ENGL 7370 Introduction to Digital Humanities

A Domain of Your Own

Detail of Charles Babbage's difference engine


  • Students will build a Jekyll-based website using a free Github account
  • Students can work collaboratively, but each will set up individual websites
  • Students may elect to customize their websites beyond the basic requirements of the assignment
  • Site should be fully set up and ready for blogging by Wednesday, September 23rd.

The Nitty-Gritty

I have three primary goals in asking you to build your own website:

  1. Becoming facile with web publication is a good first step toward gaining skills you could use learning more advanced digital humanities tools and platforms. Learning Markdown, version control, and tinkering with CSS are great practice for other data/metadata/scripting proficiencies.
  2. Having your own website provides you a platform to begin doing and sharing that work with others in the academic and professional communities.
  3. Having your own website will enable you to complete your blogging assignment for this class while beginning while building a portfolio of work for use after and outside this class.
  4. Finally, I believe it’s important for you to have a voice on the web that’s yours, something beyond content you contribute freely to whatever commercial platforms are currently popular (though those platforms have their place). By the end of the semester you may agree with me about this or disagree, but I would like you to experiment with having a domain of your own, at least for a little while.

I’m asking you to build your own website as a chance to write yourself into the digital humanities world. Deciding how to rhetorically position yourself in relation to your studies and your career goals is important. This is a chance to take a first stab at this process and why I’m asking that you consider buying a domain name that is somehow related to your own name, though this is by no means required. Indeed, many DH scholars are known just as readily by their monikers (@readywriting, @wykenhimself, @samplereality) as by their actual names. If you prefer to blog for this class anonymously, you may—so long as I know which domain is yours.

We will work on the basics of this assignment together in the first 2-3 labs of the term. There are many means and platforms for creating a website, but we will be using a combination of Markdown, Jekyll, and GitHub pages. Don’t worry if those words don’t mean anything to you right now; we will cover them all in detail together.

Eventually, this assignment will ask you to do the following:

  1. Set up a Github Account
  2. Find a theme you like and fork it
  3. Review your new site’s structure
  4. Edit/customize core config files
  5. Customize the appearance and/or behavior of your site
  6. (optional) Map a custom domain onto your site
  7. (optional) Add custom functionality to your site
  8. Complete your blogging assignment using your site