Big data and digital methods, such as changes in social media privacy laws and advances in mapping and network analysis, are changing financial markets, political campaigning, and higher education while becoming commonplace in our lives. Our daily existence is increasingly structured by code and data, from the algorithms that time our traffic lights to those that filter our search criteria and record our thoughts and ideas. This course explores the possibilities, limitations, and implications of using digital tools and methods to understand the issues that affect our everyday lives. We will critically collect, analyze, portray, and use data, in order to answer the following questions: What does big data reveal to us about the world? What does it hide? How do American policies and values influence the global production of the Internet, social media, algorithms, and data? Students will learn a range of data visualization tools to apply a critical lens for understanding and evaluating what technology can and cannot bring to the study of American life, and will share that knowledge publicly as a project of public humanities. Topics such as gender, race, sexuality, class, privacy, war, and governance will be highlighted through in-class conversations and research projects.

Check out this page for students work in 2016 on the hashtags below!

Nick W  #BlackLivesMatter
Casey #OscarsSoWhite
Emma #warondrugs

Sofia #transgender
Nicole #marriageeqaulity
Rachel #standwithPP
Paris #likeagirl

Emily #ISIS
Charlie #Syria
Mary Kate #BringBackOurGirls

Nate #FeeltheBern
McLane #99percent
Griffin #TrumpTrain
Mike #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

Tyler #sealevel
Lizzie #climatechange
Caroline #refugeeswelcome

Julian #privacy
Sam #bitcoin
Nick R #Anonymous
Anthony #surveillance