What does it mean to "read" a million books? The explosion of digital editions and collections of books give us unprecedented access to rare individual texts and massive bodies of literary and cultural material. How does it relate to (or obscure) traditional "close reading" of texts? Are computer codes and algorithms something we might read? What kinds of new literary analysis do they make possible? The course applies and critiques "distant reading" as a method of making large text collections accessible to human readers. Readings include single texts from different genres, multi-million book collections, and the most recent criticism and theory related to digital texts. Along the way we are going to learn elementary R programming language to query single texts and large collections of texts called corpora.
Jen Jack Gieseking.
As over half the world's population now dwells in cities, revolutionary advances in technology such as big data have caused policymakers and activits alike to shift their focus toward a movement of smart urbanism. Smart urbanism includes interventions in urban issues throughbetter uses of technology and data, from gentrification to pollution, access to public spaces to improved walkability. How do these changes support or inhibit the growth of equal and just cities? And how can we use data and data visualizations to represent the multiple experiences of the city to affect public policy for the common good?
Through individual and group field research, techniques of social and spatial analysis, and closereadings of classic and cutting-edge readings about cities, students will gain a general introduction to urban studies. Students will develop ways to speak about and to urban public policy through data visualizations, including geographic information systems (GIS), mental maps, participant observations, and transect walks. This interdisciplinary course focuses on modern cities in the US, namely New York City and Portland, Maine, to connect global urban issues to the intimate experiences of everyday life.