Statement of Purpose
This course is designed to introduce students to both the field of American Studies and the use of
computing technology in the location, acquisition, analysis, and presentation of materials relating
to American culture.
The format of this course should, in some ways, seem usual and familiar: we will meet three
times a week in Pavilion VIII, you will be asked to do a significant amount of reading and
writing, and there will be something like a final examination. At the same time, I hope that, in
many ways, it will seem quite unlike any course you've had before.
Each of these project will be posted on your HomePage by the dates indicated in the syllabus.
- 1) Although we will meet together regularly, we are also going to construct a virtual
classroom. Each student will create their own HomePage on the World Wide Web from a self-paced tutorial. Each
HomePage will be the place where student projects are presented and all HomePages will be
linked together to form a Virtual Classroom.
- 2) The reading for the course includes some texts in the usual sense of the term,
printed texts/books/articles that will be available in Clemons Library (R) or (C). But some
texts are also available in The
Digital Reserve Book Room and from Hypertexts which are accessible
from this syllabus.
- 3) Unlike most humanities courses, this course has a lab section, AS
LAB. Initially, we'll meet in Bryan 203 -- or in the Electronic Text Center or the Alderman
Computer Class -- Monday afternoons from 4:00 to 6:00. There, we'll try to get everyone up to
speed on the computing, hardware, applications, and html. After we've done this and everyone is
feeling comfortable about it we'll move into our own lab in Bryan 423, the American Studies Lab.
AS LAB will then become a workshop and help session concentrating on the tasks you're
- 4) And much of the work in the course is task-based: e.g.
- a) you'll convert ascii materials to html, scan and tag other texts from scratch, scan and
manipulate electronic images and audio files;
- b) you'll create an electronic version of James Fenimore Cooper's The Pioneers;
- c) you will create a hypertext extension for Henry Nash Smith's Virgin Land;
- d) you'll create another, considerably more ambitious, extension for Democracy in America;
- e) and, finally, you'll serve throughout the year as a service librarian, for one of
the existing sections of The
American Studies Yellow Pages, or for two other services that are coming online,
Best Practice and Classroom.
The larger objective of this semester's work is to prepare ourselves for conceiving, designing and
building a new AS@UVA site in the spring, the 1930s.