Syllabus for Programming for Historians

This fall I will be teaching a grad class called “Programming in History/New Media.” It is the third (optional) course in a three-part sequence of digital history classes taken by PhD students, hence the shorthand name #clio3. My aim in this course is to get students familiar with basic computer programming, then show them how to apply a number of the most useful technique for historical research, such as mapping, text mining, and network analysis. We will start out with JavaScript (in part because it is an obligatory language for web programming, but also because Marijn Haverbeke has written an excellent and free introduction to programming with JavaScript). Then we will move on to R for most of the applied section, circling back to JavaScript and D3.js at the end. The main student work for the course is a programming project of their choice, which I’m asking them to think of as the rough equivalent of a seminar research paper. I have some ideas about what form those projects might take, but I think I’ll be surprised at the ingenuity of the people taking the course.

Here is the syllabus for the course.