New media has transformed the ways that we communicate, apprehend, and produce knowledge as a global society. The Experimental Humanities (EH) concentration provides students with the historical context, theoretical background, and analytical and technical skills needed to engage productively with new forms of humanistic inquiry in our digital age. It also places emphasis on reconsidering "old" media in light of today's technologies as well as inevitable developments on the horizon. Experimental Humanities is committed to the study of what it means to be human and, recalling the scientific impulse to experimentation, to physically testing theories in a controlled and informed environment. The concentration embraces the ethos of "practice" and "making" that characterizes the digital humanities even as it insists on the importance of writing and theory as humanistic practices in their own right. Students moderating into Experimental Humanities do so simultaneously with their primary program, with the option of doing a "practice-rich" Senior Project in conjunction with that program.
Experimental Humanities draws upon the courses offered by its core faculty and includes two dedicated and required introductory courses: A History of Experimentation
and Introduction to Media
. To moderate into EH students must have successfully completed (or be enrolled in) either of these courses and one other EH-listed course, and fulfilled the requirements of the primary program. All candidates for Moderation must submit a short paper that demonstrates a clear idea of how the Experimental Humanities concentration will work with their major program of study, and at least one member of the Moderation board should be a faculty member affiliated with Experimental Humanities.
To graduate, Experimental Humanities students must have completed both core courses and two additional EH-listed courses (including one above the 200 level), and at least one production-based course beyond the college arts requirement. Computer science courses are considered production courses for the purposes of Experimental Humanities.
CoursesA History of Experimentation
, a core course, grounds students in the history of the humanities—and its history of conceptual separation from the sciences. Students become familiar with major figures and experimental approaches, such as poetics, the philosophical thought experiment, and the scientific method, and are challenged to reconsider existing categories of and approaches to knowledge formation. Introduction to Media
provides a foundation in media history and theory. It also explores how students can use aspects of traditional humanistic approaches (close reading, visual literacy, etc.) to critically engage with old and new media. Students consider how material conditions shape discourse and assess their own positions as consumers and producers of media.