Spring 2015

“. . . the thing that I learned over the course that stuck with me the most was the fact that everything has a second layer. Every photo has metadata. Every person has statistics waiting to be uncovered and analyzed. Everything we touch, see, or interact with has, somewhere, in reality or otherwise, usage data.” 
- Student in GDH Fall 2013


In Spring 2015, this course will examine the kinds of digital humanities work being done today,  including projects that many Bowdoin faculty members have already begun working on.  We will be engaging with questions that Bowdoin professors pose through their research, using samples of their data or related data sets to create visualizations and offer answers to those questions.

Fields represented include:
Art History
Cultural Studies (including the Mediterranean)
Foreign Languages and Literatures (including German, Italian, Spanish and Russian)
History (including the Civil War, the history of medicine, the history of science)
Visual Arts

In addition to project-specific data, we will also examine some of Bowdoin's own collections of materials:
Bowdoin Museum of Art
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections
Coastal Studies Scholars 

Scroll through the examples below to see the kinds of projects Gateway to the Digital Humanities students completed in Fall 2013:

Student generated collages created by grabbing images from the Rijksmuseum online collection and manipulating them using basic Python programming language. Many students had no knowledge of Python before starting the class.

shakespeare's word mapping
A student project looking at the evolution of words that appear in Shakespeare's works. The project focused on the word “bully,” demonstrating that the connotation of the word has transitioned from positive to negative from Shakespeare's time to our own. The graph on the top left uses the Google Ngram viewer to track "bully" and related words in printed books, digitized in the Google Books collection. The network graphs were generated from speaking parts in The Merry Wives of Windsor. The image on the bottom left diagrams words that most frequently follow "bully"; the image on the bottom right shows the words frequently used around Falstaff's name.

armory show
A re-creation of the 1913 Armory show in New York City, created using the 3D-modeling tool Sketch-Up. The final project was a video "fly through" of a portion of the exhibit that had enough available data to make the model.

student-written python code
A student project analyzing 17th and 18th-century sonnets. The upper left is a snippet of Python code that she wrote (with no previous experience). She was able to analyze 803 sonnets using this code. The image on the bottom is a word cloud containing the rhyming words used in those sonnets. The size of the word demonstrates its frequency of use.

literary canon mapping
A student project visualizing the changes to the literary canon over the past 24 years. Using data sets from 1989 and 2013, she compared the literary and cultural landscapes represented by the most frequently taught books in high schools across the US. She created a website with graphs, maps, and charts representing the changes in author nationalities, book settings, author genders, and types of works.