Critical Making/Digital Humanities

Fall 2013


Mark Olson, Robert Allen (UNC-CH), Matthew Booker (NCSU)

A renewed interest in materiality and “things” in contemporary humanistic discourse coincides with the growth of computer-based scholarly practices organized under the “big tent” of digital humanities. This course aims to explore the intersection of materiality and digitality in the humanities through a sustained practice of “critical making,” that is, hands-on exploration of new methods of mapping, modeling and visualizing historical material culture undertaken alongside critical contextualizations of these practices. Technologies include 3D modeling and acquisition, geospatial mapping, interactive game platforms, desktop fabrication, and gesture-based interfaces.

No previous technical experience is required; a willingness to learn, however, is essential.

For more information and/or a permission #, contact Mark Olson –

*On alternate Tuesdays, course participants will meet jointly at the National Humanities Center in the Research Triangle Park with students enrolled in digital humanities courses being taught at UNC-CH (by Prof. Robert Allen) and NCSU (by Professor Matthew Booker).

Reconstructing Ancient Worlds

Fall 2013


Maurizio Forte


What did the Parthenon look like in the 5th century BCE? How spectacular was the view of the Giza Pyramids in third millennium BCE Egypt? The extraordinary growth of information and digital technologies in archaeology raises new questions about research methodology, knowledge and the dissemination of culture. In particular, the technologies of 3D data recording and representation such as computer vision, photogrammetry, and 3D laser scanning create information that has a complexity unimaginable a few years ago and whose codes of representation still must be defined and investigated. We do not adequately understand the cognitive processes that connect the geometric complexity of models with their representation. The key element on which we construct our codes, our maps, is the perception which first selects what is high-priority information and then transforms it into knowledge. The course aims explores these multidisciplinary issues, methods and technologies in the field of virtual and cyber archaeology and, more specifically, it is focused on the reconstruction and communication of the past through virtual reality and computer graphics.

Roman Frontiers

Fall 2013


Tolly Boatwright

This advanced graduate seminar explores life along the geographical peripheries of the Roman Empire, as well as the very concepts of Roman frontiers. We turn to archaeological, epigraphic, literary, numismatic, papyrological, and whatever other evidence we can find. Our goal is not simply to investigate diverse specific communities, cultures, or archaeological phenomena; we will also read and evaluate secondary scholarship, some using more theoretical approaches. This comparative, analytical work should enable us to see Roman data and concepts with fresh eyes.

Splendor of the City

Fall 2013


Kristin L. Huffman

Iara Dundas, TA

Residents of Venice, both individually and collectively, fashioned an image of the city as unprecedented and exceptional, accomplishing this in great part through art and architecture. Venice was indeed unique— a city built on water after all— and sponsors commissioned monuments as a way to promote the city as unparalleled in beauty, splendor, and glory. Students will use digital tools, such as Omeka/Neatline, to map artistic connections across the urban landscape of Venice and its territories during Renaissance. By considering a range of artistic patronage, a wide spectrum of art commissions, and a number of the most famous artists, this course will offer a broad picture of this thriving period of Venetian art and society.