Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Geo-coding black short stories & Jay Z -- Spring 2016 courses at UTA

By Kenton Rambsy

In the spring semester of 2016, I taught two digital humanities classes at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) -- "Geo-Coding Black Short Stories" and "The Life and Times of S. Carter." In both courses, we used text-mining software to identify stylistic features of black short story writers.

Course Descriptions:
Geo-Coding Black Short Stories: This course focused on stories by Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Toni Cade Bambara, Edward P. Jones and other writers, and we examined the racial-spatial dimensions of African American short fiction. Students used quantitative data and text-mining software to create data sets that illuminated the significance of ‘black’ geography and corresponding thematic trends.

The Life and Times of S. Carter S. Carter: This course placed Jay Z’s four classic albums in a broad African American literary continuum of autobiographical and semi-autobiographical works. Students compiled metadata on Jay Z in order to produce thematic data visualizations, literary timelines, and a list of key terms that demonstrated the literary merit of rap music and its close ties to the larger field of African American literature.

Jay Z, African American literary studies & digital humanities
Geo-Coding Black Short Stories
African American Language and Culture Lab
A notebook on short stories by black writers

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