Annually Listed DIGH Electives 2019-20

(last updated June 24, 2019)

These courses are available to Digital Humanities students with special permission. Please contact the DH Coordinator for more information.


CDNS 5301W: Canadian Cultural Studies
Instructor: P. Hodgins

Technology and empire, beginning with the work of Grant/Innis/McLuhan/Kroker as well as people like Heidegger, Foucault and Latour.

CLMD 6105W/DIGH5902W/MUSI5008W: Issues in the Technologies of Culture: Technologies of Image, Sound and Music
Instructor: P. Théberge

The course is initially framed by a broad understanding of technology as cultural and social practice; issues discussed include technology and its relationship to science, philosophy, objective/subjective knowledge, economy and ideology. The course then turns to a consideration of the inter-related histories of cinema and sound, music and sound carriers, and computers. Issues of innovation, representation, textuality, gender, and social networks are discussed in relation to music, sound, image, and digital technologies. Urban and virtual worlds as visual and aural spaces and spaces of consumption, the construction time and space, and the technologization of the body are also considered.

COMS 5225: Critical Data Studies
Instructor: T. Lauriault

Theoretical debates, research approaches and discursive regimes pertaining to the datafication of everyday life, data and living environments, and the quantified control of the future. Emphasis on the production of databased knowledge and the influence data have on the material and social world.

ENGL 5002W: Studies in Theory I (cross-listed with CLMD 6903W)
Topic: The Instant of My Death
Instructor: S. J. Murray

How might we read the (non)representational practices that surround death today? Aesthetic or anaesthetic, ours is a time when death is quietly cultivated and calculated by neoliberal biopolitics – deaths dismissed (or justified) as collateral damage, opportunity costs, negative externalities. This differential power is summed up by Foucault as the power to “make live and let die.” Crucially, those we “let die” stand in relation to the lives that we “make live”; dying is the bloody secret of life, even as “letting die” is disavowed, refused, silenced. Whether it is “slow death” (Berlant) wrought by austerity, fast death in the digital mediascape, or more coordinated ways of “letting die,” including war and ethnic/racialized violence, these deaths nevertheless speak to belie our “culture of life.”
This is not a course on memory studies or memorialization or trauma and witnessing. And this is for two reasons. First, and practically, our texts are more diverse and less disciplinary. We will read from high theory and literature to YouTube and SoundCloud – an eclectic selection from philosophy, political theory, black studies, and cultural studies, among others, alongside select works of literature, a graphic narrative (a “comic” with no comedy), music, social media metastases, and not least, the in-joke that is on us. Second, and more ideologically, this course will argue that the study of (non)representational practices in the relationship between death and speech/writing will permit an oblique but trenchant critique of identity politics, liberalism (including its “human rights” guises), and the hypostatizations of possessive individualism, ego, self, interiority. To what extent are these forms of subjectivity false idols and tools of subordination, all the while packaged as freedom and rational choice? Moreover, to what extent do they foster profound complicity with the differential violence that “makes live and lets die”?
A more speculative question emerges: what is the possibility for community that is not tied to identity categories and to its rituals of representation, be they memory, memorialization, witnessing, or confession? Is there community post-identity? Or, said another way, is there a form of speech/writing that is not tethered to – sanctioned, policed, and in some cases prohibited by – our great idol, our political theology: identity?

HIST 5706 – Digital History: Guerrilla Public Digital History
Instructor: S. Graham

Theories and methods for digital representation and analysis. Topics may include data mining, natural language processing, gaming, alternate/augmented reality.


DIGH 4002 / ENGL 4125: Digital Culture and the Text I “Technotopia”
Instructor: B. Greenspan

A survey of utopian thinking around media and technology.
The rising popularity of dystopian narratives is hardly surprising, given the daily barrage of news stories about climate change, mass surveillance, digital or biological viruses, and artificially intelligent machines. What is surprising is that even the most disturbing stories of technological apocalypse (both real and imagined) continue to inspire utopian hope, and to shape progressive communal identities.
This seminar will explore the role of new media and technologies in contemporary fiction. We will read utopian and dystopian narratives alongside studies of social media, progressive movements, intentional communities, digital games, and popular subcultures. We will also explore new digital tools for analyzing texts, authoring stories and games, visualizing data, and building simulations in order to better evaluate the discourses (whether hopeful or apocalyptic) that surround digital media.