ENGL 451B: Reading Literature with Computers

HEllo! I (Zach Whalen) will be teaching a new course in Spring 2020 that’s called “Reading Literature with Computers”. It’s a senior seminar for English Majors, and an elective for CDS majors and perhaps most importantly it fulfills a capstone requirement for Digital Studies minors.

As the title and the flier suggests, this will be about using computers to investigate, analyze, and answer questions about literature.

Here’s a more official course description:

This class is an investigation into what happens when we enlist the assistance of computers in analyzing, interpreting, and making arguments about literature. Computational approaches to literature have surged in popularity and visibility in the past decade or so — usually under the banner of “digital humanities” — so this class will attempt to historicize and respond to that emergence while practicing and experimenting with some of the key methods like stylometrics, topic modeling, and sentiment analysis. Students will read widely in the contemporary scholarship on computational text analysis or “cultural analytics” and develop individual projects that explore specific questions or texts. Many of the methods we will use involve Python, but no prior experience in programming is necessary to be successful in this class.

Space is limited, so let me know if you have any questions.