This course will introduce you to many techniques to process, analyze, and visualize data about text and how to understand computation critically, technically, and culturally. You will be, in other words, introduced to the theory and method of a discipline within computer science called Natural Language Processing (NLP). We will learn to program as a way to think about textual corpora that is exploratory and experimental in its approach. Our goal is to introduce the Python language in a way that is conducive for further learning and development, while also being able to make arguments about and with large collections of text. We will become very proficient with Python syntax, and we will produce many useful small programs throughout the semester. The long road toward becoming a software or application developer will begin in this class, and we will work to understand programming methodologies more broadly. You should not expect to become a fully fledged programmer in just one course, but you will have a firm basis for your development. More importantly, this class will help you think about humanities problems through computation. You will be able to understand the kinds of questions we can answer with NLP.
No previous knowledge of Python or programming is necessary, but a familiarity with the command line would be useful. You will also need a willingness to learn programming. If you believe yourself to be “not a programming person,” you will likely struggle in this class. With the right state of mind, this class will provide you a safe and encouraging place to learn to program!Next Page: Previous Page: