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Teaching Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

This essay presents an approach to teaching Digital Humanities through two largely unexplored lenses: electronic literature and foreign languages (Spanish in particular). It offers a practical example of a course taught during the Spring of 2016 at UC Berkeley that combines literary analysis with the teaching of basic programming skills, and DH tools and methods. Concretely, this course is an upper division, undergraduate writing intensive class, where students learn how to write and talk about electronic literature–e.g. hypertext novels, kinetic poetry, automatic generators, social media fictions, etc.–, learning specific terminology and theoretical frameworks, as they gain the skills to build their own digital art pieces in a collaborative workshop setting. By taking this course as a practical example, this essay tackles three important pillars in the humanities. Firstly, the overall concept of literature, and more specifically, the literary; secondly, what we understand by literary studies at the university; and thirdly, and more broadly, what constitutes cultural (beyond technical) literacy in the twenty–first century. This essay’s final claim is that teaching e-it as DH effectively address all three.

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Alex Saum