CSCI-UA.380-1: Computing in the Humanities and the Arts -- Prof. Deena Engel - Fall, 2012




Class Notes




Guest Speakers



Course Description

The advent of new technologies and digitization have had a huge impact on all aspects and all fields of study and research in the Humanities and the Arts. Scholars and curators - as well as authors, composers, artists and others - have seen enormous opportunities to explore their domains in new ways.

Digitization of text and images allows for preservation, for study, and has vastly changed how the results of these efforts are delivered. In some cases, current technology offers a new understanding of traditional materials such as electronic cataloguing of text and images to render historical documents and images available to a much wider audience. In other cases, software techniques - such as using textual analysis software to produce detailed and specialized concordances of texts - offer insights otherwise unavailable or too cumbersome to obtain. In addition, and in a completely different way, writers, composers, and artists are exploring these technologies to create new types of work and explore the boundaries of their creativity - such as digital-born art, electronic music, interactive fiction and other new modes of creativity - as they explore the new media of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

This is a very exciting time to study Computing in the Humanities and the Arts because we are both witnesses and participants as we work with and design new and creative tools for study.

There are no pre-requisites for this course in the Humanities or the Arts. The computing pre-requisites are CSCI-UA.,4 (Introduction to Web Design and Computer Principles or equivalent) and CSCI-UA.2 (Introduction to Programming and Computers or equivalent.) Students with additional programming experience are welcome as assignments are tailored to the student's level. If you have any questions on your background for this course, please feel free to see me during my office hours, or contact me for an appointment at 212-998-3131 or send me email and I will be happy to meet with you.

Computing topics will include: advanced web design; an in-depth study of XML, XSLT and related technologies; using Processing as an artistic medium; and working with multi-media.

Class Information

  • Class will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00PM — 3:15PM (WWH Room 101)
  • Instructor Office Hours - Tuesdays 9:30 -11:00 AM; Thursdays 3:30 - 5:00 PM; and by appointment
  • T.A. Office Hours:
    • Tuesdays 5-7 PM in WWH room 412
    • Fridays 1-4 PM in WWH rrom 505
    • Email contact

Contact Information

Deena Engel
Department of Computer Science
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
251 Mercer Street, Room 526
New York, New York 10012
Tel.: 212-998-3131

Course Requirements

Homeworks will include several small programming and web-based assignments (40% of the total grade) as well as a midterm exam in class (15% of the final grade) , a final research project (at 30% of the final grade) and a final exam (15% of the final grade). Projects will be web-based. As Computing in the Humanities and the Arts encompasses such a wide variety of topics - in literature, history, music and the arts - students will be encouraged to build models and sites based on content in the field of their choice within the Humanities and the Arts.

Course Materials

Computer Resources:

All students will be provided with an account on an undergraduate web server to post their on-line work. All software needed for this course will be provided through the web-server and/or the ITS labs. Further resources will be available through the ITS Digital Studio.

Books and other Resources:

Books on Reserve at the Bobst Library for this class.

We will have access to NYU Archives for research projects.

Class readings will be posted to the Readings page and will use many on-line resources, including those following, among others:

XML in a Nutshell - available on-line through the Bobst Library

XML in a Nutshell
by Elliotte Rusty Harold; W. Scott Means
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pub Date: September 2004
ISBN: 0-596-00764-

Learning XML - available on-line through the Bobst Library

Learning XML, Second Edition
By: Erik T. Ray
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Inc.
Pub. Date: September 22, 2003
Print ISBN-13: 978-0-596-00420-0

A Companion to Digital Humanities - available on-line

A Companion to Digital Humanities
ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth.
Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

A Companion to Digital Literary Studies - available on-line

A Companion to Digital Literary Studies
ed. Susan Schreibman and Ray Siemens
Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.


I look forward to working with everyone in this exciting new field. If at any time during the semester you are excited about a particular topic which you would like to research in more depth, please do not hesitate to let me know. By the same token, if you feel behind or lost with any of the material, please don't hesitate to see me as well.

Deena Engel