Every year the Digital Humanities Lab convenes to advance research in computational culture studies understood both as the study of computational culture and as computational approaches to the study of culture and society. In addition to traditional reading, discussion, and writing components of the class, participants are expected to work on a semester-long data-driven lab-based research project. Students and scholars from any field, at any stage of their academic or professional career, and at all levels of technical and critical proficiency are welcome to attend.
The course was designed with two goals in mind: first, to expand our shared methodological toolkit (aka, learn to code), and second, to examine the critical literature on a selected topic related to texts, information technology, and online communities.
The theme for the spring of 2014 is illicit knowledge. In working with several large datasets related to information piracy we will explore the ethics of stealing and sharing, the history and the future of censorship, the infrastructure and the social dynamics of underground library archives, laws protecting and punishing whistleblowers, the difference between remix and plagiarism, copyright regimes and free culture.
A provisinal syllabus can be found here.
My take on Columbia’s Contemporary Civilization core requirement. What a journey: reading Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Seneca with a group of students who already covered the lit canon from Homer to Woolf.
“Founded in 1919 as a course on War and Peace Issues, the central purpose of Contemporary Civilization is to introduce students to a range of issues concerning the kinds of communities – political, social, moral, and religious – that human beings construct for themselves and the values that inform and define such communities; the course is intended to prepare students to become active and informed citizens. While readings in this one-year course change from time to time, the factors that lead to adoption of a text always include historical influence, the presentation of ideas of enduring importance, and the demonstrated ability of a text to provoke productive discussion.”
Sarah Laskow from Columbia Journalism Review stopped by the lab last week and wrote a great piece about piracyLab. Here is a short excerpt:
“In anticipation of Congress’ next big fight over copyright, legal academics are working to gather data and learn how copyright actually works in the real world. But lawyers aren’t the only academics who have been using empirical techniques to gather information on the people who work within—and outside of—copyright law in its current form. Scholars of business, anthropology, and literature have also been collecting data on intellectual property, creativity and innovation.”
Read more at CJR!