Digital Studies Courses

General Course Listings

Sub CRSE Title
ANT 261 Science, Policy, and Society
ANT 291 Digital Anthropology
ANT 372 Visualizing Anthropology
ANT 377 Imaging the Earth
ART 211 Introduction to Digital Art
ART 270 Special Topics in Digital Art
ART 311 Advanced Digital Art
BIO 209 Bioinformatics Programming (= CSC 209)
COM 315 Media Effects (= SOC 315)
CSC 108 Explorations in Computer Science
CSC 120 Programming in Humanities (= DIG 120)
CSC 121 Programming and Problem Solving
CSC 200 Computational Physics (= PHY 200)
CSC 209 Bioinformatics Programming (= BIO 209)
CSC 397 Independent Study in Advanced Software Development in Science (= PHY 397)
DIG 101 Introduction to Digital Studies
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall)

Instructor
Sample

This interdisciplinary course offers a critical approach to contemporary digital culture and digital methodology. Topics will include the history of digital media, the rise of network society, and the influence of digital technology upon narrative, arts, and science. The course will require extensive work with computers, but no prior knowledge is necessary. 

Satisfies the Liberal Studies distribution requirement.  

DIG 120 Programming in the Humanities (= CSC 120)
Prerequisites & Notes

Not open to students with credit for CSC 121, CSC 200 (= PHY 200), or CSC 209 (= BIO 209).

(Spring)

 

Instructor
Kabala

Computational methods have significantly broadened and deepened the possibilities of inquiry in the Humanities. Programming skills have allowed textual scholars, in particular, to take advantage of enormous digitized corpora of historical documents, newspapers, novels, books, and social network data like Twitter feeds to pose new questions to the written word. We can now trace the changing semantics of words and phrases across millions of documents and hundreds of years, visualize centuries-old plot structures in new ways through sentiment analysis and character networks, and solve long-standing riddles of authorship attribution-among many other exciting feats. This course offers an introduction to computer science through applications in the Humanities. Students will learn to program in the Wolfram Language, aka Mathematica. The Wolfram Language is especially well suited for humanists: its rich documentation and natural language processing capabilities ensure a gentle introduction for first-time programmers, its symbolic computation structure allows us to work with texts written in any language and any alphabet, while its Notebook environment provides an interactive medium for publishing and sharing our results with peers. Mathematica also provides a great springboard for further work in computer science, physical computing, and Digital Studies more broadly.

Satisfies a minor requirement in Computer Science.
Satisfies a requirement in the Data Science interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement. 

DIG 210 Data Culture
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall)

Instructor
Mundy

"Data" is often considered to be the domain of scientists and statisticians. But with the proliferation of databases across nearly all aspects of modern life, data has become an everyday concern. Bank accounts, FaceTime records, Snapchat posts, Xbox leaderboards, CatCard purchases, your DNA-at the heart of all them is data. To live today is to breathe and exhale data, wherever you go, online and off. And at the same time data has become a function of daily life, it has also become the subject of-and vehicle for-literary and artistic critiques.

This course explores the role of data and databases in contemporary culture, with an eye toward understanding how data shapes the way we perceive-and misperceive-the world. After historicizing the origins of modern databases in 19th century industrialization and census efforts, we will survey our present-day data landscape, considering data mining, data visualization, and database art. We will encounter nearly evangelical enthusiasm for "Big Data" but also rigorous criticisms of what we might call naïve empiricism. The ethical considerations of data collection and analysis will be at the forefront of our conversation, as will be issues surrounding privacy and surveillance.

Satisfies an interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.
Counts as an elective in the Data Science interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies Liberal Studies distribution requirement.

DIG 211 Surveillance Culture
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Mundy

This course examines the history of technologies used in surveillance and the implications for human culture and individual expectations of privacy. We will explore themes in quantitative and qualitative tracking methods beginning with Bentham's Panopticon and the invention of photography, and tracing developments and uses of counting machines, cryptology, and computing, paying particular attention to how these methods preempt contemporary networked and so-called "Big Data" methods such as deep packet searching, social media data science, or the NSA's Prism program. We will analyze these methods and their intended outcomes and assess their impact in their search to gain knowledge on or control individuals or populations, thwart enemies, or understand demographics in the pursuit of capital. This course will be of interest to students studying media and communications culture, information science, among others.

Satisfies a requirement in the Digital Studies minor.

DIG 215 Death in the Digital Age
Prerequisites & Notes

(Spring)

Instructor
Sample

This class explores the intersection of death and technology. What happens to our digital personas when we die? How does technology change grieving? What kind of ghosts inhabit our machines? What's the 21st century equivalent of a gothic haunted house? We will consider these questions and many more as we wrestle with the meaning of death in the digital age. Among the primary sources we will study will be historical archives, media representations of disaster, contemporary horror novels and films, and television series such as Dead Set and Black Mirror.

 

Satisfies a requirement in the Film and Media Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.

 

DIG 220 Electronic Literature
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Sample

Love letters written by a computer. A poem two hundred trillion stanzas long. A message encoded in a microbe's DNA. The mysterious disappearance of a teenager, told through YouTube and IMs. An ocean buoy tweeting mash-ups of Moby Dick. Welcome to the weird world of electronic literature-digitally born poetic, narrative, and aesthetic works read on computers, tablets, and phones. Experimental, evocative, and sometimes simply puzzling, electronic literature challenges our assumptions about reading, writing, authorship, and meaning. Yet e-lit, as it is often called, has also profoundly influenced mainstream culture. Literature, film, comics, apps, and video games have all learned lessons from electronic literature. This course will trace the rise of electronic literature and explore both historic and contemporary works of e-lit. We'll begin with electronic literature's roots in avant-garde art and Cold War technology, and follow e-lit through the birth of the personal computer into the era of the Web and smartphone. At every step along the way the expressive power of new media-the way digital media enables and shapes different modes of creative and cultural expression-will be of particular interest to us.

Satisfies a requirement in the English major.
Satisfies a requirement for the Global Literary Theory interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing and Rhetoric distribution requirement.

DIG 240 Art and Electronic Media
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Dietrick

This course explores the relationships between art and electronic media in the 20th and 21st centuries. Focusing on the shift from industrial to information-driven economies, the curriculum outlines digital art's historical trajectory, from important precursors like photography and early analog examples like video art. Special attention is given to film, gaming, 3D printing, architecture and interdisciplinary art practices.

Satisfies a requirement in the Art major and minor.
Satisfies a requirement in the  Digital Studies minor.
Satisfies an elective requirement in the Film and Media Studies interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies a Visual & Performing Arts distribution requirement.

DIG 245 Web Art, Design, Code
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Mundy

In this course, students will learn to conceptualize, design, and program responsive websites as both an applied and creative practice. Through a combination of technical topics in interface design and development such as usability, coding in HTML, CSS, Javascript and jQuery, as well as readings and discussions around net-based artworks and historical and cultural concerns surrounding the internet as a communication platform, students will execute interactive projects that are both culturally-relevant and technically sophisticated.

Satisfies a requirement of the Digital Studies minor.

DIG 270 Digital Maps, Space, and Place
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Kabala

Space and place - visualized by maps - condition nearly every aspect of our lived experience. Our lives would be very difficult without geospatial markers, (and is very difficult when they're a challenge to decipher - think the numbering system in Chambers!). It's almost impossible to imagine everyday experiences, like driving to the store, going for a run on the river run trail, or even locating the best local coffee shop without access to maps. These activities are made all the more easy by the dynamic, interactive digital maps that track our positions relative to the sites that matter to us.

This is a methodology class designed to introduce students to the theories and practices of digital mapping. We will explore space, place and geography through the physical space of Davidson College, using maps of the campus produced throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, contemporary images of campus, and cartographic imaginaries of what the campus could be. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with the reasons for studying maps, the tools needed for geospatial analysis, how to embed and analyze geographical information, and how to link historical maps to modern day geographies.

Satisfies a Social-Scientific Thought distribution requirement.

DIG 333 Physical Computing
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Mundy

This course will explore the use of sensors, motors, and other electronics to create web interfaces that interact with the physical world. We will hack, modify, and create systems which detect analog data and transmit it across the internet to our custom web applications or mobile devices and then back again. This course is designed for artists, designers, and programmers who wish to create culturally-relevant and technically-sophisticated electronics projects that are both utilitarian and artistic at once.

DIG 340 Gender and Technology
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Sample

This class explores the relationship between gender and technology in the digital age. We will consider the countless ways modern technology shapes our attitudes toward and experiences of sex, power, play, and work, and even the way digital technology shapes our bodies. Other topics will include the representation of gender in digital media, feminism and protest in digital spaces, queer gaming, and gender performance through social media.

Satisfies a major requirement in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Satisfies a minor requirement in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Satisfies Liberal Studies distribution requirement.
Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

DIG 350 History & Future of the Book
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2017-2018.)

Instructor
Sample

This class is concerned with the long history, the varied present, and the uncertain future of the book in the digital age. Over the course of the semester we will address three questions: What is the history of the book as a physical and cultural object? How have current disruptions in reading and writing technology changed the way we use and imagine books? And what does the future of the book look like? Along the way we will consider reading and writing innovations such as electronic paper, e-readers, and touchscreen interfaces. We will also design hybrid books ourselves, augmenting conventional printed books with electronic circuits and I/O sensors.

Satisfies Historical Thought distribution requirement.
 

DIG 401 Hacking, Remixing and Design
Prerequisites & Notes

(Spring)

Instructor
Sample

This seminar will explore hacking and remixing as creative and critical practices.  In the process we will expand the conceptual domains of both terms.  We will explore hacking and remixing across a range of forms, including code, software, social media, and digital writing.  The social, ethical, and rhetorical dimensions of hacking and remixing will also be considered as students design their own hacks and remixes.

DIG 404 Humanities Startup
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Mundy

A semester-long practice and theory course where students work with a professor to develop outcomes that address research at the intersection of creative computing, digital culture, and humanities methodologies. Drawing on the research of a faculty member, this course collates humanities research and startup development to give students experiences working in teams on an accelerated program with tangible, demonstrable results that are both technologically proficient and socially and historically conscious.

Satisfies a requirement of the Digital Studies minor.

ECO 316 Computational Economics
EDU 291 Data in Education
ENG 201 Professional Writing
FMS 321 Interactive Digital Narratives
HIS 245 Digital History of Early American Knowledge
HIS 264 The Digital Mexican Revolution
MUS 265 Introduction to Digital Music Composition
MUS 385 Video Game Music (=FMS 385)
PHY 200 Computational Physics (= CSC 200)
PHY 397 Independent Study in Advanced Software Development in Science (= CSC 397)
SOC 315 Media Effects (= COM 315)