Introduction to Digital Humanities (forthcoming, Wintersemester 2017-2018)
Hauptseminar in English (course for master students); Subject area: Methodologies of historical research/History of Technology; Number of teaching hours: 27; Syllabus_DH_Parolini
The seminar provides an accessible introduction to digital humanities. By combining an overview of the history and current developments of the field with a few practical workshops, the seminar helps participants to develop both a critical understanding of what digital humanities are and to learn digital methods and tools relevant in the humanities. The seminar is organised in three-hour thematic workshops. The teaching language is English. Theoretical discussions concern the nature and scope of digital humanities’ tools and methods and how digital publishing is changing the humanities. Hands-on workshops teach seminar participants how to use digital citation tools (Zotero), organise and visualise research data (Viewshare), create geographical maps (QGIS), set up a blog or website (WordPress) and use networking tools (wikis, mailing lists, digital platforms). Participants are strongly encouraged to bring their own laptop/tablet/smartphone in class and gain a first-hand experience of the digital humanities tools discussed during the seminar.
Oral History: Foundations and Methodology (Wintersemester 2015-2016)
Hauptseminar in English (course for master students); Subject area: History of Technology; Number of teaching hours: 30; Syllabus_OH_Parolini
The course provides an introduction to the foundations and methodology of oral history. In the first part it explores the peculiarities and potentialities of oral history, such as the subjectivity aspects in the interviewees’ accounts, the complex relationships between oral and written sources, and the connections between oral history and public history. In the second half, the focus shifts from the foundations to the methodology of oral history. The course examines in detail how an oral history project can be set up and carried out, the technical equipment (audio and video) required, and the possible uses of the interviews collected. Relevant oral history projects are examined (An Oral History of British Science, Museum Lives (NHM, London), the IEEE Oral History collections, the NASA Johnston Space Center Oral History Project). The students’ assignments consist in reading theoretical contributions on oral history, listening to interviews available in public repositories, simulating and transcribing interviews, and becoming acquainted with the practical tools of the oral historian.
A Computer Perspective (Wintersemester 2014-2015)
Hauptseminar in English (course for master students); Subject area: Methodologies of historical research; Number of teaching hours: 30; Syllabus_Parolini_def
The course gives an overview of the history of computing, from the pre-computer age of mathematical tables and human computers to present day social networking. By examining case studies, the course addresses the technological, social, scientific and gender issues that are intertwined with the development of the computer, and provides critical instruments for a deeper understanding of this technology. The course title is inspired by the exhibition A Computer Perspective, sponsored by the IT company IBM in the 1970s. This exhibition wanted to remind that “the computer is the product of men’s minds and hands, and that the manifest complexities of its influence upon our lives reflect the incredible variety and complexity of sources from which it has sprung”. Similarly, the course aims to offer a cultural understanding of the computer, too often stereotypically portrayed as revolutionary or future-oriented, in the broader scenario of the developments of science and technology.