Humanities Data

Spring 2024

Professor Lindsay Thomas

Course Info

W 2:00-4:30 pm
Morrill Hall 102

Office Hours

M 1-3 pm, and by appointment
282 Goldwin Smith

Weekly CoLab Office Hours

Office hours: T 10 am – 1 pm, Olin Library 701
Eliza Bettinger,
Iliana Burgos,

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the concepts and methods humanities scholars employ when working with data. We will discuss the concept, history, and politics of data; the logics, practices, and problems associated with quantification; data collection, analysis, and presentation; what it means to understand datasets as scholarship; and more. We will explore various computational projects and digital archives, asking what decisions scholars have made in constructing and interpreting their data and interrogating the consequences of those decisions. The class will include a hands-on component: participants will learn techniques for exploring existing humanities datasets and for constructing their own. The course is open to students across the humanities, although it will focus on literary and cultural studies. No experience with digital tools or methods is required or expected.

You can download a PDF of our course syllabus via our class Canvas site.


This syllabus has benefitted enormously from the labor of others. In particular, I have borrowed and/or adapted ideas, readings, assignments, and conceptual framing from Ryan Cordell’s Intro to DH (F20) and BookLab: Print to Programming (S22, S24) courses; from Miriam Posner’s Museums in the Digital Age (F20) course; from Jim McGrath’s Digital Archives and Digital Publics (S20) course; and from Jim Casey’s Black Digital Studies (S23) and Weird Data (S19) courses.