’s various sub disciplines.

Working Methods
Lectures and discussions will be facilitated through tele-conferencing and online environments so that students from the various partner institutions may participate in real time. Readings will be assigned in advance and discussed during the class. Further electronic discussions and research will take place during the week following each lecture.

The seminar is assessed on a pass/fail basis with assessment supplied by the lecturers involved. Students will be required to actively participate in an electronic forum with weekly postings and comments on the topics raised in the seminar. An essay of 6,000 words or equivalent digital project is required.

  1. Essay: 6,000 words or equivalent project (by agreement with assessor).
  2. Participation in seminars, online discussions and posts. 

Assessment Weighting
Essay 75%
Participation 25%.

Lectures and Lecturers
Week 1 (Sept. 25)
Introduction to Digital Humanities: 2012—Susan Schreibman
Week 1 Abstract & Reading List
The digital humanities is seen by many as ‘the next big thing’ (Pannapacker 2011)– the’ big tent’ (see Digital Humanities 2011 Conference) or a ‘trading zone’ (Svenson 2012). Questions about the nature, scope, and meaning of digital humanities keep rearing its head, it seems in direct proportionality and intensity to a growing awareness of it as a new ‘insurgency’ – the ‘rough beast’, as Stanley Fish put it, slouching ‘into the neighbourhood threatening to upset everyone’s applecart’ (Fish 2011). If, as Alan Liu is correct, that the digital humanities has the ability to provide the humanities with a ‘cool new vision of’ itself; ‘an institutional desiring engine’ that serves as an allegory of the social, economic, political, and cultural self-image’ for both institutions as well as the individuals those institutions serve or are served by, the stakes are extremely high (Liu 9). This lecture will investigate the present moment in digital humanities.

Bibliography & Reading for Class
Liu, Alan. ‘The state of the digital humanities: A report and a critique’. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. 1-2 (2012) 8-41. Online.
Pannapacker, William. ‘”Big Tent Digital Humanites”, a View from the Edge, Part 1’. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 31 July 2011. Online.
Svenson, Patrik. ‘The Digital Humanities as a Humanities Project’. Art and Humanities in Higher Education. 11:1-2 (2011) 42-60. Online.
Schreibman, Susan. ‘Digital Humanities; Centres and Peripheries’. Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung. 37:3 (2012) 46-58. Online.

Week 2 (from Oct. 2) The ‘Digital Now’ Forum

Week 3 (Oct. 9)
Positioning Digital Culture—Matthew Causey

Week 4 (from Oct. 16) Electronic Forum, Convenor: Matthew Causey

Week 5 (Oct. 23)
Defining Data – Dr. Brendan Dooley and Dr. Orla Murphy, (Lecture)

Week 6 (from Oct. 30)
Electronic Forum, Convenor: Dr. Brendan Dooley and Dr. Orla Murphy

Week 7 (Nov. 6) TCD Reading Week

Week 8 (Nov. 13)
Representing Data – Dr. Brendan Dooley and Dr. Orla Murphy (Lecture) 

Week 9 (from Nov. 20)
Electronic Forum, Convenor: Dr. Brendan Dooley and Dr. Orla Murphy

Week 10 (Nov. 27) Digital Culture and Film – Rod Stoneman, (Lecture)

Week 11 (from Dec. 4)
Electronic Forum, Convenor: Rod Stoneman

Week 12: Face-to-Face session tba.

Select Digital Arts Bibliography
Auslander, Philip. Liveness. New York: Routledge, 2001.
Bolter, Jay and Grusin, Richard. Remediation. MIT Press, 2000.
Broadhurst, Susan. Performance and Technology: Practices of Virtual Embodiment and Interactivity. Palgrave, 2006.
Causey, Matthew. Theatre and Performance in Digital Culture: From Simulation to Embeddedness. London: Routledge, 2009.
Dixon, Steve. Digital Performance. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006.
Giannachi, Gabriella. Virtual Theatres: An Introduction. Routledge, 2004.
Hayles, Kate. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. MIT Press, 2002.
Murray, Timothy. Digital Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds. University of Minnesota, 2008.
Salter, Chris. Entangled: Technology and The Transformation of Performance. MIT Press, 2010.
Sutherland, Kathryn. Electronic Text. Clarendon Press, 1997.
Wilson, Stephen. Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology. New Haven: MIT Press, 2001.