Cultural Analytics Learning Institute for Digital Humanities

March 2, 2021

Are you interested in developing transferable competencies that are attractive to employers and academic programs? The digital and data revolutions have transformed our world. In our digital humanities program, the UC Berkeley Cultural Analytics Learning Institute for Digital Humanities (CALI-DH), you will explore questions about art and culture using digital tools. By pairing computational methods and domain specialization you can better understand complex phenomena and cultures and how computational analysis influences what you see. CALI-DH Online will guide you through the entire process of identifying relevant cultural artifacts and archives, curating your own subset of data, conducting advanced research, and communicating your findings. These materials will be part of your professional portfolio and will advance your employment opportunities.

As you learn about the major data sources for the arts and humanities, you will also learn how to: 

  • parse through these sources instantly using text analysis, 

  • analyze and vividly present your research in visual formats, and 

  • design dynamic and interactive projects on digital platforms. 

Above all, you will learn how to employ these cutting-edge techniques to investigate subjects in the humanities in new and fascinating ways. All projects begin with a research question, project, or dataset that you are interested in (see figure above). These sources could originate from different types of media such as museum artifacts, library catalogs and books, open-source images and video, sound, etc. From there, we will teach you how to define primary and secondary sources of the information and metadata to structure it so that you can learn to produce different types of analyses and visualizations for the quantification of information in the form of graphing and mapping the relationships and broader dissemination of information to your audience. As a result, not only are you helping create this DH community of practice, but this will enable you to collaborate with others, open the door to the broader DH community on campus and beyond, and contribute to new bodies of knowledge.

For example, imagine you are a student in art history interested in Mayan iconography. You have been to Chichen Itza and Copan, but you now want to study and contextualize the artifacts in this region through a digital project. CALI-DH will teach you how to contextualize these objects by building digital models, linking digital models to archaeological and cultural contexts, field studies, and that can be modeled by text, form, symbols, architecture, and other means to be curated digitally and presented via an open, accessible website for other scholars to examine. CALI-DH Online will also teach you to communicate in terms of data and to speak to a broader audience via website construction and video production. Present your DH project as a poster at the next conference, be it in art history, archaeology, or data science, and engage in conversations that can lead to more meaningful research pursuits.

In our courses, we teach humanists data science competencies and we also teach data science students how to think like a humanist. You need to complete all five courses to receive the minor or certificate: two from Summer Session A (DIGHUM 100 and 101) and three from Summer Session D (DIGHUM 150A, 150C, and 160).

DIGHUM 100: Theory & Methods in the Digital Humanities

In this course, we will evaluate a variety of digital humanities projects through theoretical scholarship in the field, in order to create our own projects and critically assess the value of the new knowledge that is being generated. We will teach you how to weigh that knowledge with a combination of traditional humanities methods and theories for analysis and explore the fundamental arguments that are being advanced about these new methods and how they interact with the humanities’ interpretive underpinnings. This course will prepare students to apply digital methods in ethical, reflective, and responsible ways—understanding the potentials of the digital within the humanities.

In addition to mapping and modeling, DH encompasses efforts to apply computational technologies to the questions of humanities disciplines such as literature, history, and cultural studies (i.e. ‘cultural analytics’), along with analysis of the theoretical assumptions and ethical implications of existing technologies and methods. 

View last summer’s syllabus at this link:

DIGHUM 101: Practicing the Digital Humanities (Practicum)

DigHum 101 provides the core programmatic learning experience for the DH Summer Minor and Certificate Program and ensures that students have the requisite software competencies to excel at their own learning level. Students learn how to use Jupyter Notebooks to build research pipelines by performing data acquisition, preprocessing, visualization, and analysis tasks to investigate individualized, deeply personal Humanities questions via geospatial mapping, machine learning, and computational text analysis. These are highly transferable abilities that students can use for success in the other courses—and beyond. 

In addition to individual coding projects and presentation walkthroughs, students are required to create and present group projects that address humanistic problems of diversity, equity, inclusion, “big” data, ethics, and privacy. Finally, students learn basic Bash programming skills to create public facing GitHub repositories that showcase their work. 

View last summer’s syllabus at this link (click the “Download” button):

DigHum 150A: Digital Humanities and Archival Design

Archival Design can make rare sources accessible to a broad audience in ways that offer conceptual structure, critical analysis, and user flexibility. In this area, students learn to transform traditional primary sources into dynamic digital archives, receiving dual training in conducting scholarly research and designing digital projects.

Online archival resources for cultural heritage are at the forefront of developing public digital humanities, and can investigate questions such as: 

  • How can the past be captured in digital form? 

  • Can advanced media visualization, such as augmented and Virtual Reality, give new insights on ancient data? 

  • Can public dissemination of research using gamification positively impact our lives in the present? 

  • How can we ensure that our digital cultural achievements last as long as pyramids built in stone?

This course will teach cutting-edge digital archival practices by examining archives and exploring their usefulness in the Digital Age. Students will work with a wide variety of computational tools for structuring unstructured data. The goal will be for each student to digitally 'curate' a chosen archive, and to model how they have organized their collection. 

DIGHUM 150C: Introduction to Computational Literary Analysis 

Computational literary analysis is a new subfield of literary studies, which applies techniques of data science, computer science, and traditional close reading to the study of literature. This course is a practical introduction to computational literary methods which presumes no background in programming or computer science. It is well-suited to humanities students who are interested in experimental methods, and to students in STEM fields who are interested in literary studies. We will cover many of the topics of a course in natural language processing or computational linguistics, but center our inquiries around literary critical questions, such as: 

  • Did Shakespeare really write the plays in the Shakespeare apocrypha?

  • What words are most frequently used to describe female characters in nineteenth century novels?

  • Who had a richer vocabulary, Charles Dickens or Jane Austen?

The course will teach techniques of text analysis using the Python programming language. Special topics to be covered include authorship detection (stylometry), dependency parsing, and lexical analysis. Find last summer’s syllabus at 

DigHum 160: Digital Hermeneutics 

This course places the tradition of hermeneutics—the study of interpretation—in the context of contemporary, data-driven society. Based on a historical overview of hermeneutics, it asks: how can we critically assess the algorithmically driven and often controversial claims to knowledge to be found online, in which virality and controversiality are key operators? Using text analytics in Python, we will analyze how knowledge is generated and negotiated on social platforms such as Reddit. In doing so, we will build skills in both natural language processing and close reading, in order to push back against problems of filter bubbles, post-truths, and alternative facts. 

For more info, see

Fulfills L&S Philosophy & Values breadth

Further Reading

Read our Electronic Book Review [Frame]works chapter to learn more about in-depth descriptions of the types of questions you might ask, competencies you will learn, and examples of past student work: “Building STEAM for DH and Electronic Literature: An Educational Approach to Nurturing the STEAM Mindset in Higher Education” by von Vacano et al., 2020.

CALI-DH Online teaches you how to ask timeless questions, and answer them using today’s tools. It offers you the skills to make your work communicable and relevant in today’s digital world - skills you’ll use as a scholar and as a professional. And it is a lot of fun! Come explore the possibilities with us.

Click the below links to learn more!

●      Register here:

●      DH Online courses page

●      Financial Aid: You will receive a $2,000 reimbursement if you complete all five courses within two summers (?)[5] :

●      Sign up for the DH Listserv here to stay up to date!

●      Sign up for the D-Lab Newsletter

●      Berkeley Undergraduate Digital Humanities Association (BUDHA):BUDHA homepage andsignup form