Much of what we think is unique to our particular historical moment is, in fact, shaped by the ideas and structures that emerged from the Age of Enlightenment. The eighteenth century was a time of overwhelming technological, scientific, and economic change, including transformations in public discourse, and new genres (and new governments) rising to accommodate new ideas. In short, we can learn a lot about our own period by examining transformative eighteenth-century texts, and thanks to new forms of knowledge created by various digital tools, we can look at them in even more transformative ways.
This seminar will introduce participants to a variety of texts from the long eighteenth-century (1660-1820), paired with digital resources and scholarly projects that give new insights to these texts. Students will learn traditional archival techniques alongside methods of mapping, text encoding, and data visualization, and will have the opportunity to create a pilot project as a component of their final paper. No prior training in either eighteenth-century literature or coding is presumed.