Home / DH Instruction / Course / DH Research Methods in Settler Colonial Studies: Syllabus

DH Research Methods in Settler Colonial Studies: Syllabus

Claremont Graduate University

New Worlds for All: Digital Humanities Research Methods

in Settler Colonial Studies

Fall 2016

Course Instructor:    Dr. Ashley Sanders

Ashley.Sanders@cgu.edu
O: 909.607.0894  C: 424.256.5960
Email is the best way to reach me.
Phone/Skype Hours: By appointment
Office Hours: Optional Labs on most Fridays (See schedule below)

Ashley Sanders holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialization in Digital Humanities from Michigan State University. She is a faculty member in the School of Arts and Humanities at Claremont Graduate University, where she is teaching courses on DH research methods, and the Director of the Claremont Colleges Digital Research Studio. Prior to arriving in Claremont, she was a high school mathematics teacher at Kalamazoo Central High School; a Network Developer for H-Net, an umbrella organization for over 200 humanities and social science scholarly networks; and project manager for the digitization of the Topanga Historical Society’s archives.

Course Schedule

Semester start/end dates: August 29 – December 17, 2016
Meeting day, time:  Wednesday, 4:00 – 6:50
Course Location: Digital Tool Shed, Honnold-Mudd Library

Course Description

This course bridges two exciting nascent fields by exploring the origins and development of settler colonies using digital humanities research methodologies to test the theoretical framework of settler colonial studies based on DH-enabled analysis of primary sources. It explores the following two big questions:

  • What factors shape(d) how settler colonies form(ed) and develop(ed)?
  • How and why are digital tools and methods used in academic research?

The first question is a pressing one in the emerging field of settler colonial studies, and its exploration in this course provides students the opportunity to weigh in on this important scholarly conversation through their digital scholarship. The second question is a pressing one for students regardless of whether they choose an academic, “alt-ac”, industry, or non-profit career path. Throughout the course, students will develop greater fluency with scholarly and transferrable digital skills, such as building datasets from complex sources, mining and analyzing texts, and producing media-rich online content. Readings will include the works of leading settler colonial theorists Lorenzo Veracini and Patrick Wolfe; historians of settler colonialism, such as Lisa Ford and Margaret Jacobs; and DH articles and digital projects exemplifying the various research methodologies students will utilize.

Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate facility in the following digital humanities skills and research methodologies:
  • Basic programming with Python
  • Text analysis (both “close” and “distant” reading)
  • Topic Modeling
  • Data preparation and analysis
  • Temporal data visualization
  • Network visualization
  1. Critically examine the strengths and weaknesses of these methods and determine which approach is most appropriate for certain types of projects and questions
  2. Synthesize the results of digitally-enabled research and summarize the relevant historiography to support a scholarly argument

 

Schedule of assignment due dates and lab topics

WEEK DUE DATE ASSIGNMENTS DUE LABS OTHER
1 Aug. 31
  • Creating WordPress site
  • Text analysis with Voyant Tools
2 Sept. 7 Paper 1: Voyant Tools
  • TimelineJS
  • MyHistro
3 Sept. 14 Paper 2: Timelines Website development
4 Sept. 21 Website development
5 Sept. 28 Creating dataset from unstructured data
6 Oct. 5 Dataset from Ahmed Bey’s memoir Network visualization
7 Oct. 12 Paper 3: Network Visualization Programming basics:

  • Command Line
  • GitHub
8 Oct. 19 Final Paper 1st draft (5-7 pages)
  • Programming
  • Writing workshop (continued)
9 Oct. 26 Programming
10 Nov. 2 Paper 4: Integrating text & network analysis Programming
11 Nov. 9 No class
12 Nov. 16 Topic Modeling
13 Nov. 30 Paper 5: Reflection TBD
14 Dec. 7 Polishing Website
15 Dec. 14 Final paper & website due

 

Class Element Weight
Participation in class 10%
Papers 1-5 30%
Data Set from Ahmed Bey’s Memoir 5%
1st Draft of Final Paper 5%
Final Paper 20%
Final (Website) 30%

I will make every effort to return to you each assignment with feedback within 7 days.

 

Grading 

Your grade will be calculated using the following scale. Grades with plus or minus designations are at the professor’s discretion.

Letter Grade Grade Point Description Learning Outcome
A 4.0 Complete mastery of course material and additional insight beyond course material Insightful
B 3.0 Complete mastery of course material Proficient
C 2.0 Gaps in mastery of course material; not at level expected by the program Developing
U 0 Unsatisfactory Ineffective

 

Continual matriculation at CGU requires a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in all coursework taken at CGU.  Students may not have more than two incompletes.  Details of the policy are found on the Student Services webpage (http://www.cgu.edu/pages/5081.asp).

See the attached assignment descriptions and rubrics for details

 

DATE TIME FOCUS
Friday, 9/2 10:00-11:15
  • Creating WordPress site
  • Text analysis with Voyant Tools
Friday, 9/9 10:00-12:00
  • TimelineJS
  • MyHistro
Monday, 9/12

Tuesday, 9/13

11:00-12:00

11:00-12:00

Website development
Friday, 9/23 10:00-12:00 Website development
Friday, 9/30 10:00-12:00 Creating dataset from unstructured data
Friday, 10/7 10:00-12:00 Network visualization
Friday, 10/14 10:00-12:00 Programming basics: Command line, GitHub
Friday, 10/21 10:00-12:00
  • Programming
  • Writing Workshop (continued)
Friday, 10/28 10:00-12:00 Programming
Friday, 11/4 10:00-12:00 Programming
Friday, 11/11 10:00-12:00 Programming
Friday, 11/18 10:00-12:00 Website development
Monday, 11/21

Tuesday, 11/22

11:00-12:00

11:00-12:00

TBD
Friday, 12/2 10:00-12:00 Preparing website for final assessment
Friday, 12/9 10:00-12:00 Polishing Website

CGU – HUM340A Lab Dates and Topics

All labs are optional and will be held in the Digital Tool Shed, 2nd Floor Honnold-Mudd Library
The topics are loose guidelines. Feel free to come in with other questions as well.

 

Course Policies:

The CGU institutional policies apply to each course offered at CGU. A few are detailed in the space below. Students are encouraged to review the student handbook for the program as well as the policy documentation within the bulletin and on the Registrar’s pages (http://bulletin.cgu.edu/   http://www.cgu.edu/pages/179.asp).

 

Attendance

Students are expected to attend all classes.  Students who are unable to attend class must seek permission for an excused absence from the course director or teaching assistant.  Unapproved absences or late attendance for three or more classes may result in a lower grade or an “incomplete” for the course.  If a student has to miss a class, he or she should arrange to get notes from a fellow student and is strongly encouraged to meet with the teaching assistant to obtain the missed material. Missed extra-credit quizzes and papers will not be available for re-taking.

 

Scientific and Professional Ethics

The work you do in this course must be your own. Feel free to build on, react to, criticize, and analyze the ideas of others but, when you do, make it known whose ideas you are working with. You must explicitly acknowledge when your work builds on someone else’s ideas, including ideas of classmates, professors, and authors you read.  If you ever have questions about drawing the line between others’ work and your own, ask the course professor who will give you guidance. Exams must be completed independently. Any collaboration on answers to exams, unless expressly permitted, may result in an automatic failing grade and possible expulsion from the Program.  Additional information on CGU academic honesty is available on the Student Services webpage (http://www.cgu.edu/pages/1132.asp).

 

Instructor Feedback and Communication

The best way to get in touch with me is email.  I will respond to email/voice messages within two business days. 

 

Expectations and Logistics

You are expected to complete all of the readings prior to class and come prepared to participate in the class discussion. The 5 project papers and final paper will be submitted through Canvas and included in your WordPress site. Please follow the Chicago/Turabian style guide for formatting and citations when you submit your papers to Canvas. On your website, you can remove your name, date, etc., but keep the citations. You will receive feedback on your writing by the next class unless otherwise stated.

 

Accommodations for Students with DisabilitiesCGU is committed to offering auxiliary aids and services to students with verifiable disabilities, in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  If you are seeking academic accommodations as a student with a disability or suspect that you have a disability, please contact CGU’s Office of Disability Services as early as possible.  Students need to register with this office before academic accommodations can be prescribed through an Accommodation(s) Letter and implemented in the classroom. Additional information and resources can be found on the linked page: (http://www.cgu.edu/pages/1154.asp).

 

Mental Health Resources:

Graduate school is a context where mental health struggles can be exacerbated. If you ever find yourself struggling, please do not hesitate to ask for help. If you wish to seek out campus resources, here is some basic information about Monsour (http://www.cuc.claremont.edu/monsour/):

“Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (MCAPS) is committed to promoting psychological wellness for all students served by the Claremont University Consortium. Our well-trained team of psychologists, psychiatrists, and post-doctoral and intern therapists offer support for a range of psychological issues in a confidential and safe environment.”

Phone 909-621-8202
Fax      909-621-8482
After hours emergency  909-607-2000

Tranquada Student Services Center, 1st floor
757 College Way
Claremont, CA 91711

 

Other Resources:

 

Week Date Reading/Weekly work Assignment Due
1 Aug. 31
2 Sept. 7
  1. Quantifying Kissinger: http://blog.quantifyingkissinger.com/
  2. The Plateau People’s Web Portal: http://mukurtu.org/project/the-plateau-peoples-web-portal/
  3. Freedom’s Ring: http://freedomsring.stanford.edu/?view=Speech
Paper 1: Voyant Tools
3 Sept. 14
  • Alan Liu, “The State of the Digital Humanities” http://liu.english.ucsb.edu/the-state-of-the-digital-humanities-a-report-and-a-critique/
  • Sessions, Jennifer E. By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria. Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2011. Introduction & Chs 1-2
  • Ahmed Bey’s Memoir (Read through once to understand the events Ahmed Bey describes. Then go through it one more time to highlight all references to people, people groups, and places and begin to map out the relations among them)
Paper 2: Timelines
Week Date Reading/Weekly work Assignment Due
4 Sept. 21
  • Ruedy, John. Modern Algeria: The Origins and Development of a Nation. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992).  Intro, Chs. 1-2
  • Brower, Benjamin Claude. A Desert Named Peace: The Violence of France’s Empire in the Algerian Sahara, 1844-1902. History and Society of the Modern Middle East. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. Intro, Chs 1-3
  • DH Curation Guide: Introduction & Data Representation
5 Sept. 28
6 Oct. 5
  • Witgen, Michael. Infinity of Nations: How the Native New World Shaped Early North America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. Each person will be assigned a different chapter and create a list of all people and note what their relationships are to others within the chapter.
  • Scott Weingart, “Demystifying Networks, Parts I & II,” Journal of Digital Humanities1:1 (Winter 2011).
  • Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning about a Highly Connected World, Chs. 1-2.
  • Optional: Franco Moretti, “Network Theory, Plot Analysis,” Literary Lab Pamphlet 2, Stanford Literary Lab (May 2011). <https://litlab.stanford.edu/LiteraryLabPamphlet2.pdf>
Dataset from Ahmed Bey’s memoir
7 Oct. 12
  • White, Richard. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. Cambridge Studies in North American Indian History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Chs. 9-10
  • Tooling up for Digital Humanities: Text Analysis. Read through all 8 sections.
  • John Laudun, “Text Analytics 101.”
  • Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities: Introduction, Chs 1-2. Complete the exercises.
Paper 3: Network Visualization
Week Date Reading/Weekly work Assignment Due
8 Oct. 19 Final Paper 1st draft (5-7 pages)
9 Oct. 26
  • Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities: Ch 5. Complete the exercises.
  • McGlinchey, Frazer Dorian. “‘A Superior Civilization’: Appropriation, Negotiation, and Interaction in the Northwest Territory, 1787-1795.” In The Boundaries Between Us: Natives and Newcomers Along the Frontiers of the Old Northwest Territory, 1750-1850, 118–42. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2006.
  • Saler, Bethel. The Settlers’ Empire: Colonialism and State Formation in America’s Old Northwest. 1st ed. Early American Studies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. Introduction, Chs. 1-2.
10 Nov. 2
  • Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities: Ch 6. Complete the exercises.
  • O’Callaghan, Jerry A. “The Western Lands, 1776-84: Catalyst for Nationhood.” Journal of Forest History 31, no. 3 (July 1, 1987): 133–38. doi:10.2307/4005137.
  • Buss, James Joseph. Winning the West with Words: Language and Conquest in the Lower Great Lakes. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011. Introduction, Chs. 1-2, 6-7.
Paper 4: Text analysis
11 Nov. 9
Week Date Reading/Weekly work Assignment Due
12 Nov. 16
13 Nov. 30 Paper 5: Topic Modeling
14 Dec. 7 Time will be reserved in the final week to:

  • define each of the DH research methodologies employed
  • discuss lingering questions
  • polish websites
  • craft a summary argument based on research throughout the semester, and
  • determine for which types of research and questions each DH tool and methodology is most appropriate.
15 Dec. 14 Final Due Final paper & website due

 

Final Assessment: Website & Final Paper

Due: Wednesday, December 14

Purpose: The purpose of this cumulative final assessment is twofold: (1) to demonstrate your skills in digital humanities research methods to colleagues and potential employers, and (2) to practice communicating the results of your research in writing for an audience of scholars beyond your professor. The website you build and the writing you contribute to the scholarly conversation through this medium will help you become more familiar with academic norms. It is my hope that this assignment will help you develop greater confidence in yourself as a scholar and empower you to develop new skills and experiment with other research methods and tools.

Skills: This assignment will help you practices the following skills that are essential to your work as a twenty-first century scholars:

  • Applying DH research methods to answer questions
  • Describing research methods
  • Justifying the use of certain methods to answer scholarly questions
  • Summarizing historical arguments
  • Synthesizing research results and using findings as evidence in scholarly writing

Knowledge: This assignment will demonstrate your familiarity with the following content knowledge:

  • Settler colonialism – generally – and, specifically, in the United States and Algeria
  • Text analysis
  • Temporal data visualization
  • Topic modeling
  • Network visualization
  • Basic programming
  • Website design

Task:

  • WordPress site that includes:
    • About page
    • CV
    • 5 project papers that you have turned in and revised throughout the semester as individual posts:
      • Description of each project with embedded images, as well as embedded or linked visualizations and datasets
      • Explanation of your role in its creation
      • A short description (1-3 paragraphs) of the process used to create it
      • List the questions each project sought to answer and describe the conclusions you drew after employing the DH research method and analyzing the results
    • A 1-2 page (single-spaced) reflection of how you might (or plan to) use one or more of the skills learned this semester in your own research
    • Final Paper:
      • Answer the following question in a scholarly essay based on your readings and the projects you’ve done throughout the semester: What factors shaped the formation and development of settler colonies in the United States and French Algeria?
      • A successful essay will include a clear thesis statement and incorporate evidence from the readings and findings from the mini DH projects completed over the course of the semester to support the argument. All evidence needs to be cited in Chicago/Turabian style.
      • 5 pages single-spaced or 10 pages double-spaced, 12-point font
      • Add this paper to your website AND turn it in as a Word document to Canvas

 

Criteria for Success:

See the rubrics

 

Project Papers

Due Dates:

Sept. 7 Sept. 14 Oct. 12 Nov. 2 Nov. 30
Paper 1:

Voyant Tools

Paper 2:

Timelines

Paper 3:

Network Visualization

Paper 4:

Text Analysis

Paper 5:

Topic Modeling

 

Purpose: Each of these papers will help you clarify and communicate your understanding of the various digital humanities research methods we will explore this semester. These papers will also be foundational to analyzing of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the methods and to communicating your rationale for using one (or more) to answer certain types of questions. As exemplified in the American Historical Association’s Guidelines for the Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians, it is incumbent on scholars to “be as clear as possible at each stage of conceiving, building, and sharing [digital] scholarship about the implications and significance of using the digital medium for their contribution to the scholarly conversation” (AHA, Guidelines for the Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians, 2).

Task:

Each paper needs to include the following elements:

  1. Describe the project and the process used with embedded images, as well as embedded or linked visualizations and datasets (3-4 paragraphs)
  2. Explain your role in its creation (1 paragraph)
  3. List the questions the project sought to answer (bullets are fine)
  4. Explain your conclusions/findings (at least 2 paragraphs)

You can either write in a narrative style that ties the above elements into a coherent essay or number your responses to each prompt. Please format the paper using 12-point font and follow the Chicago/Turabian citation style guide. Submit this paper through Canvas prior to the class meeting time (4:00pm PST) on the date it is due.

Criteria for Success:

See the writing rubric below.

 

WRITING RUBRIC  Exemplary (4.0) Proficient (3.0) Emerging (2.0) Unsatisfactory (1.0)
Clarity & Content Clear thesis statement & argument. Cohesive. Raises important issues or ideas not previously covered in literature cited. Topic is carefully focused & clearly outlines major points related to topic. General ideas are expanded upon in logical manner, extending the significance of student’s work. Ideas presented closely follow conventional concepts with little expansion or development. Certain logical connections or issues essential to topic omitted. Major ideas related to the content may be ignored or inadequately discussed
Evidence Evidence provided is appropriate (relevant) and sufficient. Evidence is properly cited and positioned within the text to support the argument. Sources are well chosen but students’ handling of material may not fully support their argument. May have errors in attribution. Some sources do not support, or may be insufficient to support, argument. Sources may be poorly selected and improperly cited. Evidence is insufficient or irrelevant to the thesis and/or is improperly cited or uncited.
Organization Excels in organization & representation of ideas. Writing flows smoothly throughout from intro to conclusion. Transitions effectively aid reader in following writer’s logic. Ideas are logically arranged to present sound scholarly argument. Ideas & concepts are generally satisfactorily presented although lapses in logic & organization are apparent. Content may be poorly focused or the scholarly argument is weak. Overall, the content & organization needs significant revision to represent a critical analysis of the topic.
Grammar Word choice is appropriate. Sentence structure is correct and clarifies meaning. Essentially error-free in terms of mechanics. While there may be minor errors, the paper follows normal conventions of spelling and grammar throughout. Errors do not significantly interfere with topic comprehensibility. Inconsistency and/or errors in syntax and/or grammar  result in weak formulation of argument or lead to difficulties in reader understanding. Frequent errors in spelling, grammar (such as subject/verb agreement & correct tense), sentence structure, and/or other writing conventions make comprehension difficult.
Student Overall Score __________

 

WEBSITE RUBRIC  Exemplary (4.0) Proficient (3.0) Emerging (2.0) Unsatisfactory (1.0)
Content 9 pages/posts that include

  • About page
  • CV
  • Reflection
  • 5 project papers
  • Final paper
8 pages/posts that include the 5 papers and address the paper assignment elements 7 pages/posts that include the 5 papers and address most of the paper assignment elements Fewer than 6 pages/posts.
Writing Clear, concise and well-written with no serious errors. There are a few errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. These require minor editing and revision. There are four or more errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling requiring editing and revision. There are more than six errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling requiring major editing and revision.
Organization The navigation links are intuitive. The various parts of the website are labeled, clearly organized and allow the reader to easily locate a page/post and move to related pages or a different section. All pages connect to the navigation menu, and all external links connect to the appropriate website or file. The navigation links generally function well, but it is not always clear how to locate a post or move to related pages or different section. Most of the pages connect to the navigation menu. Most of the external links connect to the appropriate website or file. The navigation links are somewhat confusing, and it is often unclear how to locate a post or move to related pages or a different section. Some of the pages connect to the navigation menu, but in other places the links do not connect to preceding pages or to the navigation menu. Some of the external links do not connect to the appropriate website or file. The navigation links are confusing, and it is difficult to locate posts and move to related pages or a different section. There are significant problems with pages connecting to preceding pages or the navigation menu. Many of the external links do not connect to the appropriate website or file.
Usability, accessibility & Layout

 

(see next page for full details)

Font sizes, color, background, headings, paragraphing, and use of white space are consistent, appropriate and make the site easy to read and navigate. Font sizes, color, background, headings, paragraphing, and use of white space are generally appropriate and make the site relatively easy to read and navigate. Font sizes, color, and background are generally consistent and enhance the readability of the text. Font styles, white space, paragraphing, headings and formatting tools are used inconsistently and decrease reader’s comprehension of the site. Font sizes, color, background, font styles, white space, paragraphing, headings and formatting tools are used inconsistently so the site appears cluttered and decrease reader’s comprehension of the site.
Student Overall Score __________

 

Criteria Exemplary (4.0) Proficient (3.0) Emerging (2.0) Unsatisfactory (1.0)
Usability and Accessibility:
Text Elements, Layout, and Color
The site is easy to read. Fonts and type size vary appropriately for headings, sub-headings and text. The site is generally easy to read. Fonts and type size vary appropriately for headings, sub-headings and text. The site is often difficult to read due to inappropriate use of fonts and type size for headings, sub-headings, text or long paragraphs. The site is difficult to read due to inappropriate use of fonts, type size for headings, sub-headings and text and font styles (italic, bold, underline).
Use of headings, sub-headings and paragraphs promotes easy scanning. In general, use of headings, sub-headings and paragraphs promotes easy scanning. Inconsistent use of font styles (italic, bold, underline) distracts the reader. Lack of paragraphing impedes scanning
Use of font styles (italic, bold, underline) is consistent and improves readability. Use of font styles (italic, bold, underline) is generally consistent. Some formatting tools are under or over-utilized and decrease the readers’ accessibility to the content. Many formatting tools are under or over-utilized and decrease the reader accessibility to the content.
Horizontal and vertical white space alignment is used appropriately to organize content. Horizontal and vertical white space alignment is generally used appropriately to organize content. Horizontal and vertical white space alignment is sometimes used inappropriately to organize content. Horizontal and vertical white space alignment is used inappropriately, and the content appears disorganized and cluttered.
Color of background, fonts, and links enhance the readability and aesthetic quality, and are used consistently throughout the site. Color of background, fonts, and links generally enhance the read-ability of the text, and are generally used consistently throughout the site. Color of background, fonts, and links generally enhance the read-ability of the text, and are generally used consistently throughout the site. Color of background, fonts, and links decrease the readability of the text, are distracting and used inconsistently throughout the site.

 

 

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