Spring 2018

Handbooks of (Digital) Humanism

Listed in: English, as ENGL-414


Amanda K. Henrichs (Section 01)


[before 1800]  Writers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in England were very self-conscious about how they used language:  they thought deeply and critically about how, when, and why to use certain kinds of rhetorical figures, whether common metaphor or less common pyramis (a poem structured like a pyramid).

This class begins from the idea that today’s digital creators employ the same method to control digital media:  we too use figures that shape how we think about the possibilities for creation.  But most of us are not as self-conscious about these figures:  for example, a cloud is diffuse, nebulous, untethered from the physical world.  But the cloud is in fact dependent on a series of servers, on the coal that produces the energy to maintain those servers, on the wires that make wireless capabilities possible, etc.  This course will explore the humanist rhetorical handbooks of the English literary Renaissance as a means to two ends:  one, to better understand the literary production of canonical authors like Shakespeare; and two, to engage with digital humanisms and the rhetoric of digital creativity in the twenty-first century.  We juxtapose readings from Renaissance rhetorical handbooks with poetry and essays from that period and with digital humanities scholarship.  As a final project in this course students will produce a digital rhetorical handbook that will account for the internet.

Open to juniors and seniors.  Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester.  Five College Fellow Henrichs.

ENGL 414 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 02:30 PM - 05:00 PM MERR 314


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018