DGHM 150: DH Studio (Fall 2017)

Text analysis of Native American-United States treaties between 1783 and 1795

DGHM 150: DH Studio (Fall 2017)

Claremont McKenna College

DGHM 150: DH Studio

Fall 2017

Course Instructor: Dr. Ashley Sanders Garcia

Email is the best way to reach me.
Phone/Skype Hours: By appointment
Office Hours: Wednesday 12:30-2:30

Ashley Sanders Garcia holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialization in Digital Humanities from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and History Secondary Education from Western Michigan University. She is the Director of the Digital Research Studio at the Claremont Colleges, and serves as a faculty member at Claremont Graduate University and at Claremont McKenna College.

Course TAs:

Eddie Surman (Eddie_Surman@cuc.claremont.edu)

Hamzah Ibrahim (Hamzah.Ibrahim@cgu.edu)

Course Schedule

Semester start/end dates: August 30 – December 15, 2017
Meeting day, time:  Monday 4:00-5:15 & Wednesday 2:45-5:30
Course Location: Research Studio, Honnold-Mudd Library

Course Description

This is a project-based course that focuses on the applied integration of humanistic inquiry, data science, computer science, and project management to build out and present a scholarly digital humanities (DH) project. Students work in teams of 4-6, alongside the instructors, to design and create a project based on the professors’ source material and research. This course also offers opportunities to present both the process and product and the potential to publish this work in DH and disciplinary journals. In Fall 2017, this course will focus on data mining, machine learning, and text analysis of 18th century documents relating to the settlement of the American Midwest and relations between the Native communities and settlers. Humanities and social science students will learn how to ask and answer specific scholarly questions about the texts through user-friendly tools and by working with computer science students to learn and apply more sophisticated methods of computational analysis. Computer science students will have the opportunity to work with cutting edge data mining and machine learning tools and approaches, as well as the chance to develop improvements for open source software.

Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  1. Read and interpret primary sources with nuance and sensitivity to bias
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of and the ability to apply the literature and methods of historians, as well as computer and data scientists to answer big questions about and with historical documents
  3. Substantiate arguments using both close and distant reading techniques
  4. Appropriately employ historical context and theoretical frameworks to inform arguments
  5. Employ quantitative and qualitative evidence (and know when to use each)
  6. Express yourself effectively orally and in writing
  7. CS: Use fundamental data structures, algorithms, and programming techniques to implement programming projects of moderate to large size using mainstream programming languages.
  8. CS: Apply fundamental CS knowledge to the topics in advanced electives

Schedule of assignment due dates:

Wed, Aug. 30
Mon, Sept. 4 Reading
Wed, Sept. 6 Reading Summary: Faragher

Reading Summary: Sleeper-Smith

Wed, Sept. 13 Reading Summary: Nichols
Wed, Sept. 20 Reading Summary: Saler
Wed, Sept. 27 Project pitches
Wed, Oct. 4 Reading Summary: Vickers
Mon, Oct. 9 Team Project Charter
Wed, Oct. 11 Reading Summary: White
Wed, Oct. 25 Team Midterm

Individual 2-page paper

Mon, Nov. 13 Team project update
Mon, Nov. 20 DRAFT of final report
Dec 11-15 Final project presentation
Dec 15 Final project

Final team report


Class Element Weight
Participation in class and team 10%
Reading Summaries 20%
Project Charter 20%
Individual Paper 15%
1st Draft of Final Paper 5%
Final Paper & Project 20%
Final Project Presentation 10%

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


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

A+ 100-98 C+ 79-78
A 97-94 C 77-74
A- 93-90 C- 73-70
B+ 89-88 D+ 69-68
B 87-84 D 67-64
B- 83-80 D- 63-60

See separate assignment descriptions and rubrics for details


Course Policies:

The CMC institutional policies apply to each course offered at CMC. 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.


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.  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.

Academic Integrity:

Claremont McKenna College is an academic community where it is assumed that all individual members are committed to high ethical standards in meeting their responsibilities and in their relationships with each other. Students are expected to behave as mature and responsible members of this community and to follow ethical standards both in their personal conduct and in their behavior towards other members of the community. The College expects students to understand and to follow basic standards https://www.actionsolar.net/ of honesty and integrity. Some common violations of these basic standards of academic integrity include but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating on tests and examinations, presenting work completed for one course as original work for another, and other forms of dishonest performance on college assignments. For the full statement, see http://registrar.claremontmckenna.edu/acpolicy/integrity.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: (to be drafted together as a class)


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

Claremont McKenna College is committed to providing equal access to its programs, services and facilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and subsequent amendments. The Dean of Students Office is responsible for coordinating disability support services for students, with other College departments assisting in the provision of accommodations for students. The Department of Human Resources works with faculty and staff who qualify for accommodations. If you wish to access disability support services you must self-identify your need for accommodations in advance with the Dean of Students Office. You may do so by submitting a completed “Request for Disability Support Services” form (available here or from the Dean of Students office) along with current documentation which establishes that you have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (see “Documentation” for further details).

Mental Health Resources:

College 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/):

Phone   909-621-8202
Fax      909-621-8482
After hours emergency  909-607-2000
Tranquada Student Services Ctr, 1st floor
757 College Way, Claremont, CA 91711

Other Resources:

Center for Writing and Public Discourse

Claremont McKenna College
850 Columbia Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711

Phone: (909) 607-4142
Email: writing@cmc.edu

[Free] Software to Download:

Notepad++ OR

Sublime Text Editor







For those who will be programming: Python [2 or 3] https://www.python.org/downloads/

Voyant Tools (optional download)


Instructions: docs.voyant-tools.org/resources/run-your-own/voyant-server/

Dates Class Outline
Wed., Aug 30

[unit 1 begins]


Animating questions discussion

Discuss syllabus, assignments, and set expectations of professor and each other.

Introduce source materials.

Presentation: What is DH?
Closing: 3-2-1


Sept. 4

·         Reading:

E. H. Carr, “What is History?” (in Sakai)

Stefan Sinclair and Geoffrey Rockwell, Hermeneutica: Computer-Assisted Interpretation in the Humanities (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2016): Chapter 1

Class Discussion



Sept. 6

Assignment: Written summaries of Faragher & Sleeper-Smith;


John Mack Faragher, Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer (New York: Holt, 1993): Chapters 4-6.

Susan Sleeper-Smith, Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001): Chapters 4-5

Workshop: Primary Source Analysis

Closing: 1 Thing


Sept. 11


Hermeneutica: Chapters 2-3.

Ted Underwood, ”Seven Ways Humanists are Using Computers to Understand Text,” The Stone and the Shell. Blog. (4 June 2015).

Class Discussion

Workshop: Voyant Tools

Closing: Quick-write: What kinds of questions can text analysis help us answer?


Sept. 13

Assignment: Written summary of Nichols


David Andrew Nichols, Red Gentlemen and White Savages: Indians, Federalists, and the Search for Order on the American Frontier (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008): Introduction, chapters 1-4.

Geoffrey Rockwell, “What is Text Analysis, Really?”, Literary and Linguistic Computing, 18, no. 2 (2003): 209-219. Preprint available at:

Hermeneutica: Chapter 4.

Class discussion

Project: Brainstorm >4 project ideas that teams could explore using these source materials. Start with your questions.


Sept. 18

Workshop: Apply Voyant Tools to one set of documents. Focus on questions that can be asked and answered.

Project: Continue defining possible projects


Sept. 20

Assignment: Written summary of Saler


Bethel Saler, The Settlers’ Empire: Colonialism and State Formation in America’s Old Northwest (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015): Introduction, chapters 1-2.

Tim Hitchcock and William J. Turkel, “The Old Bailey Proceedings, 1674–1913: Text Mining for Evidence of Court Behavior,” Law and History Review 34, no. 4 (November 2016), 929-955.

Hermeneutica: Chapter 5

Assignment:  Project pitches. Critiques & new questions that could be asked. Determine the 2-3 projects, team members, and captains.


Sept. 25

Workshop: Cleaning texts with RegEx.

Project: Begin designing project and determining next steps


Sept. 27


Shawn Graham, Ian Milligan, and Scott Weingart, Exploring Big Historical Data: The Historian’s Macroscope (Imperial College Press, 2015): Introduction, chapter 1.

Hermeneutica: Chapter 6

Class Discussion: Is everything quantifiable?

Project: Begin designing project and determining next steps

Closing: Quick Write


Oct. 2


Milena Roadzikowska & Stan Ruecker, “The Iterative Design of a Project Charter for Interdisciplinary Research,” Conference Proceedings of the 7th Annual Meeting of the ACM (2004).

Hermeneutica: Chapters 7-8

Class Discussion: Synthesize what we know about the historical narrative of these people, time and place. What are the questions historians have asked? Which people have they focused on? (Did they leave anyone out?) How did they answer the questions they asked? How do their stories coalesce into a whole?  What questions do you have about these people and events? Include a written synthesis in the project charter to demonstrate how the proposed project will contest or extend existing narratives/theories.

Workshop: Draft project charter

Project Charter Templates & Guidelines

Project Charter Template for Word (opens a new Word document) 


Oct. 4

Assignment: Written summary of Vickers.


Daniel Vickers, “Competency and Competition: Economic Culture in Early America.” The William and Mary Quarterly 47, no. 1 (1990): 3-29.

Class Discussion

Workshop: Peer review project charters.


Oct. 9

Assignment: Project charters are due.


Exploring Big Historical Data, chapter 2.

Hermeneutica: Chapter 9

Class Discussion:

Informal team presentations on each proposed project

Discuss next steps for each project

Project: Determine group meeting times, roles, responsibilities, milestones, and immediate next steps.


Oct. 11

Assignment: Written summary of White.


Richard White, Middle Ground, chapters 9-10.

Class Discussion:

(2 hours) Project Work



Oct. 16

No Class. Fall Break.

Oct. 18


Hermeneutica: Chapters 10-11.

Leon, Sharon M. “Project Management for Humanists: Preparing Future Primary Investigators,” Alt Academy.( 2011.) http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/alt-ac/pieces/project-management-humanists. Sections I & II.

(1 page) Bethany Nowviskie’s “Ten rules for humanities scholars new to project management”

(1 page) Off the Tracks. “Collaborators’ Bill of Rights”. 2011. March 5, 2015. http://mcpress.media-commons.org/offthetracks/part-one-models-for-collaboration-career-paths-acquiring-institutional-support-and-transformation-in-the-field/a-collaboration/collaborators’-bill-of-rights/.

Workshop: Project management basics

Project Work & begin working on team midterm

Midterm: DUE October 25.

  • Team: written & oral project update & literature review (work on in class)
  • Individual: 2-page single-spaced reflection on teamwork and the project

Oct. 23

Project work

Skill workshop(s) if needed/requested


Oct. 25

Midterm: DUE October 25.

  • Team: written & oral project update & literature review (work on in class)
  • Individual: 2-page single-spaced reflection on teamwork and the project

Oct. 30

Feedback on Midterm

Full Class Meeting: Troubleshooting team dynamics and/or technical details.


Nov. 1


Journal of Digital Humanities 2, no. 1 (winter 2012): http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/2-1/.

Robert K. Nelson and Digital Scholarship Lab, University of Richmond, “Mining the Dispatch,” 2011, http://dsl.richmond.edu/dispatch/.

Project work or workshop on MALLET with Karthik and Hamzah.


Nov. 6

Project work or workshop on MALLET with Karthik and Hamzah.


Exploring Big Historical Data, chapter 4.

Jure Leskovec, Anand Rajaraman, and Jeff Ullman, Mining of Massive Datasets, 2nd ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2014), http://www.mmds.org/: Chapter 1.

Class Discussion: Questions on project, topic modeling, and/or writing assignment.


Nov. 8

Project work.

Draft one paragraph argument and outline evidence for individual paper.


Nov. 13

Team project update verbal presentations.

Assignment: Individual papers (5-6 pages) that make a historical argument based on findings.

Class Discussion:

  • What did you learn while writing?
  • What challenges did you face while writing the individual papers?
  • Did everyone on your team choose the same topic or did you each pose a different argument? How might you weave them together or expand on what you’ve already done for the team’s final project?\

Nov. 15

Project Work

Nov. 20

Assignment: Final report draft due.

(Possible) Writing workshop

Project work


Nov. 22

OPTIONAL: Team project work time.

Nov. 27

Project work.

Nov. 29

Practice presentations.

Project work.


Dec. 4

Project work
Dec. 6 Project work
Dec. 11-Dec. 15  Project and report are due. Presentation of project to 7Cs faculty, students, and staff.  Record presentations to put on website and Scholarship@Claremont.

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