Fall 2024 History GU4984 section 001



Call Number 11275
Day & Time
R 2:10pm-4:00pm
To be announced
Points 4
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Matthew J Connelly
Method of Instruction In-Person
Course Description

This is a hands-on, project-driven, Laboratory Seminar that explores the frontiers of historical analysis in the information age. It harnesses the exponential growth in information resulting from the digitization of older materials and the explosion of “born digital” electronic records. Machine learning and natural language processing make it possible to answer traditional research questions with greater rigor, and tackle new kinds of projects that would once have been deemed impracticable. At the same time, scholars now have many more ways to communicate with one another and the broader public, and it is becoming both easier – and more necessary – to collaborate across disciplines. 

This course will create a laboratory organized around a common group of databases in 20th century international history. Students will begin by learning about earlier methodological transformations in literary, cultural, and historical analysis, and consider whether and how the “digital turn” might turn out differently. They will then explore new tools and techniques, including named-entity recognition, text classification, topic modeling, geographic information systems, social and citation network analysis, and data visualization. 

As we turn to specific projects, you will be able to either write a traditional history paper or try an alternative project, either working alone or as part of a team. Papers will entail applying one or more of the digital tools to a specific historical literature/debate or a novel historical topic. Projects might include assembling and “cleaning” a large dataset of documents, prototyping a new tool, launching a web-based exhibit, or drafting a grant application. You will be encouraged to seek out additional training as necessary, conduct experiments, and design ambitious projects that might extend beyond the life of the course. 

The seminar will meet every week, and start with a discussion of the readings. The second hour will be devoted to training in new tools for historical research, as well as individual and small group work. Students will also be encouraged to attend weekly lab meetings, and that will be a requirement of those undertaking alternative projects.

The course is open to students with no training in statistics or computer programming, and no knowledge of international history. But all participants should be open to learning both historical and computational research skills, such as the critica

Web Site Vergil
Department History
Enrollment 18 students (18 max) as of 11:06AM Thursday, July 18, 2024
Status Full
Subject History
Number GU4984
Section 001
Division Interfaculty
Section key 20243HIST4984W001