Computational Methods in the Humanities

Course Information: Spring 2024 (2244)

This course is modeled very closely on one pioneered by emeritus Pitt Professor David Birnbaum, and we will be using much of the material available on his website: Obdurodon. (What is an "Obdurodon," you ask? An extinct platypus with molars, apparently... don't worry about it.) For our purposes, Obdurodon functions as an encylcopedia of information essential for this course. Just bear in mind that information on Obdurodon with specific course information (e.g., due dates, classroom assignments) may relate to a previous semester. For assignments and policies, refer to this site or Canvas.

Dr. Birnbaum summed up the impetus for this course as follows:

"Humanities students often do not realize (or even imagine) that 1) they are capable of learning to write useful and practical computer programs within the course of a semester even if they have no prior background in programming; 2) the ability to write one’s own programs can be valuable for scholars in the humanities, especially because commercial software often does not address research needs in the humanities; and 3) practical computer programming, no less than reading, writing, and arithmetic, is a useful skill that is within the reach of any educated person regardless of academic specialization."