Final Projects:

For my final two projects as a Masters candidate at the Graduate Center I am working on:


A) Thesis:

Because I am in the Digital Humanities concentration within the MALS degree program I have the opportunity to “build something” rather than simply writing out a typical Masters Thesis.  This summer has been a lot of head banging and trying to figure out exactly what I want to build, as well as some real leaps forward in Python experimentation.

While what I’ve done with the “pygame” library has been the most visually stimulating (I can create an avatar and a background environment, make this token character move in all directions, even apply gravity to the environment and have my avatar hop around as I press arrow keys and the spacebar), just attempting to write a program in python without fancy libraries I feel has been the most personally gratifying.  I’m really starting to understand the core concepts of programming in an object-oriented manner.  That said, I really wish I could add windows, buttons, and the basic Graphical User Interface (GUI) to the text programs I am making with as much ease as I have been able to do basic things with the pygame library.

My advisor, Prof Matt Gold, has pointed out I need to get on the ball with coming up with an “elevator pitch.”  This is a much harder task than I expected it to be.  Each step forward I take raises so many new questions.  The real pitfall I’m experiencing is the fact that from a time-table perspective it is time for me to be concentrating on content.  But because I am pushing the limits of expectation, I’m often second guessing myself when I come to a topic.  So far this is a list of possibilities I’ve run through:

1. Caleb Williams by William Godwin – Creating a text based or even non-text based (graphical) game based on this famous novel.

2. PROTO – A ludic exploration of public domain canonical texts that utilize tropes that the science fiction genre arose from.

3. CodexFolio – Originally a non-academic project I’ve worked on in which I build a program that analyzes the value of published books from an investment/historical standpoint.

4.  ???

B) ITP Certificate Project: The Gentle Introduction Resource or GIR:

I’ve done less work with this over the summer because I’ve done a lot more preparation as far as what I’d like this to be.  The one big change I’ve made from my original white paper is that rather than a website, again I’d like to turn to python.  This is because I feel it tiresome to try and deal with creating a website that requires logging in, credentialing-to-alter, and other problematic schematics.  If I build a program that can be pushed to github, that makes it so the barrier to entry for editing the GIR is simply the ability to fork a gitHub repository which is not so simple a task.  It also encourages the use of versioning simple software.

What the GIR is (in a nutshell): is a resource for giving burgeoning digital humanists ways of exploring techniques rather than just jumping into the Google void willy nilly in hopes of finding the right tool for their issue.  It would not be the first of such resources, but I think it has a relatively novel approach.  There are a lot of gentle introductions out there, often written by and for the academic scholar.  I think too often the highly educated humanist backs away from a lot of bare bones computational tools simply because so many are directed at “Dummies” “Idiots” and “Kids.”  My hope is to create something engaging and mature that tackles some of the most introductory stages of programming with the humanities scholar in mind.

There are a lot of great academic writings on introducing one to coding as a tool out there, and this would basically wrangle such writings together in a(n) (arguably)  high level, but alterable way.


So this is what my summer has entailed.  To view the raw code I’ve been putting together please check out my GitHub repository:

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