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Hacking the Humanities: An Introduction to Digital Humanities and Text Mining


Admission requirements

No knowledge of programming is required.

Auditors are welcome, space permitting. Please note Students of the Minor Digital Humanities have priority. Students from other programmes can only be admitted if there are places left. Students from other programmes interested in taking this course are kindly requested to contact the Coordinator of Studies and the Lecturer, if you are interested in taking this course but NOT a student of the minor Digital Humanities. See also under registration below.


This introductory course in the digital humanities will introduce students in all humanities disciplines to computer-aided research methodologies. While this course is focused largely on methodology, it will also engage with theoretical debates within the digital humanities. Students will learn how to use the programming language Python, and as well as other tools, to answer a variety of questions in literary and historical studies. After an introduction to Python, students will learn the basics of natural language processing and text-mining. They will learn how to use MALLET, common topic modeling software, and how to use this data to create visualizations with Processing. No programming knowledge or technical expertise is assumed.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the students will be able to engage with the current debates in the digital humanities, and to write a program that can automatically extract, analyse, and visualize information from text corpora. They will be familiar with basic data structures in Python and Processing.


The timetable semester I

Mode of instruction

Seminar with Lectures and Labs.

Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours

  • Lectures: 13 x 1 (13 hours)

  • Labs: 13 x 1 (13 hours)

  • Preparation tutorials: 13 x 1 (13 hours)

  • Study of compulsory literature: (30 hours)

  • Assignment(s): (26 hours)

  • Paper/project preparation and writing: (40 hours)

  • Oral presentation prep: (5 hours)

Assessment method


  • Attendance and Participation: (10 percent of grade)

  • Assignments: (30 percent of grade)

  • Paper (or online project): (50 percent of grade)

  • Oral Presentation based on paper/project: (10 percent of grade)

Final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Students who have scored an overall insufficient grade for the course may take a resit for the assignments and the Paper (or online project):

  • comprehensive take-home exam: (50 percent of grade)

  • Paper (or online project): (50 percent of grade)

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:
Provide course materials
Course communication

Reading list

The up-to-date syllabus, which includes all of the readings for the course, can be found at this link


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Dr. J. Prokic