Thursday, March 16, 2017

12:30-12:55 – Building and Collecting Resources

Bengali literature and History as Digital Humanities: Analysis of Bichitra, an Online Tagore Variorum and the Bengali Oral History project titled “Bengali Intellectuals & Decolonization: Visualizing Oral Histories Using Digital Tools

Asif Iqbal, MSU

I intend to analyze two Digital Humanities Project focused on digitizing Bengali literature and history. While conducting a  Bengali language Digital Humanities project  is a challenging one, the two projects I talk about creates a bi-lingual DH platform by critically engaging non-Western traditions. Bichitra, an Online Tagore Variorum and Bengali Oral History project titled “Bengali Intellectuals & Decolonization: Visualizing Oral Histories Using Digital Tools” are rich and  ambitious projects aiming to document the intellectual activity of Bengali scholars, artists, and historians. By analyzing the projects, I aim to highlight the  challenges and potentials of Digital Humanities in exploring spaces that are linguistically diverse, and have been traditionally understood from a critical/theoretical lens.

Return to Thursday schedule


Connected Bhakti Bibliographies Database

Jon Keune, MSU

This project will create an open source database of research on regional South Asian devotional (bhakti) traditions, to accelerate scholarship across diverse languages.  Regional bhakti traditions mark a crucial transformation in South Asia from the 7th century CE onwards, as religious poets began composing in vernacular languages instead of Sanskrit, often with the goal of including women and socially marginal groups.  Recent scholarship on these traditions’ regional-linguistic contexts has led to region- and language-specific siloes and regional specialists who tend not to look beyond their areas of expertise.
Our project proceeds in three stages.  1) DH and technical consultants will help the co-directors design a faceted classification system and thesaurus of bhakti-related terms that build on LC subject headings.   2) Thirteen collaborating scholars with diverse linguistic expertise will curate bibliographies of region- and language-specific research, cataloging each item with the faceted classification system, to make them searchable and meaningfully linkable.  3) Programmers will design a central database into which the curated bibliographies will be fed and made searchable online.  The main intellectual contributions of this project are enabling dialogue among diverse specialists to explore an elusive topic in South Asian studies; compiling a thesaurus of LC subject headings related to bhakti and developing them further; cataloging thousands of scholarly works that currently lack labels, especially journal articles and book chapters where much bhakti scholarship is published; and creating a digital humanities tool that blends print media, linked data, and LC cataloging standards, with an eye to being scaled up and externally linked in the future.  Work on bibliography collection has already commenced, and the faceted classification system is being developed.  This project is still in its early stages, and we are pursuing grant support to bring it to fruition, ideally, within the next two years.

Return to Thursday schedule


Archival Repatriation: Reuniting the Crows with their Ancestors

Rebecca Wingo, Macalester College

Abstract:  In 1910, Dr. Ferdinand Shoemaker, the Assistant Medical Supervisor for the Office of Indian Affairs, began an innovating photographic health lecture series intended to prevent the further spread of tuberculosis and other communicable diseases. Shoemaker hired Richard Throssel, a Canadian Cree photographer and Crow adoptee, to photograph camps and idealized frame houses on the Crow Reservation. Coupled with a handful of silent films, Shoemaker believed the lantern slides would provide a simple visual means to educate Indians about hygienic practices, and thus combat the diseases that so devastated their communities.  Under the guise of preventing disease, the OIA-sponsored campaign also perpetuated elements of white, middle-class domesticity, creating a medium through which Native American culture could be forcibly replaced with Euro-American values. Over the next eight years, Shoemaker toured his lecture across fourteen Western states promoting the adoption of frame housing as a health measure. The images never returned to the Crow Reservation, instead ending up in boxes at the National Archives. This presentation explores the process of repatriating these images to the Crow Reservation through a digital archive and virtually reuniting the Crows with their ancestors.

Return to Thursday schedule


Exploring Endangered World Heritage Sites through a Digital Humanities Project

Heather Walder, MSU

In collaboration with the Michigan State University Laboratory for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research, (LEADR), Honors Introduction to Archaeology (ANP 203H) Fall 2016 students designed webpages to explore endangered UNESCO World Heritage sites. The objectives of the assignment were to research factors and current events leading to the endangerment of a chosen site, and to reflect on heritage site destruction and its implications in the modern world. This lightning round presentation highlights the project goals, instructional design, and pedagogical outcomes of the Endangered Sites project: http://endangeredsites.leadr.msu.edu/

Throughout the ANP 203H final course unit, students learned the value of archaeological research for present day applications, providing insight into addressing modern world issues such as conflict and war, climate change, mass migration of people, poverty, and inequality. The Endangered Sites project helped students understand how such issues can directly affect archaeological sites, sometimes the very sites that provide long-term historical insight on global issues today. Student webpages explored a cultural site on the UNESCO World Heritage in Danger list, assessed specific factors threatening the site, and considered the findings of archaeological research at a variety of sites.

Students were encouraged to create a project that they would be excited to share with classmates and maintain as part of a professional portfolio.  Collaboration with peers on webpage design was essential as students learned the basics of the WordPress platform. Linking to current news articles and multimedia content helped students gain awareness of our changing world and read critically about archaeology in the news. Through this digital humanities exploration, students gained broad knowledge of the range of issues in heritage preservation while simultaneously delving deep into the issues of their individual site. Such critical engagement with both depth and breadth of knowledge are key for developing students’ understandings of global heritage today.

Return to Thursday schedule


1:05-1:25 – Memory and Representation

The Indian Imagined: Stereotyping and Representation in Mainstream Digital Environments

Rocio Quispe-Agnoli, MSU

Understanding the ways in which indigenous subjectivity (awareness of one’s identity and that of others) in Latin America was/is before and after 1492 laid the foundation for the search of an imagined “authentic” Indian  that spoke (and speaks) more of the expectations of scholarly approaches usually focused on the Indian’s exclusion by the rhetoric of modernity. Being excluded and being (re)imagined, becomes more prevalent when imperial languages (English, Spanish) manage the production of knowledge about others who are not mainstream voices, Indians in this case.   Who creates/(re)imagines the Latin American Indian in mainstream Digital Humanities? For what purpose and how?  How geopolitical tensions of knowledge production about Latin America and its demographic majority repeat in mainstream Digital environments? What can we (teachers and scholars of Latin American and Indigenous studies) design digital environments about others in languages other than English and be at the center of academic and professional attention?


Return to Thursday schedule


Tweets of a Native Son: The Mythology of James Baldwin on Twitter

Melanie Walsh, Washington University in St. Louis

Scholars have noted that James Baldwin has become one of the leading literary voices of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Though the leading hashtag in #BlackLivesMatter reminds us that this protest movement largely began and flourished on the social media site Twitter, Twitter itself, and Baldwin’s place there, has been almost totally unexplored by literary critics. My paper conducts a large-scale computational analysis of tweets that mention both “Ferguson” and “James Baldwin” in August and November of 2014, in order to explore how Baldwin is being invoked by the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement and by broader conversations about contemporary American race relations. My paper finds that Baldwin is being most often invoked through quotation, specifically quotation from his non-fiction works and interviews, and further that some of the most popular quotations in these archives are in fact misquotations. I argue that, through these misquotations, a communal mythology of James Baldwin is being constructed online by Twitter users, an act of authorship in its own right that reveals both how contemporary readers respond to Baldwin and what’s most valued by the developing #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Return to Thursday schedule


Illuminating Imperial Exploration through Livingstone Online

Adrian S. Wisnicki, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This talk will spotlight Livingstone Online (livingstoneonline.org), a digital museum and library focused on the written and visual legacy of the famous Victorian explorer David Livingstone (1813-73). The site draws on recent scholarship and international collaboration to restore one of the British Empire’s most iconic figures to the many western and non-western historical contexts in which he worked, traveled, and is remembered. As part of its critical objectives, the site maps Livingstone’s journeys across Africa, his encounters with diverse African, Arab, and Indian populations, the preservation of Livingstone’s manuscript legacy from the nineteenth century to the present, the scattering of this legacy in a range of globally-distributed repositories, and, finally, the re-integration of this legacy in digital format. Yet in contrast to most critical studies of Livingstone’s work, the site seeks to engage its source materials in a reflective and critically-informed manner that is sensitive not only to the uneven power dynamics of the colonialism, but that recognizes how these dynamics continue to shape contemporary representations of colonial travelers like Livingstone. Our critical work includes the use of state-of-the-art spectral imaging technology to recover elements of Livingstone’s manuscripts that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye and that offer access to aspects of the nineteenth-century material history of imperial encounter that have been hidden until the present digital age. Put differently, the site engages Livingstone’s written and visual legacies to plot diverse geographies – of travel, culture, archiving, digitization, and forensic study – but does so in a manner that decenters the individual explorer and is attuned to the nuances of colonial history and to postcolonial critiques of that history. As such, the approach includes a sustained attempt to conduct research in a transparent, self-reflexive, and extensively documented manner that invites further critical interrogation and debate.

Return to Thursday schedule


1:35-1:55 – Text Mining, Textual Resources

Moving across the Scale: A Reflection on the use of Digital Tools for Historical Analysis

Marisol Fila, University of Michigan

The application of digital methods to the analysis of a historical corpus generates debates among the scholars. Whereas a “distant reading” can help to identify large-scale patterns, trends or insights that are currently invisible to a close reader, it may also, as Lara Putnam says, lead us to overemphasize the importance of that which connect, and underestimating the weight of that which is connected (2016: 378). In that sense, the validity of both sides’ arguments motivates us to pose a critical question about the object of our work and the techniques we use, as Franco Moretti (2015) suggests. What does the object of the work become when we move from micro to macroanalysis? Moreover, are the techniques employed able to weight the corpus in terms of the existing diversity and cultural importance of the different texts included? Is it possible for the results to be measured, balanced and contextualized? With an aim to reflect on these questions and to explore initial results, this paper parts of a first-hand experience in the use of digital tools to the analysis of an existing documentary corpus, that included cartoons, photographs, newspaper and magazine articles, films, plays, novels, short stories, poems, memoirs, political propaganda, histories and song lyrics from the early 1900s to the present, all of which narrate episodes in the life of Raul Grigera (popularly known as “El Negro Raul”), an Afro-Argentine man who became famous during the first three decades of the twentieth-century in Argentina.

Return to Thursday schedule


Mining: An Approach to Material and Digital Worlds

Eduard Arriaga and Andrés Villar, University of Indianapolis and Western University

Our current world, based on economic growth, is dependent on the large-scale mining of limited, non-renewable resources. Mining provides the ingredients for technology, which in the guise of the so-called digital revolution has created an unprecedented, and in theory limitless, amount of data widely understood as raw material that also needs to be “mined” for value. Who benefits from “digital mining,” and who is left out? Does the metaphor of mining, as it is extended to the digital domain, express an approach to reality that needs to be revised? Or does mining as a conceptual framework need to be discarded, rather than revised, in order to achieve environmental sustainability and a more equitable distribution of wealth?

These are some of the questions we will examine from the perspective of the digital humanities, paying particular attention to both the rhetorical power of images and the political implications of what has come to be called “Big Data.” Digital technologies have introduced a new paradigm of modernization, in which those “in the know” (those in possession of technology) define the rules of the game. Therefore, the globe-encompassing network of digital technologies —the digital domain— has become a staging ground for different, and sometimes contradictory, visions of how technology should be developed and used. In this contested arena, the use of images, broadly understood, is of critical importance, since images have the power to influence debates about issues of public interest, such as the nature and scope of resource mining and the role (and limits) of data mining. Consequently, and in keeping with the process of transforming the humanities into digital humanities, this paper will examine mining as a concept in which the virtual and the real intersect to express a problematic approach to reality.

Return to Thursday schedule

Digital Historical Trauma: A Digital Perception on the Press and Memory of the Baker Massacre, 1870

Jen Andrella, MSU

A digital analysis of the Piegan Massacre’s perception through newspaper reports provides a quantitative and computational component to my research that enhances historical methods of interpretation.  In the months following the massacre, newspapers all over the country used the event as a political platform, demonstrating the lack of unification and persisting tensions following the American Civil War.  Colonel Eugene M. Baker’s responsibility for the murder of 173 Piegan women, children, and elderly men evoked massive press coverage that complicated historical memory and the relationship between Americans and Native peoples.  Such evaluations can be replicated and emphasized through digital scholarship tactics. While Western newspapers applauded Baker’s actions as heroic and justifiable, the East was outraged and demanded federal investigation into the matter.  The press of the American South presented a unique circumstance, denouncing Baker’s actions while also blaming President Grant’s administration for a mismanaged, vigilante army. With his political image at risk, Grant revised his Indian policy to take on a mood of peace and assimilation rather than extermination.  At a time when industrialism proliferated in the North and reconstruction attempted to reform the South, the nation was not unified in their opinions towards conflict with Native tribes.  Unsurprisingly, the Piegan perspective is absent in such reports.  However, through a textual analysis of transcribed oral histories, historical fiction, and written testimonies, the Piegan voice has been represented in this new digital take on the massacre’s history.  This project uses digital methods including textual analysis, sentimentality reports, word frequency distribution graphs, and mapping.  Through these techniques, a computational reading of different newspapers from 1870 produces a profound perspective in addition to traditional historical approaches.

Return to Thursday schedule


2:05-2:25 – Mapping

Accra Wala: Mapping roads, mapping history, mapping partnerships

Jennifer Hart, Wayne State University

This paper will lay out the foundational concepts that shape our project, Accra Wala – an interactive map of the trotro system and a curated archive of life in Ghana’s capital city.  The paper will explore the ways in which these foundational concepts will translate into various forms of community engagement, which seeks to engage the Ghanaian public in the archiving of urban life and culture.  The paper also seeks to expand the notion of community beyond the citizens of Accra to think about the ways we can use the site to create a bridge between Ghanaian and American publics, both inside and outside of the classroom.  Finally, it highlights the importance for digital projects to partner with and create non-digital forms of outreach to generate content, raise awareness, and encourage participation.

Return to Thursday schedule


Mapping the Northern Frontier: Geo-Spatial Visualization and the Exploration of Indigenous Culture in Japan

Christina M. Spiker, St. Catherine University

The indigenous Ainu of northern Japan fascinated Anglophone travelers as they searched for an “authentic” native experience in the unexplored Japanese frontier. Idealized as a singular non-Asian race stranded in the North Pacific, writers, artists, and anthropologists not only textually described Ainu manners and customs but reproduced countless illustrations which would come to define Ainu culture in the Euro-American imaginary. Despite ardent claims of traveling “off the beaten track,” visitors to the region often frequented only those villages that were easily accessible. As a result, a small geographic locale came to stand in for the whole of Ainu experience, religion, art, and language in the budding field of Ainu Studies. My goal is to work towards a fuller picture these exchanges between indigenous and non-indigenous individuals through data visualization.

In this 5-minute lightning presentation, I want to consider the potential of resources like ArcGIS to retell the stories of figures like explorer Isabella Bird (1831-1904) in an effort to see beyond her rhetorical hyperbole. By comparing her travel route with that of other explorers, we can better understand the subjective construction of the Japanese “frontier.” I will close by imagining future collaborative possibilities of using this data together with content analyses of North American and European museum collections of Ainu objects. I see this as way to more fully understand the tangible relationship between explorer accounts of indigenous villages and the collection and distribution of indigenous art.

Return to Thursday schedule


“The Emperor Keepeth Many Feasts in the Yeare’: Digital Mapping of Time, Space, and Culture in Mughal Feasts

Justin Wigard and Shane Sever, MSU and Central Michigan University

This 15-minute presentation will examine the myriad roles that feasts had in 16th-century Mughal societies by examining texts cross-culturally and across history, ranging from European travel narratives from Thomas Roe and William Hawkins to Mughal memoirs from emperors such as Babur, Humayun, and Jahangir. Though the feast has yet to be studied in depth within Early Modern Studies, the phenomenon of the feast has recently spread to other critical avenues, particularly the fields of archaeology and ethnography, as Michael Dietler and Brian Hayden find feasts to be “a significant–perhaps a central–social practice” within “both past and present societies.” A traditional close reading of these Mughal memoirs would intimate that feasts are relatively unimportant to Mughal life, as Babur seems to only mention feasts in passing, while Jahangir primarily discusses drinking habits and New Year’s celebrations.

Our goals for this presentation, then, are twofold: 1) utilize digital humanities to apply a quantitative and visual approach to more fully comprehend the role of feasts in a connected history 2) expose further potential avenues of research related to digital approaches to Early Modern Studies. To this end, Franco Moretti’s practical method of visually mapping and graphing literary texts, as well as the digital program Tableau, will be used to illustrate trends through quantitative comparison of how feasts are featured in both Eastern and Western memoirs. By comparing textual trends of key terms, visualization of narratives, and geographic mapping, it will be shown that feasts are significant enough to connect historical entries in memoirs across 120 years, as well as bridge both Western and Eastern memoirs existing in the same cultural space.

Return to Thursday schedule


2:45-3:45 – Cultural Memory, Identities, and Social Justice

Shifting Representations of Zulu Identities, from Analog to Digital

Liz Timbs, MSU

In Imagined Communities (1982), Benedict Anderson offers a definition of the nation and the processes by which individuals form attachments to that entity; in short, nationalism. The nation, in Anderson’s conceptualization, “…is an imagined political community…imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members…yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.” Central to Anderson’s nationalism was the role of print capitalism in crystallizing these sentiments. “Print-capitalism,” Anderson argues, “created languages-of-power of a kind different from the older administrative vernaculars. Certain dialects inevitably were ‘closer’ to each print-language and dominated their final forms. Their disadvantaged cousins, still assimilable to the emerging print-language, lost caste, above all because they were unsuccessful (or only relatively successful) in insisting on their own print-form.” Just as print-culture had provided an arena for the creation and negotiation of national identities, the Internet can be seen as “another frontier to be colonized by our imaginary and national identity.” This paper extrapolates this idea to examine how an “imaginary and national” Zulu identity has been conceived of in the digital realm. Zulu ethnic identity is no longer relegated to the analog world. It has moved into digital spaces and scholars must take heed if they are to stay apace of the rapid developments rendered by this new medium. By examining three main forums for the proliferation of these digital Zulu identities (Zulu language resources, social media, and digital archives centered in the KwaZulu-Natal province), the argument is twofold: (1) there is an “imagined” digital Zulu community and (2) given this reality, historians must realize that contemporary Zulu identity discourse is inherently wrapped up in the digital, necessitating a shift in perspective to chart the contemporary manifestations of this ethnic identity.

Return to Thursday schedule


Humanizing Data –or- DH against archival violences

Anelise Hanson Shrout, California State, Fullerton

Some of most the compelling historical subjects left only faint traces in the historical record.  Recently, scholars have begun to note that their absence is a feature rather than a bug.  Perhaps most pointedly, Marisa Fuentes argued that archives can be acts of “epistemic violence” against marginalized people.

This presentation argues that scholars concerned with the creation of humanities data must take seriously the ways in which traditional archives have silenced marginalized people.  It also highlights the ways in which the digitization of those archives has the potential to enact further violence.  It begins by introducing methods rooted in “history from below,” the “new social history” and cliometrics of the 1970s and 1980s. Together, these approaches sought to resurrect the stories of “people with no history.” There have been various resurgences and developments in these methods in the intervening four decades.  These include practices of reading archives “against the grain” and reading silences, in order to understand those whose voices were intentionally obscured by official recorders and gatekeepers. This presentation argues that we must bring together classic archival theories and the old cliometrics with new digital tools.  It asks that data-driven digital humanists pay particular attention to historical actors who stripped of markers of humanity through quantification and commodification.  It calls for scholars to critically read archival silences while simultaneously using “big data” analyses to coerce meaning from our data; to think about the motives of historical data creators; to use data visualization to resurrect archival ghosts; and to deploy quantitative analysis to give weight to subjects long since written out of history. It aims to not only theorize digital approaches to marginalized people, but to present a concrete toolkit for beginning to center the voices and experiences of those marginalized historical subjects.

Return to Thursday schedule


Witnessing Hate: Case Studies in Data, Documentation, and Social Justice

Andrea Ledesma, Brown University

“Where does the hate in hate crime come from?” Kevin Berrill, former director of the National Gay Task Force, put this question forth in an 1988 draft of a conference address. There is no simple answer, as hate weaves through histories of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion. Yet we can begin with a data-driven perspective.

This paper presents a case study of an emerging collaboration between Northeastern University and Brown University that applies this history to the design of a crowdsourced digital archive. “Witnessing Hate: A Social Justice Archive of the Present” makes visible instances of hate through careful documentation. It defines hate in an intersectional context, emphasizing empathy and collaboration. “Witnessing Hate” not only fights against the normalization of discrimination, but more importantly provides a space that inspires action in light of victimization, hope in the face of hate.

The paper relies on an investigation of the relationship between data and hate crime legislation. Inspired by Christina B. Hanhardt’s Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and Politics of Violence, this paper follows the ways in which activists groups made hate legible to public authorities. It was not until the late 1980s that hate reified into a criminal category. Many organizations, like the Department of Justice, aimed to document the violence targeting marginalized individuals, particularly gay and lesbians in urban areas, for the purposes of safety and reform. Translating the structural complexities of this experience into a statistic, however, obscured the more critical nuances of hate and violence in American life. Incidents of and conversations surrounding hate crimes have surged since the 2016 presidential election. Turning to this history, what are the stakes of legibility? How can we re-center these former outliers? What is to be learned in their wake?

Return to Thursday schedule


4:00-5:00 – De-coding and re-coding literary canons

Forgetting the Famines: the Kiplings and their Indian Interlocutors

Amardeep Singh, Lehigh University

Members of Rudyard Kipling’s nuclear family lived in India for approximately thirty years (roughly 1870-1900), and all four Kiplings (Rudyard, Lockwood, Alice, and “Trix”) published writing based on that experience. While their writing has been extremely influential in shaping how the rest of the world saw British India, as postcolonial readers of Rudyard’s work in particular have often pointed out, their representation of life in the British Raj was highly ideological and often quite limited. For that reason, my new digital thematic collection, “The Kiplings and India: A Collection of Writings from British India,” has been designed to balance the presentation of digital editions of literary and journalistic texts by the Kiplings themselves with writing by contemporary Indian commentators and interlocutors. This particular presentation will foreground how John Lockwood Kipling in particular wrote about a pair of devastating Indian famines in the 1870s, and contrast his journalistic accounts published in the “Allahabad Pioneer” with those of first-hand accounts authored by Indian commentators and observers from the same time period. The materials being referenced are all  part of a Scalar site; the similarities as well as the differences in the representation of famine as well as other aspects of Indian life can be structured and schematized using Scalar’s “Path” architecture and the Visualization engines built into the Scalar platform.

Return to Thursday schedule


Retelling the Story of Okonkwo: A Digital exploration of the Clash of Cultures in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Tunde Opeibi and Oluwasola Aina, University of Lagos and  Crawford University, Nigeria

Chinua Achebe’s  Things Fall Apart (1958)  has remained one of the most widely  circulated and read African novels all over the world. This iconic literary work earns its global reputation through its fine artistic reconstruction of a typical Igbo traditional community in South East Nigeria struggling to contend with the invasion of western civilisation and cultures in its native territory.

This study addresses research gaps in the plethora of critical works on Achebe’s Things Fall Apart by adopting methods and tools in digital humanities to explore some major thematic concerns in the novel. It relies on a combination of pragma-discursive construct and aspect of Computational Stylometry ( Miles, 2008). It is an aspect of an ongoing digital humanities research projects at the University of Lagos.

The methodological and analytical procedures involved a critical and systematic reading and analysis of the novel. The digital version of the novel was processed in txt file. The digital analysis was done with the aid of some software packages such as  Voyant Tools, AntConc, Tagcrowd and SketchEngine for concordancing and keyword in context (KWIC) analysis.

The application of digital tools helps the study to electronically provide quantitative empirical evidence and instances of words and expressions that demonstrate clash of cultures which occurs at both the individual and societal levels. The supplemental qualitative explanation shows how the key character in the novel suffers personal tragedy in his attempt to grapple with the complexity of the Igbo traditional practices in contact with a sophisticated western Christian culture.


Return to Thursday schedule


Towards a Platform for Studying and Analyzing Chinese Poetry

Chao-Lin Liu, Harvard University

Poetry is an important part of Chinese culture. Influences of the Tang poems and Song lyrics on Chinese literature, formal writings, and everyday conversations last until today. In addition, the interests in Chinese poetry is global; for instance, an international workshop focused on the works of Du Fu[1] , a famous poems of the Tang dynasty, and all of Du Fu’s poems were translated into English[2] .

Since two years ago, we have been developing software tools for analyzing the Chinese poetry. Initially, we employed the Tang poems as the sample corpus; then, we expanded our exploration into Song lyrics and Song poems. Now, we have included corpora of Chinese poetry that were created between 1046BC and 1368AD.

Colors in poems play a similar role as soundtracks in movies. Colors are a crucial ingredient in the imagery of poems. We discovered that the most frequent colors in the Complete Tang poems [3] and the Complete Song Lyrics are white and red [4], respectively. Such findings are both linguistically and socially interesting.

Statistics about word usage of different poets provide a distant viewpoint of the styles of poets. Our analysis of “wind” and “moon” in Li Bai’s and Du Fu’s poems [3] provides an interesting contrast with Jiang’s analysis [5] that was based on close reading of the poems.

We have built tools that help us identify collocations and patterns that appeared in poems of different poets. Such patterns are linguistic tools for expressing imageries in poems, and the repeated patterns influence the connotations of words in Chinese as well .

We also employed information about poets that are available in China Biographical Database (CBDB) [7] to build a history of word usage in poetry. Identifying person names in poems will provide friendship information for enriching CBDB in return [6].

We aim at building an open environment for studying Chinese poetry.


[1] http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/dufu/home

[2] Stephen Owen. 2015. The Poetry of Du Fu, The Series of Library of Chinese Humanities, De Gruyter. open access: <https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/246946>

[3] Chao-Lin Liu, Hongsu Wang, Chu-Ting Hsu, Wen-Huei Cheng, and Wei-Yun Chiu. 2015. Color aesthetics and social networks in complete Tang poems: Explorations and discoveries, Proc. of the 29th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation, 132‒141.

[4] Chao-Lin Liu. 2016. Quantitative analyses of Chinese poetry of Tang and Song dynasties: Using changing colors and innovative terms as examples, Proc. of the 2016 Int’l Conf. on Digital Humanities, 260‒262.

[5] Shao-Yu Jiang. 2003. “Moon” and “Wind” in Li Bai’s and Du Fu’s poems – Using computers for studying classical poems, Proc. of the 1st Int’l Conf. on Literature and Information Technologies. (in Chinese)

[6] Chao-Lin Liu and Kuo-Feng Luo. 2016. Tracking words in Chinese poetry of Tang and Song dynasties with the China biographical database, Proc. of the Workshop on Language Technology Resources and Tools for Digital Humanities, The 26th Int’l Conf. on Computational Linguistics, 172‒180.

[7] Michael A. Fuller. 2015. The China Biographical Database User’s Guide, Harvard University. <http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/cbdb/home>

Return to Thursday schedule


Friday, March 17, 2017

10:15-11:15 – Reconfiguring Narrative: Connectivities in Literary and Game Studies

Contending with Hegemonies, Exploring Linkages and Possibilities of Assertions in the Global South: A Study through Role Playing Computer Games

Siddhartha Chakraborti, Aligarh Muslim University

The ‘Global South’ as a spatial categorization of developing, mostly erstwhile colonized countries can be seen as a conglomeration of various area studies that had developed in the 1950’s under the leading role of the Ford foundation. The grouping together of various regions underlines the possibility of exploring common links across diverse cultures that often have been adversely impacted by colonialism and imperialism without constantly re-centering their histories on any single over-determining event. Escaping from the continued shadow of postcolonialism, this allows us to re-engage with newer forms of political and cultural hegemonies that permeate our current collective consciousness across the global south and therefore creates possibilities of countering such hegemonies through assertive discourses.

The article explores the global south as created in major role playing games over the last three decades. It attempts to unearth a commonality, not on the basis of economic factors such as development, or historical determinants such as a colonial past – which are the current defining imaginations – but rather on the imaginations of sovereignty and agency that are set out in the game narratives. Using the ideas of Carl Schmitt, who in his 1922 work Political Theology describes the sovereign as ‘He who decides the exception’, and Giorgio Agamben’s  State of Exception(2005), the work will proceed by revealing the imagination of the ‘Global South’, in both the game and real worlds, to be rooted in a never ending series of crises demanding intervention and the perpetual breaking down of sovereignty.

For the purpose of this article, games including Core Design’s Tomb Raider III – Adventures of Lara Croft (1998), Fun Lab’s Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2009 (2008), Rockstar Studio’s Max Payne 3 (2012) and IO Interactive’s Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (2002) will be taken up, ensuring that a wide range of the virtual global south, including South America, Africa and South Asia can be brought into the study. Only games that have ‘blockbuster’ status, in terms of sales, popularity and distribution have been included to ensure that ‘texts’ of study are established accepted imaginaries of the global south in the gaming community.

Return to Friday schedule


Hacking “el sistema”: Digital Hyper-Punk Fiction in Latin America

Eduardo Ledesma, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

In cyberspace, one could think, science fiction has found both its latest frontier and perhaps, its final destination, the place where medium, form and content can blend into a virtual, synthetic, and homogeneous perfect whole. Not so. In Ibero-American digital literature online what is often courted is not a prelapsarian unity, but rather an aesthetic of chaos, of failure, of dispersion and fragmentation, often manifested through precarious programming, disconnected links, and abandoned or ruinous websites. I would suggest that the flickering text and pixelated images, the glitches in display mechanisms and errors in computer code and server crashes, the slowly degrading websites, reflect the kind of fragmented and exploited world these narratives emerge from. In recent Ibero-American hyper-punk (or hypermedia cyberpunk) works such as Doménico Chiappe’s “Hotel Minotauro” (Peru-Spain, 2013), Felix Ramirez’s “Psyco” (Spain, 2012), or Belén Gache’s “Manifiestos Robots” (Argentina, 2009) we can read, view and listen to the effects of neoliberal chaos, of the refashioning and exploitation of human bodies, which are at times fused with the machine to enhance productivity, and other times merely discarded as waste. In this posthuman nightmare one figure offers an ambiguous ray of hope: the shadowy hacker simultaneously represents the forces of destruction and the only possibility for resistance, for “navigating” and even thriving within a dystopian environment and harnessing the forces of the digital to challenge “el sistema,” the neoliberal matrix itself.

Return to Friday schedule


Annotation, Bibliography, and Networks: Systems of Textual Classification for Premodern Chinese Texts

Evan Nicoll-Johnson, UCLA

Annotations to Chinese historical texts have long been recognized as sources of bibliographic and historical information. They draw from a wide variety of texts in all genres, supplementing and at times challenging the accounts provided in the works to which they are appended. The annotations to historian Chen Shou’s (233-397 CE) The Record of the Three Kingdoms, compiled a generation later by Pei Songzhi (372-451), has been the subject of numerous studies that intend to recover information about these texts. The fifth-century compilation, A New Account of Tales of the World, collects hundreds of anecdotes detailing the lives prominent individuals, covering a period that roughly overlaps with that addressed in Chen Shou’s Record. It, too, was later supplemented with extensive citations, compiled by Liu Xiaobiao (462-521) in the Southern Liang dynasty. For centuries, scholars have read both sets of annotations as sources of bibliographic data, extracting their authors and titles and incorporating them into intricately organized book lists, in attempts to reconstruct the lost textual landscape of early medieval China. This study is an attempt to use digital research tools to participate in and critique this long history of “data mining.” As it constructs new relationships of category and genre with which to bind texts to one another, removing annotations from their original context and organizing them into a different bibliographic schema erases the relationships between the annotations and the text to which they are appended, obscuring the complex patterns of their original configurations. By digitally annotating both sets of annotations, I have created a series of network diagrams that map occurrences of citation throughout both texts. This method merges the distant approach of the bibliographer with the attention to patterns of co-citation afforded by closer reading, offering a new perspective on the intertextual relationships created through annotation.

Return to Friday schedule


11:30-12:30 – Mapping and 3D Environments

Boundary-work: mapping borders, edges, and margins in “Fortress Europe

Dimitris Papadopoulos, Western Michigan

The European refugee crisis has been mostly narrated through visual media, from mainstream media reports and compelling maps, infographics, and visualizations to video and images on social media. At the same time, it has accelerated the “Fortress Europe” project of nation-state “re-bordering” along the “Balkan refugee route”. This is a project that produces new spatial forms and materialities from new border checkpoints and militarized security and surveillance zones to refugee camps or personal items left behind by border crossers. It also exposes processes of border making and remaking, re-opens issues of exclusion versus inclusion of the ethnic and religious “other”, and transforms cities and historic landscapes in ways that are seen both as ruptures with the past and revivals of past legacies.  At the same time, it brings forward a series of challenges for humanities and social science research in relation to modes and technologies of mapping, and visibility, knowledge production and legitimacy.

Using the refugee crisis spotlight as a starting point, I will focus on the case of the Greek national border, tracing it back to its historical “reincarnations,” to discuss ways of mapping the spatial and material practices of making and unmaking it. I will explore the potential of multi-modal, multi-scalar methodological approaches as a means of historicizing the border in its multiple “lives” and trajectories and unraveling its supporting infrastructures.

The paper aims to contribute to a discussion of digital border studies as an analytical standpoint from which to interrogate different modes of mapping and visualizing borderlands and liminal spaces of encounter and transgression. To this end, it explores humanities-based tools and thinking as a way of merging historical and macro-scale perspectives with the sense of immediacy of local conditions and realities “on the ground”.

Return to Friday schedule


The $500 Challenge: 3D Modeling of Heritage Structures in Endangered or Developing Areas

William Spates, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, KK Birla Goa Campus

Themes and Topics:

  • Critical cultural studies and analytics
  • Global digital pedagogies
  • The state of global digital humanities community
  • Scholarly communication and knowledge production in a global context

Keywords: Famagusta,; Cyprus; 3D modeling; cultural heritage and preservation; digital pedagogy; art history; cultural history

This paper presents a solution to a tripartite cultural heritage problem:

  1. How can we effectively engage in cultural heritage and preservation projects in areas where location, funding, technology, or safety issues may inhibit the deployment of high-value equipment, international experts, etc.?
  2. How can we empower technologically and/or economically disadvantaged groups, including and especially students, by providing the mechanics and platforms to undertake cultural heritage work?
  3. How can educators help develop grassroots programs by teaching students systems, methodologies and good practice to both undertake modeling projects and, in turn, use them as means of education and knowledge building / interpretation?

The sample project that I’ll be using is our reconstruction of the medieval Church of St. Anne’s in Famagusta, North Cyprus. The challenge here is to create a 3D model with approximately $500 worth of equipment: i.e. a laptop, open-source software, and a decent digital camera.

This paper will demonstrate our results, discuss challenges and future developments, and explore the larger implications for similar programs in both pedagogy and preservation.

Return to Friday schedule


4:15-5:15 – Defining Digital Humanities: The Political and Ethical Stakes

Archival Emanations and Contrapuntal Transformations: Digital Cultural Productions in Post-1965 Indonesia

Viola Lasmana, University of Southern California

What would a transformed understanding of the digital humanities attuned to the impact of digital technologies on marginalized communities in a globalized sphere look like? I offer an alternative trajectory of the digital humanities by focusing on cultural productions that function as tactical media (to borrow Rita Raley’s phrase) in Indonesia in the decades following the 1965-66 anti-Communist genocide. In this paper, I analyze the Mapping Memory Landscapes data visualization project alongside the Indonesian Institute of Social History digital archive and a variety of video remixes, demonstrating how networked technologies facilitate an uncovering of shadows in the archive and transform the Indonesian public’s relationship to historical trauma.

Highlighting the influence of digital media practices on politics and representation in Indonesia, this paper is an intervention in the typically Anglocentric and phallogocentric formulations of the digital humanities. Expanding the histories of the digital humanities must pay attention to underrepresented communities that are left out in discussions about the intersections of culture and digital technologies, and that are not named or seen as doing the work of “digital humanities.” The interventions produced in the various emergent digital projects discussed in this paper speak to the importance of including these specific cultural productions as having a stake in considering a global digital humanities that is at once innovative, collaborative, and social justice-oriented.

Return to Friday schedule


Gaps and Silences: A Case Study in Web Archiving Diverse Content

Sigrid Anderson Cordell, Catherine Morse, Jo Angela Oehrli, Juli McLoone, Meredith Kahn, University of Michigan

Building on calls by Adeline Koh, Roopika Risam, and others in post-colonial DH (http://dhpoco.org) for a more diversified digital humanities, the University of Michigan Library is building archived web collections aimed at writing marginalized groups and social justice issues into the record. At the same time, we’re also deeply invested in questions about the ethics of archiving that have been taken up by the Documenting the Now (http://www.docnow.io) movement. Through this program, we are working with digital tools to make cultural materials available for DH scholarship. As part of a pilot using Archive-It, a popular tool for web archiving, we are collecting in three areas: diversity in children’s literature, interactive fiction and queer digital culture, and the politics of water in Michigan. These three collections speak directly to the questions of “cultural theft” raised by the Global DH Symposium organizers. Our pilot explores how we might ensure access to these materials while balancing our collecting practices with ethical concerns for the impacted communities.

This presentation will be a deep dive into the early stages of a project focused on ethically increasing access to digital cultural materials. We will also explore the challenges and early findings of the project in relation to identifying content to be crawled and the process of determining when and how to seek permission to crawl. As a relative latecomer to the web-crawling landscape, our project has the advantage and challenge of addressing not only the practicalities of establishing a web archiving program, but of building in carefully-thought-out consideration of privacy, intellectual property rights, and other considerations from the beginning of the project. Overall, our project explores how the DH impulse for collecting and documenting needs to be equally attentive to privacy and the concerns of stakeholders in content-generating communities.

Return to Friday schedule


Afrolatin@ Digital Humanities: Complex Global Interconections in Search of Social Justice

Eduard Arriaga, University of Indianapolis

In the last decade a surge of personal, institutional, and community driven digital projects have emerged from the appropriation of digital tools by Afrolatin@ individuals, groups and communities in the Americas. Although these projects hold diverse aims, one common objective is the pursuing of actions that go beyond the collection of canonical humanities content (e.g. literature, philosophy, history, etc.). Those projects employ digital tools to create their own stories, images and representations and, at the same time, to question conceptions of humanity, humanism and inclusion. In addition, those digital projects allow their authors and audience not only to understand “how they know what they know” –as proposed by Willard McCarty in defining the Digital Humanities- but also and foremost to think critically about types of knowledge that has been produced about them and their communities.

Some of the questions that arise from such productive and critical relationships between Afrolatin@ communities and the dynamics of the digital  are: Is it possible to speak about Afrolatin@ Digital Humanities as a transnational field pushing the boundaries of the Digital Humanities? What are the digital appropriations and innovations carried out by such projects? How do conceptions of humanity, memory and identity among others re-shape the way digital tools are used by those communities? What are the contributions of the studied projects to our critical understanding of both Afrolatin@ cultures and the digital as an added layer to our conceptions of culture?

This paper will respond these and other questions by studying projects and initiatives such as Afro-Latino Project, Atrato River Memories, AfroCrowd, and LatiNegrxs Project among others. Through the use of topic maps, databases and other visualization and data curation techniques, this paper will discuss the way ethnic and racial diverse communities produce alternative knowledge(s) and promote critical conceptions about humanity, humanism and humanities thanks to the use of digital tools and digital methodologies from a critical perspective.

Return to Friday schedule