DLA Courses


Digital Cultural Heritage
January-May 2024 (Aisling Quigley)

Course website


Introduction to Data in the Humanities
September-December 2023 (Aisling Quigley)


Digital Cultural Heritage
January-May 2022 (Aisling Quigley)

  • Course Description
    Cultural heritage sites, including libraries, archives and museums, have existed in some shape or form for a very long time. Computers, on the other hand, have only been a part of these institutions for about sixty years. Although technologies offer more efficient and cost-effective ways to store and disseminate information and promise greater accessibility to materials, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they successfully facilitate the missions of these cultural heritage sites or the needs of their visitors. Why is this the case? Do digital technologies truly have the potential to decentralize and democratize these spaces? What can they tell us about what we value, as a culture? In this interdisciplinary course, we will reflect on the impact of digital technologies on cultural heritage sites, and museums in particular, starting in the 1960s and continuing through the present, including discussion of how museums responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, students will learn how to collect, curate, and digitize objects, write and design an object label, and contribute to an online exhibition.


Introduction to Data in the Humanities
September-December 2021 (Aisling Quigley)

  • Course Description:
    What does it mean to represent “culture” by “data”? – Lev Manovich 
    What do data look like in the humanities? How can data and databases inform our understanding of culture, or, alternately, be manipulated to distort the truth? Increasingly, computational methods are being used to ask questions and look for patterns in cultural data (from museums, libraries, archives, and elsewhere). This class provides an introduction to some of the digital methods and tools used to investigate humanities data and databases, while encouraging critical engagement with the many ethical and design questions that arise in the collection, analysis, and presentation of data. In this course we will read articles from a range of disciplines, engage in activities reflecting on our own collecting practices and daily routines, and explore and articulate ways that digital technologies may be used more effectively and ethically.

Introduction to Data Storytelling
January-March 2021 (Module 3) (Aisling Quigley)


Introduction to Data Storytelling
Spring 2020 (Aisling Quigley)


Starting in Fall 2015, the former Digital Liberal Arts Postdoc, Rebecca Wingo, began building a partnership between Macalester College and Rondo Avenue, Inc. (RAI). RAI represents the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul, a historically Black neighborhood that was intentionally bifurcated by the construction of I-94 in the 1960s to create a diaspora of the community there. Courses included:

Resettling the Plains: Homesteading and Data Visualization 
Spring 2018 (Rebecca Wingo)

Public History in Action: Archives
Spring 2017 (Rebecca Wingo)
The archives course centered around a hands-on archival project in partnership with Rondo Avenue, Inc. (RAI). Students mined microfilm of local historically black newspapers for old business advertisements. They then plotted the businesses on a map and made available the ads for each address. 

Public History in Action: History Harvest
Spring 2016 (Rebecca Wingo) and Spring 2017 (Crystal Moten)
The History Harvest is a student-driven, community-based archive in which students work with community members to create a digital repository of the objects they find most valuable and relevant. Students digitize the artifacts, record stories about the items, and then the community member takes their object back home. View the archive here.