Prof. Elizabeth Maddock Dillon

  • Email:
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 2-3 p.m., remotely on Zoom
  • Dr. Sarah Connell
  • Email:
  • Office Hours: Fridays 12–1pm, remotely on Zoom
  • Alanna Prince, Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • Email:
  • Office hours: by appointment
  • Overview

    This seminar will explore the use of digital tools for analyzing, preserving, and transforming literature and literary culture. Whose work is preserved and whose work isn’t? Whose stories are told and whose are not? Do digital tools enable us to bring more diversity to the literary past and present? In what ways might digital tools enforce rather than disrupt systematic power inequalities?

    Together we will consider how digital tools enable us to reconsider issues of gendered authorship, racial representation, and the links between archives and authority in the past and today.


    It is the aim of this class to enable students to develop the following:

    • An understanding of how and why to encode literary texts in digital forms.
    • An understanding of how to use digital tools to analyze large corpora of digital texts.
    • An understanding of what kinds of decisions and formats are used in creating digital archives of literary and historical materials, and an awareness of how archival materials can be digitally remixed and transformed.
    • A capacity to think critically about the use of digital and archival tools with respect to issues of cultural diversity and inclusion.


    • Attendance is required and noted. Immediately after class (must be on the same day), you will be required to post a short reflection about the class on the Canvas discussion board for that day, “Concluding Thoughts.” These posts will count toward your attendance grade. The only excused attendance absences are for documented medical issues, religious observances, and jury duty. Unexcused absences will result in lowered grades.
    • You will complete four major projects in: text encoding, web-based text analysis and metadata creation, machine learning with word embedding models, and creative archival remix over the course of the semester.
    • You will also complete many shorter exercises that will help you gain the skills you’ll need for our major projects.
    • All readings and assignments will be posted and updated on our class site.  It is your responsibility to keep up with these assignments.

    Required Texts 

    Most of our readings will be online, but there are two texts you will need to acquire:

    • Safiya Sinclair, Cannibal
    •  M. Nourbese Philip, Zong!

    We also have several other major readings that you can access online:

    All other readings will be linked through our class schedule.


    Text Encoding Project: 20%

    Web-based Text Analysis Project: 10%

    Word Embedding Models Project: 20%

    Archival Remix Project: 20%

    Class Exercises, Attendance, and Participation: 30%

    Use of Technology in the Classroom

    We know that many of you will be joining the class remotely (as we ourselves will be!), and we recognize how many opportunities for distraction this environment provides. Nevertheless, it is essential that you keep your focus exclusively on our class activities and discussions—please close all other tabs before the start of class, and make sure that you are accessing only the links and programs relevant for our activities. Please make sure that your email and other alerts are silenced—this includes your cell phones. Technology will be essential to our work in this class, and we are counting on you to ensure that it remains a productive tool and not a distraction.

    Plagiarism Policy

    Plagiarism is passing off someone else’s work as your own. It is a very serious offense that can bring a variety of sanctions, including expulsion from the University. Other authors’ words or ideas, whether quoted or paraphrased, must be clearly credited, whether the source is in print or electronic. You must cite and fully document your sources both in a Works Cited page and within the text, following MLA style. MLA guidelines for scholarly citation are available online through Snell Library’s webpage.

    Any paper suspected of plagiarism or any form of cheating will be handed over to the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution. There are no exceptions to this policy. If you have any questions not answered in the MLA guidelines about how to consult or cite primary or secondary sources, or if you feel unsure of what requires citation, please contact an instructor in advance of the due date.

    Class Schedule and Resources

    You can view the class schedule here and find a list of resources here.