This Subject Includes

  • Course No: HS 787
  • Course: Ph.D Programme
  • Semester: I
  • Title: The Material Text and its Other
  • Stream: English
  • Preamble:

    An overview of the concepts tools and debates of and within the rapidly-expanding field of digital humanities (DH) with an emphasis on understanding material culture from the newly-emergent digital perspective. This course connects traditional book history and textual criticism with archival studies, material culture studies and the handling of digital objects. It acquaints students with current debates about using digital technology in the humanities (for e.g., definitional conversations around questions such as ‘does DH exist?’), teaches students a few basic tools for the manipulation of textual data and how to use those tools in literary criticism. We look at digital surrogacy of material objects and how it can affect physical archives and we learn about metadata standards and databases.

    Course Content:

    Definitions and concepts: text/work, material culture, digital humanities, archive, hypertext, born digital; Digitising material culture; The material culture of the book; Digital archiving and metadata; Digital scholarly editing; Databases, diplomatic editions, scholarly editions: case studies; Digital tools: textual data mining, distant reading with Google N-gram Viewer, Zotero, versioning and collation with Juxta Commons, introducing basic HTML and CSS concepts, TEI-XML.


    1. Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ J. A. Underwood trans. (London: Penguin, 2008, first published 1936)

    2. Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, Sheila Faria Glaser trans. (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1994). Close study of ‘The Precession of Simulacra’.

    3. Peter Schillingsburg, From Gutenberg to Google: Electronic Representations of Literary Texts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006)

    5. Jerome McGann, Radiant Textuality: Literature after the World Wide Web (New York: Palgrave, 2001)

    6. Susan Schreibman et. al. eds., A Companion to Digital Humanities (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004)

    7. Marilyn Deegan and Kathryn Sutherland, Text Editing, Print and the Digital World (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009)

    8. Claire Warwick et. al., Digital Humanities in Practice (London: Facet Publishing, 2012)

    9. Matthew K. Gold ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012)