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  • Jarah Moesch

    Ph.D. Candidate, Department of American Studies University of Maryland


The methods and tools used and produced by Digital Humanists function as organizing principles that frame how race, gender, sexuality, and ability are embodied and understood within and through projects, code-bases, and communities of practice. The very ‘making’ of tools and projects is an engagement with power and control. Through a critical theoretical exploration of the values in the design and use of these tools and methods, we begin to understand that these methods and practices are structures which are themselves marginalizing, tokenizing, and reductionist.

By pairing hands-on learning/making with Critical Race Theory, Queer, and Gender Theories, we will interrogate the structures of the tools themselves while creating our own collaborative practices and methods for ‘doing’ (refracting) DH differently. To accomplish this, each day will focus on one tool or method. Mornings will be a combination of reading-based discussion and experimental structural/tools-based exercises, while afternoon sessions will focus on pulling it all together in collaborative analytical projects.

While no prior technical experience is necessary, you will be experimenting with, and creating your own theoretical practice that incorporates key themes in critical race, gender and queer theories with digital humanities methods and tools. Therefore, the key requirement for this course is curiosity and a willingness to explore new ideas in order to fully engage with the materials. Students are also encouraged to bring their own research questions to explore through these theories and practices.

Course Website

Refracting Digital Humanities

Course Software


Google Documents:





Course Schedule

Day 1: SEE

1.1        introductions; discussion
1.2        discussion:    images as objects
1.3        iteration 1:     exploration & prototyping
1.4        iteration 2:     images

Day 2: HEAR

2.1        discussion:     what does race, gender sound like?
2.2        workshop:     audio, exploration
2.3        iteration 1:     audio editing & prototyping
2.4        iteration 2:     out into the world

Day 3: KNOW

3.1        discussion:    critical code
3.2        workshop:     basic electronics, intro to arduino
3.3        iteration 1:     prototyping

Day 4: MOVE

4.1        discussion:     critical cartography & mapping
4.2        iteration 1:     exploring & prototyping
4.3        workshop:     mapping
4.4        iteration 2:     prototyping

Day 5: MAKE

5.1        workshop:     next steps
5.2        workshop:     completion of work
5.3        wrap-up:     research & teaching


3248 Tawes Fine Arts Building