Digital Humanities and the Modern City
Fall 2015 Feit Interdisciplinary Seminar, Baruch College
IDC 4050H / NTH, Tuesdays, 2:30-5:25 pm
Location: Classroom B8-190, Feit Seminar Room, adjacent to the Writing Center

John Maciuika, Fine and Performing Arts
Office Hours: Wednesday 1 – 3 p.m., and by appointment

A.L. McMichael, Art History
Office Hours: after class or by appointment or

Course Description
This Feit Seminar explores the ways in which the digital humanities are opening up new avenues for studying and communicating scholarly questions. Specifically, it examines how emerging technologies are impacting the ways that academics research, represent, and teach about modern architecture, urban planning, history, and the social and cultural life of cities. Case studies will focus on comparative architectural and urban histories of Rome, Constantinople, Berlin, and New York. In each instance – and while keeping in mind questions of the relative modernity and history of each place – we will undertake specific digital explorations that fall into the general categories of “Representing Time,” “Place and Space,” and “Narrative and Argument.” We will also visit a number of cultural institutions, both physically and virtually, and assess how digital technologies are altering the ways that people and institutions are seeing, thinking, and knowing about urban life. The course will include readings and discussions of both history and technology, hands-on tutorials, conversations with guest speakers, and field visits.

Students are encouraged to actively engage with technology and to take agency over their own learning process, particularly when encountering new technologies and building digital literacy. By the end of the semester students will design and launch digital projects based on a research topic to be developed and approved in consultation with the course instructors. By the end of this seminar students will have broad exposure to an array of new methodologies for thinking about cities in terms of their relative modernity, their layered histories, and their study and representation as a result of new technologies. Students will also acquire skills for applying a variety of digital tools to research questions posed by the instructors and developed by the students themselves.

Graded assignments (and percentage of semester grade):
Participation (this includes REGULAR attendance)    20%
Course Blog and Homework                            10%
Final Project (four parts):
Debate                                              10%
Research Paper                                      20%
Multi-media Research Project                        25%
Reflection Paper                                    15%

Week 1: September 1
Topic: Introduction to the course, discussion of the modern city, course logistics.

Read for next class:
Marshall Berman, “Introduction: Modernity–Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” in All That is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (New York: Penguin) 1988.

Homework due next class:
*Class questionnaire
*Create a Blogs@Baruch profile and request membership in the DH and the Modern City Group.
*Research: What is DH? And what does it have to do with studying architecture and cities? (Write 1-2 paragraphs and be prepared to discuss in class).

Week 2: September 8
Topic: DH definitions; How Rome is represented via digital means.

Read/listen for next class:
*Digital Natives article
*Todd Presner, “Lexicon” and “The Humanities in the Digital Humanities,” in Todd Presner, *David Shepard, and Yoh Kawano, eds., Hypercities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014): 12-65.
*Invisibilia NPR podcast, “Our Computers, Ourselves” (Feb 12, 2015)  (also available on iTunes).

Homework due next class:
*refine DH definitions and post to class blog
*choose a city to research throughout the semester

No classes on September 13-15.

Week 3: September 25*
            *class meets on Friday this week because CUNY is closed on Tuesday the 22nd
MEET AT MoMA in the lobby at 3 pm!
Topic: guest speaker, Michelle Millar Fisher of MoMA on design

Week 4: September 29
Topic: push/pull pedagogy and digital learning; discussion of urbanization and modernity, especially in the 1st century AD
(Be sure that you have done the readings and podcast assigned during week 2).
Class activity: TimelineJS

Read for next class:
*Joseph Alchermes, “Constantinople and the Empire of New Rome” in Safran, Heaven on Earth (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press) 1998.
*Read/watch the Byzantine (late Roman Empire) sections on Hagia Sophia in the Khan Academy online resource.
*Daniel Rosenberg and Anthon Grafton, “Time in Print,” in Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline (New York: Princeton Architectural Press) 2010. (read online via Amazon preview).

Homework due next class: TimelineJS exercise on your chosen city

Week 5: October 6

Due today: *TimelineJS exercise on your chosen city posted to the class blog
Topic: Modernity from Rome and Byzantium: modernity vs Orthodoxy, Constantinople as a “New Rome”

Read for next class:
*Benjamin Anderson, “Hagia Sophia at Ground Zero,” in Stambouline. (read online)
*primary text: excerpt from the Russian Chronicle (we’ll actually be reading this in class)
*Robert Nelson, “Modern Sophias,” in Hagia Sophia 1850-1950: Holy Wisdom Modern Monument (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) 2004. (optional reading)

Homework due next class:
*Set up free CartoDB account

Week 6: October 13
Topic: Hagia Sophia through the centuries
Class activity: mapping exercise

Read for next class:
*Brian Ladd, Ghosts of Berlin, pp. 6-81 (“Berlin Walls” and “Old Berlin”).
*John Maciuika, “The Castle for Berlin, or Berlin for the Castle?” Herito – Heritage, Culture, and the Present: The City and the Museum (2011): 5-21.

Homework due next class:
*post to class blog: CartoDB map exercise
*post to class blog: A one-page opinion paper answering the following question: What makes Berlin, more than other cities, a paradigmatic example of an “iterative city?” What are the best specific examples from this week’s readings that support this view?
Week 7: October 20
Topic: Berlin: Iterative Capital City of Walls, Gates, and Palaces

Read for next class:
*John Maciuika, “The Historic Preservation Fallacy? Transnational Culture, Urban Identity, and  Monumental Architecture in Berlin and Dresden.” Chapter 14 of Jeffry M. Diefendorf and Janet Ward, eds., Transnationalism and the German City. New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2014): 387-421.
*Rudy Koshar, Germany’s Transient Pasts (selections)

Homework due next class:  Research paper, prepare for debate

Week 8: October 27
Due today: research paper
Topic: Contemporary Berlin: Peeling back layers of modernity in a city of historical layers
Class debate
Story Maps exercise

Read for next class:
John Maciuika, “Infrastructures of Memory: The Modernization and Reconstruction of Historic City Centers in Central and Eastern Europe”

Homework due next class:
Story Maps exercise (post to blog)
Post to class blog: A one-page opinion paper answering the following question: In what ways can a piece of urban monumental architecture serve as a piece of “infrastructure?” How can it form part of an “infrastructure of memory?” How does this work? What are some problems you can see with framing the issue of cultural memory in terms of architecture and infrastructure?

Week 9: November 3
Topic: Central Europe (Reconstructing national and transnational histories in Dresden, Krakow, Warsaw, Vilnius)
Workshop day, consultations: be prepared to plan the technical aspects of your final presentation (which will be based on your research paper); bring a laptop to class if possible, along with paper and pen/pencil for “mapping” your project, and your research paper data.

Read for next class:
Girogio Verdiani, “Bringing Impossible Places to the Public: Three Ideas for Rupestrian Churches in Goreme, Kapadokya Utilizing a Digital Survey, 3D Printing, and Augmented Reality,” in Open Archaeology 1.1  (2015). [read online or download PDF here]
Colleen Morgan, “(Re)Building Çatalhöyük: Changing Virtual Reality in Archaeology,” in Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress (2009). [link]

Homework due next class:
*Take a look at the Documenting Cappadocia website.

Week 10: November 10
Topic: 3D Modeling and Reconstruction: Challenges and Issues in Byzantine Cappadocia;
Tools exercise: text and research as data

Homework due next class: TBA
*post to class blog: Wordle and Serendipomatic experiments
*experiment with multi-media tools in preparation for final project

Week 11: November 17
Topic: New York City
Meet in the classroom at our usual time for a field trip to Museum of the City of New York. We’ll depart for the museum together.

Week 12: November 24
Topic: Class trip to the Freedom Tower and World Trade Center site

Week 13: December 1
FINAL PAPER REVISIONS DUE at the beginning of class. (Bring a printed copy and add the digital to our class Google Drive folder).
Topic: final project presentations

Week 14: December 8
Topic: final project presentations

December 15 is Reading Day
Topic: final project presentations (in lieu of a final exam).

Blogs@Baruch: course website and group
The primary mode of communication will be the “DH and the Modern City Group” forum on the Blogs@Baruch website. You are expected to engage with this group regularly (for announcements, to ask questions or to help your classmates with theirs, etc). You will also be expected to post several exercises to the accompanying “Digital Humanities and the Modern City” course blog.

If you have a question about assignments or course material, use the Blogs@Baruch group forum (see above). For personal topics, feel free to contact the professors by email.

Instead of requiring textbooks, we will share a link to readings in a class folder online. Think of it as a digital course packet. We recommend downloading all of them to your own cloud storage or a flash drive; whether you choose to print them is a personal decision. Some of the “readings” may actually be websites, videos, or podcasts—be prepared to spend some time on the internet each week, and bring headphones if you use a public lab.

Note about participation and attendance: The success of this seminar depends on the constructive participation of all its members. Be considerate of others, be open to different points of view, agree to disagree when a point of debate appears irreconcilable, and be aware that quantity is not necessarily equal to quality when it comes to contributing to class discussion. Rest assured, you will be graded on your participation! And part of this involves showing up to class on time, attending each class meeting, etc. A doctor’s note is required for approved absence. If you know you will be needing to have an operation or procedure, be sure not to schedule it during seminar meeting times; on the other hand, illnesses documented by a doctor’s note are permissible and, of course, will not be penalized.

Academic Integrity: 
The FPA and Histgory departments follow Baruch College’s policy on Academic Honesty.
If you have any confusion about what constitutes plagiarism, then please see the instructor.

Accessibility and special learning needs
Please feel free to discuss special learning needs with the professors.
Baruch Disability Services: Room 2-271, Newman Vertical Campus

Other useful information:
The Writing Center
Newman Vertical Campus Room 8-185

Health Services
138 East 26th Street, Main Floor (between Lexington and 3rd Avenues)