Digital Studies Courses

General Course Listings

Sub CRSE Title
ANT 261 Science, Policy, and Society
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall; offered in alternating years.)

Instructor
Lozada

Inquiry into the production and cultural meanings of scientific knowledge and technological change. Comparison of the function and rhetoric of scientific "truths" to other modes of truth-production, such as religion, and its application in policy. Topics include the conflict and dialogue between science and religion, rationality, the practice of science, environmental issues, and social change.

Satisfies a major & minor requirement in Anthropology.

Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought distribution requirement.

Satisfies depth and breadth course requirement in the Social Science track of the Environmental Studies major or interdisciplinary minor.
 

ANT 291 Digital Anthropology
Prerequisites & Notes

(not offered 2016-2017; offered in alternating years)

Instructor
Lozada

This course introduces students to the theories and methods necessary for doing research in digital anthropology. Digital anthropology is the study of the impact of information technology on social relationships and human culture. Because of advancements in information and communication technology (as well as globalization), the everyday life of the people and communities that we study are increasingly being shaped by cyberspace, digital media and communication, and online social groups. Throughout the semester, students will conduct fieldwork, communicate, and write commentary on the internet, including social media, websites, and digital media production. Emphasis is placed on developing the critical and methodological skills needed for doing fieldwork virtually, but no previous computer programming is expected or required.

Satisfies a major & minor requirement in Anthropology.

Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought distribution requirement.

ANT 372 Visualizing Anthropology
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017; offered in alternating years.)

Instructor
Lozada

Introduction to the theories and methods necessary for making ethnographic films. Students will conduct fieldwork and make a documentary film on a particular aspect of social and cultural behavior. Emphasis is placed on developing the critical skills needed for resolving some of the ethical, technical, and aesthetic problems that may emerge during the documentation of social and cultural behavior.

One of the courses satisfying the Methods requirement for the major and minor in Anthropology.

ANT 377 Imaging the Earth
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017; offered in alternating years.)

Instructor
Ringle

The use of geographical information systems (GIS) to analyze, model, and present spatial relationships in the biological and social sciences, supplemented by other packages such as Google Earth. Field collection of spatial data with GPS units. Course is computer-based and emphasizes individual research projects.

One of the courses satisfying the Methods requirement for the major and minor in Anthropology.

ART 211 Introduction to Digital Art
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall and Spring)

 

Instructor
Staff


ART 211 is an introduction to digital art studio practice with a focus on digital imaging, sound, filmmaking, and the web. Using DSLR cameras and the Adobe Master Collection software, the course builds skills, techniques, and critique of digital art through cross-media experimentation. Readings and presentations discuss current trends in digital culture and key works by digital artists.

Satisfies a major requirement.
Satisfies Visual and Performing Arts distribution requirement.
 

ART 270 Special Topics in Digital Art
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-17.)

Instructor
Staff

Rotating studio course in digital and new media techniques, disciplines, and theory emphasizing individual creative development and skilled approaches to technical problem solving in visual art.  Topics include exploring the computer as an artistic medium, digital performance, digital storytelling, video art, and code as art.  Through interdisciplinary exploration, students employ a combination of digital and traditional methods, using the computer to establish various digital techniques.  May be repeated twice when topics vary.

Satisfies a major requirement in Art.
Satisfies Visual and Performing Arts distribution requirement.

 

ART 311 Advanced Digital Art
Prerequisites & Notes

Art 211. (Not offered 2016-17.)

Instructor
Staff

ART 311 is an advanced digital art studio course with a focus on interactive and narrative forms of digital art, 3d printing, projection mapping, performance, and installation. Students will conceive of project concepts independently or collaboratively. Readings and presentations discuss current trends in digital culture and key works by digital artists.

Satisfies a major requirement in Art.
Satisfies Visual and Performing Arts and cultural diversity distribution requirements.
 

BIO 209 Bioinformatics Programming (= CSC 209)
Prerequisites & Notes

Not open to students with credit for CSC 120 (= DIG 120), CSC 121, or CSC 200 (=PHY 200).  

Instructor
Staff

(Cross-listed as CSC 209)  An interdisciplinary introduction to computer science and structured programming using the Python programming language in the context of biological datasets and applications, including algorithms for analyzing genomic data.

Satisfies the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement.

COM 315 Media Effects (= SOC 315)
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Martinez

An exploration of relevant theories and practices of conducting media effects research in the mass mediated/disseminated communication contexts including television, radio, print, popular culture, internet, and other forms of new media. Topics include health, advertising, edutainment, stereotypes, violence, pornography, music videos, video games, news, and politics.

Satisfies a major requirement in Sociology.
Satisfies Communication Studies and Film and Media Studies interdisciplinary minor requirements.
Satisfies Liberal Studies distribution requirement.
 

CSC 108 Explorations in Computer Science
Prerequisites & Notes

This course is not open to students with prior credit for (or concurrently enrolled in) any computer science course (including PHYS 200 and BIO 209) or any one of MAT 220, MAT 230 or MAT 255. No previous experience with computing is needed or assumed.

Instructor
Ramanujan

An introduction to the study of computational and algorithmic processes and the insight such study provides into age-old questions about human creativity and intelligence, the nature of social networks, evolution and self-replicating systems, mind-body duality, language, and economic systems.  Students will learn to read and understand short computer programs in a beginner-friendly language. 

Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement.
Students entering before 2012: satisfies Mathematics distribution requirement.

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

DIG 120 - Programming in the Humanities (= CSC 120)


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 the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement. 

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

(Spring)

 

CSC 121 Programming and Problem Solving
Prerequisites & Notes

Not open to students with credit for CSC 120 (= DIG 120), CSC 200 (=PHY 200), or CSC 209 (= BIO 209).

Instructor
Staff

An introduction to computer science and structured programming, including algorithmic thinking, using control structures, essential data structures, creating functions, recursion, and object-oriented programming.

Satisfies the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement.
 

CSC 209 Bioinformatics Programming (= BIO 209)
Prerequisites & Notes

Does not carry Mathematics major credit. Not open to students with credit for CSC 120 (=DIG 120), CSC 121 or CSC 200 (= PHY 200).  (Fall) 

Instructor
Staff

(Cross-listed as Biology 209.) An interdisciplinary introduction to computer science and structured programming using the Python programming language in the context of biological datasets and applications, including algorithms for analyzing genomic data.  

Satisfies the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement.

CSC 397 Independent Study in Advanced Software Development in Science (= PHY 397)
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Staff

(Cross-listed as Physics 397.) Independent study using computers to model dynamical systems in the natural sciences under the direction and supervision of the instructor who approves the specific topic of study.  Emphasis is on the use of object-oriented programming and web-based protocols to investigate both dynamical systems and the representation of those systems as data structures and algorithms.

DIG 101 Introduction to Digital Studies
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall)

Instructor
Kabala

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. 

Students entering 2012 or after: 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 the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement. 

DIG 210 Data Culture
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall)

Instructor
Sample

"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.
Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies Liberal Studies distribution requirement.

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

(Not offered in 2016-2017.)

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 for the Global Literary Theory interdisciplinary minor.

Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing and Rhetoric distribution requirement.

DIG 270 Digital Storytelling (= ART 270)
Prerequisites & Notes

(Spring)

Instructor
Staff

This course will explore storytelling as an art form, offering methods and strategies for designing and producing short nonfiction digital projects using audio, video, and text. Students will learn to collect stories using digital tools and reflect on how digital tools change the stories we tell. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to a broad set of digital storytelling genres and technologies. It will invite a critical and contextual examination of how digital narrative is constructed and how makers position themselves and their audiences.

Satisfies a major requirement in Art

Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies Visual and Performing Arts distribution requirement

 

DIG 333 Digital 3D Studio
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Staff

A studio art course focusing on the production of digital three-dimensional images, objects, and animations. Assignments focus on concepts and techniques of 3-D modeling, printing and animation. Weekly exercises improve our digital literacy, visual thinking and technical craft. Emphasis on digital experimentation, production and critique.

Satisfies a major requirement in Art.
Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies Visual and Performing Arts distribution requirement.

DIG 340 Gender and Technology
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not Offered 2016-2017)

Instructor
Staff

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.
Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies Liberal Studies distribution requirement.

DIG 350 History & Future of the Book
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016-2017.)

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.

Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies Historical Thought distribution requirement.
Students entering before 2012: satisfies history distribution requirement.

DIG 360 Digital Maps, Space, and Place
Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2016 -2017.)

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.

Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies Social-Scientific Thought distribution requirement.

Students entering before 2012: satisfies Social Science 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.

ECO 316 Computational Economics
Prerequisites & Notes

Economics 105 or permission of the instructor.

Instructor
Gouri Suresh

Computational methods for building and solving models in the context of economics topics. Methods discussed include agent-based simulations to analyze complex adaptive systems, value function iteration to solve dynamic structural models, and miscellaneous estimation and optimizing techniques.

Satisfies an interdisciplinary minor requirement for applied mathematics.
Satisfies Social-Scientific Thought distribution requirement.

EDU 291 Data in Education
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Adnot

Educational data and quantitative data analyses have come to play a powerful role in the way we govern our schools. In this course, students will learn to be critical consumers and skilled producers of such analyses. In the applied portion of this class, students will learn data management, analysis, and visualization strategies by working with real data gathered in educational settings to answer research questions of policy and practical interest.


Satisfies a requirement in the Eduational Studies minor.
Satisfies a requirement in the Digital Studies interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies a Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement.

ENG 201 Professional Writing
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Campbell

This course explores techniques and types of professional writing, including developing a professional web presence and writing resumes, informational publications, and proposals common to for-profit, non-profit, and technical communities.  This course will emphasize the skills and concepts necessary to engage in professional writing contexts, including how to construct and manifest ethos (the writer's character) through careful document design, research strategies, and professional representation of self in print and digital enviornments and how to collaborate with others in subdividing and sequencing tasks with considerable research and writing components.

Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.

FMS 321 Interactive Digital Narratives
Prerequisites & Notes

FMS 220 or ENG 293.

Instructor
Lerner

A close study of selected video games using an interdisciplinary blend of methodologies culled from cultural studies, film and media studies theory, literary criticism, and history.

Film and Media Studies Interdisciplinary Minor Credit.
Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies the Visual and Performing Arts distribution requirement.

HIS 245 Digital History of Early American Knowledge
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Shrout

This course explores communication technologies and knowledge production in the antebellum United States, while introducing students to newer methods afforded by digital studies.  By the end of the course, students will understand how people parsed information, talked, wrote, and signaled one another in the past. They will also understand how new tools help us to communicate both with other scholars and with the public today.  Throughout the course they will engage in formal historical writing - historiography, primary source analysis, historical interpretation - as well as with the new opportunities for public engagement afforded by digital history.

We will examine both elite and non-elite modes of knowledge production and transmission, and how communication was used both to exert power and as a form of resistance.  Over the course of the semester, students will engage with primary sources, historical monographs and popular culture representations of communication and knowledge production in America's past.

Satisfies a major requirement in History

Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies Historical Thought distribution requirement

Students entering before 2012: satisfies History distribution requirement

Satisfied an interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies

HIS 264 The Digital Mexican Revolution
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Mangan

In depth study of the Mexican Revolution through political as well as cultural history.  Emphasis on traditional and digital methodologies.  No digital skills required. 

Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies Historical Thought distribution requirement.
Students entering before 2012: satisfies History distribution requirement.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.

MUS 265 Introduction to Digital Music Composition
Prerequisites & Notes

MUS 101 or permission of instructor. (Spring)

Instructor
Stasack

An approach to music composition using the platform of digital technology. Students will learn to implement contemporary compositional processes through the use of digital tools. Of particular emphasis is exploring the world of sound and its organization into meaningful and aesthetically coherent forms without the technical limitations of acoustic execution. Each student will create a final piece that will be realized in a group concert at the end of the semester.

Satisfies the Visual and Performing Arts distribution requirement.

MUS 385 Video Game Music (=FMS 385)
Prerequisites & Notes

Normally offered in alternate years; not offered in 2016-17.

Instructor
Lerner

Historical, stylistic, and analytic study of video game music from its origins in the arcade games of the 1970s to the present. Emphases on close readings of music in relation to gameplay, and vice versa. Includes training in digital audio manipulation to create sound design and musical sequences.

Satisfies the Liberal Studies distribution requirement. 

PHY 397 Independent Study in Advanced Software Development in Science (= CSC 397)
Prerequisites & Notes

CSC/PHY 200 or CSC 121 and one of PHY 310, CSC 231 or CSC 325, or permission of the instructor. (Fall/Spring)

Instructor
Kuchera

(Cross-listed as Computer Science 397) Independent study using computers to model dynamical systems in the natural sciences under the direction and supervision of the instructor who approves the specific topic of study. Emphasis is on the use of object-oriented programming and web-based protocols to investigate both dynamical systems and the representation of those systems as data structures and algorithms.

SOC 315 Media Effects (= COM 315)
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Martinez

An exploration of relevant theories and practices of conducting media effects research in the mass mediated/disseminated communication contexts including television, radio, print, popular culture, internet, and other forms of new media. Topics include health, advertising, edutainment, stereotypes, violence, pornography, music videos, video games, news, and politics.

Satisfies a major requirement in Sociology.
Satisfies Communication Studies and Film and Media Studies interdisciplinary minor requirements.
Satisfies the Liberal Studies distribution requirement.