CSCI 270
Computational Humanities


MWF 10:10am - 11:00am




Dr. Gabriel Ferrer
(501) 450-3879
Office Hours


A survey of the tools and techniques of computation as applied to concepts in humanities. Covers the use of computing to analyze and synthesize textual, visual, and aural data, as well as the creation of new digital artifacts using computation. Topics normally include natural language processing and translation, information retrieval, sentiment analysis, document clustering, data visualization, procedural music generation, and digital art. Prerequisite: CSCI 150

Learning Goals

Upon completing this course, my goal is for you to be able to:



Date Day Topic/Activity Assigned Due
1/17 Weds Introduction Survey
Lab 1: Creating a Corpus
1/19 Fri Python Encodings
The Great Newline Schism
Texting in Ancient Mayan Hieroglyphs
Lab 2: Summary Statistics Lab 1
1/22 Mon Generators and Comprehensions
Zipf’s Law
hapax legomenon
1/24 Weds Pandas
Swadesh List
1/26 Fri tf-idf
Why does tf-idf use a log?
Lab 3: Document Clustering Lab 2
1/29 Mon Cosine Similarity
1/31 Weds      
2/2 Fri   Lab 4: Finding Meaning Lab 3
2/5 Mon TextRank    
2/7 Weds Word2Vec    
2/9 Fri VADER Lab 5: Sentiment Analysis Lab 4
2/12 Mon BERT    
2/14 Weds      
2/16 Fri Turtle Graphics Lab 6: Algorithmic Art Lab 5
2/19 Mon Winter Break - No class    
2/21 Weds OpenCV    
2/23 Fri RetinaFace Lab 7: People in Paintings Lab 6
2/26 Mon DeepFace    
2/28 Weds librosa    
3/1 Fri Sonic Pi Tutorial
Live Coding Education
Note to Frequency Chart
Lab 8: Algorithmic Music Lab 7
3/4 Mon      
3/6 Weds      
3/8 Fri Frequencies and Intervals Lab 9: Music Clustering Lab 8
3/11 Mon      
3/13 Weds      
3/15 Fri     Lab 9
3/18 Mon Spring Break - No class    
3/20 Weds Spring Break - No class    
3/22 Fri Spring Break - No class    
3/25 Mon   Lab 10: Analyzing Songs  
3/27 Weds      
3/29 Fri      
4/1 Mon   Lab 11: Visual Novel Lab 10
4/3 Weds      
4/5 Fri      
4/8 Mon Eclipse - No class    
4/10 Weds     Lab 11
4/12 Fri Final Project Final project: Proposal  
4/15 Mon     Final Project Proposal
4/17 Weds      
4/19 Fri      
4/22 Mon No Class    
4/24 Weds     Final project: Progress Report
4/26 Fri     Final project: Progress Report
5/2 Thr 8:30-11:30 am   Final project: Presentation  



A total of 11 labs will be assigned throughout the semester, approximately one lab per week. Each submission will be assessed as either Complete, Partially Complete or Missing. The criteria for these assessments will be given for each lab.

# Lab Assigned Due
1 Creating a Corpus 1/17 1/19
2 Summary Statistics 1/19 1/26
3 Document Clustering 1/26 2/2
4 Sentiment Analysis 2/2 2/9
5 Topic Modeling 2/9 2/16
6 Algorithmic Art 2/16 2/23
7 People in Paintings 2/23 3/1
8 Algorithmic Music 3/1 3/8
9 Music Clustering 3/8 3/15
10 Analyzing Songs 3/25 4/1
11 Visual Novel 4/1 4/10

Final Project

The final project for this course may take one of two forms:

  1. You may apply a computational humanities tool to a dataset of your choice.
  2. You may create an original creative digital work. It may involve any combination of text, images, and music that you wish. The creative work must have an algorithmic aspect at its core.

Either form of project will require submitting the following:


Each student begins the semester with six tokens.

Specifications Grading


It is my ultimate goal for this course, and my teaching, to develop your academic skills, advance your learning of computer science concepts, and support the liberal arts in general. To do so will require commitments from myself and from you toward meeting this goal.

Active Participation

I will be prepared and on time for class each day, ready to use class time to help you understand the course material. I will respectfully listen to, understand, and answer questions asked in class.

You are expected to attend class and actively participate in discussions every day, answering questions, asking questions, presenting material, etc. Your participation will be respectful of your classmates, both of their opinions and of their current point in their educational journey, as we each approach the material with different backgrounds and contexts.

Constructive Feedback

I will keep office hours and be available for outside appointments, and respond to emails within one business day (not including weekends). I will provide feedback on group presentations within one day. For exams, projects, and homeworks, I will provide graded feedback within two weeks.

You are encouraged to provide constructive comments for improving this course for furthering your learning throughout the semester. There will be an opportunity for anonymous course feedback at the end of the term, in which I hope you all participate. Through your feedback I can improve this course and others for future students.

Academic Integrity

I will abide by the above syllabus and grade your work fairly.

As stated in the Hendrix Academic Integrity Policy, all students have agreed to adhere to the following principles:

  • All students have an equal right to their opinions and to receive constructive criticism.
  • Students should positively engage the course material and encourage their classmates to do the same.
  • No students should gain an unfair advantage or violate their peers' commitment to honest work and genuine effort. It follows that any work that a student submits for class will be that student's own work. The amount of cooperation undertaken with other students, the consistency and accuracy of work, and the test-taking procedure should adhere to those guidelines that the instructor provides.
  • Members of the Hendrix community value and uphold academic integrity because we recognize that scholarly pursuits are aimed at increasing the shared body of knowledge and that the full disclosure of sources is the most effective way to ensure accountability to both ourselves and our colleagues.
More details of our departmental stance on integrity can be found in the Hendrix Computer Science Academic Integrity Policy

Learning Accomodation

I will make this classroom an open and inclusive environment, accommodating many different learning styles and perspectives.

Any student seeking accommodation in relation to a recognized disability should inform me at the beginning of the course. It is the policy of Hendrix College to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law. Students should contact Julie Brown in the Office of Academic Success (505.2954; to begin the accommodation process.

Physical and Mental Health

I am willing to work with you individually when life goes off the rails.

Coursework and college in general can become stressful and overwhelming, and your wellness can be impacted when you least expect it. You should participate in self-care and preventative measures, and be willing to find support when you need it.

  • The Office of Counseling Services welcomes all students to see a counselor in a private and safe environment regardless of their reasons for making an appointment. Counseling services are available to all Hendrix students at no cost.
  • Student Health Services provides free healthcare to Hendrix students. Services are provided by an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in collaboration with a local physician.

The Offices of Counseling Services and Student Health Services are located in the white house behind the Mills Center for Social Sciences at 1541 Washington Avenue.