Visual Digital Humanities: Reading, Encoding, and Mapping Multimodal Texts
This course explores methodologies of producing knowledge in the humanities in a time in which the familiar rhetoric of the page is shifting towards the less familiar one of the screen. Not only digital technologies increase the use of graphic images along with written texts but they push authors of our times towards forms of composition that merge multimodal elements in ways that are increasingly difficult to decode for contemporary readers. As a counterpoint to this trend, the disciplinary field of Digital Humanities is developing innovative ways
to use computer-assisted management, manipulation, and visual representation of data to better understand printed texts. Our class investigation of post-literacy will therefore be guided by a set of
interconnected questions: How do we read images in the age of digital technologies? How do we closely analyze individual pictures and how do we “distant read” big image-based data sets?
How do we use DH visualization, namely the technological display of data, for communication but also for sense-making purposes? Class discussions and assignments will reveal the complementary relationship between computer-assisted reading, writing, and research. By the end of the course, students not only will have a working knowledge of visualization methodologies in the Digital Humanities, but will also be able to produce textual digital artifacts that highlight the implications image-based expressions have for the human subject in our hyper-mediated age.
Readings for this class include: visual rhetoric textbooks, comics and graphic novels, avant-garde painting, pop art graphics, experimental video art pieces, and electronic literature.