This collection of abstracts reflects the original plan for the Global Digital Humanities Symposium before the forced shift to a virtual event. Abstracts for presentations not given at the the virtual symposium are included and noted.

Relational Landscapes: Teaching Chaco Canyon Ancestral Pueblo Monumental Architecture with Immersive Technology
Laura Smith (Michigan State University)

This work was not presented during the virtual symposium, but it is shared in the Humanities Commons group and is available for download at

In consideration of the 10th anniversary of MSU’s Cultural Heritage Informatics Program, I am proposing a five-minute lightening talk on the application of digital technologies in teaching cultural heritage materials. This presentation will highlight the challenges and a preliminary resolution for blending the students’ immersive experience with teaching art historical research practices. For an undergraduate introductory survey of Native North American arts and architecture, an immersive 360 image experience has been created to encourage students to understand and experience of Chaco Canyon (850-1150CE) monumental architecture as a relational landscape.

Humans often design their environments to organize social relations and to teach or reinforce knowledge about their worlds; this is a felt, as well as visual, experience. Seeing these structures is only one part of experiencing and researching them. According to Santa Clara Pueblo architect and historian Rina Swentzell (1990), Pueblo stories, songs, and prayers present a house not as an inanimate object but as part of a cosmological world view that recognizes interconnectedness and cyclic temporality. In order to convey Swentzell’s theory, an immersive visual experience of Chacoan structures offers a pedagogical advantage over conventional slides or other two-dimensional representations. An immersive experience in the Abrams Planetarium introduced students to the relations between the geography, the cosmological alignments, the monumental architecture, and the felt experience of Chaco Canyon. It further advanced Indigenous perspectives over their cultural heritage.

The associated assignment has students evaluate and explain the varied ways of seeing and experiencing Chaco Canyon architecture using a small selection of Indigenous and non-Indigenous authored primary sources.

Using GIS in representing the significance of transnational financial support for deaf education in China, circa 1880s-1920s
Shu Wan (University of Iowa)

This work will not be presented during the virtual symposium.

This presentation intends to examine the significance of the American missionary and deaf teacher Annetta E. Mills’s efforts to raise funds for the transnational expansion of American deaf education in China. Originally established by American medical missionaries Charles Mills and his wife Annetta Mills in 1887, the school was the first specific educational institution for deaf children in China. Owing to Mills’s insistence on tuition waiver for all local enrollees between the 1880s and 1920s, the maintenance of this school mainly relied on financial sponsorship from foreign donors consisting of churches and deaf schools in North America and Western Europe. During her service in China ending her retirement in 1924, Mills took consistent efforts to convince donors of the significance of her enterprise for the expansion of deaf education in China and salvation of Chinese deaf children from poverty and negligence. Reviewing Mills’s accomplishments in developing a deaf school in China, I argue that the consistent fluidity of funds through the transnational network, which was composed of Mills and her school in China and numerous donors in the United States and other countries, was indispensable for the proliferation of deaf education in China. In order to display the transnational network in a vivid and dynamic way, this presentation intends to utilize GIS technology in making up a map of the expanding network.

Building an Inclusive Digital Local History in the Midwest
Benjamin Ostermeier (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville)

Slides and text of the talk are available at

Since 2016, the history department and the IRIS Digital Humanities Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville have documented the history and culture of Madison County, Illinois with Madison Historical. This website has told the county’s history through online encyclopedia articles, digital artifacts, and oral histories created in partnership with local museums, historical societies, libraries, and other community members.

I have served as the project’s tech developer from its inception and played a role in project planning. In this presentation, I discuss how the digital project has replicated unequal power dynamics in the county and how we and community members have attempted to challenge these dynamics. Traditional local history is typically celebratory, highlighting the achievements of “prominent” citizens to manufacture community identity and pride, often at the expense of people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized groups. While many of our community partners have made efforts to move past this tradition, a degree of community boosterism persists in maintaining socio-economic hierarchies. As a result, Madison Historical has struggled to find artifacts and written sources related to, for example, race relations or immigrant narratives. Instead of institutions, we have found these stories in oral histories, where citizens have given direct accounts of their experiences, including working for a glass factory as a woman of color, having to avoid a sundown town as a black child, and carrying on cultural traditions as a third-generation Macedonian American. Unlike digitized museum documents, oral histories empower participants with explicit control over their story and the right to refuse to publish it online. However, while oral histories are more effective in telling diverse stories, they can become exploitative and cannot generate intergroup conversations on their own. I conclude with ideas on how the project can leverage community interactions to create a more socially just digital space moving forward.

Regularization of Kinship Relations to Enrich the Social Networks
Bin Li (Harvard University)

The kinship relations is an important issue in history studies. The kinship database is a key resource to analyze the structure and succeeding of the families. However, the existed databases of kinship relations have a bottleneck. As Chinese have many more kinship words to name different types of kinship than English. Thus, the relations extracted from ancient Chinese texts have many types. As in the well-known China Biographical Database (CBDB), which contains more than 100,000 relation instances, there are more than 50 types of kinship relations. In this presentation, we put forward a novel method to regularize the kinship relations by 3 basic relations, father-child, mother-child, husband-wife. All the 50 types of relations are mapped to the 3 relations. In this way, we not only make the kinship network more regular, but also generate many missing persons. And we generate many more relations among the persons by deduction from the 3 basic relations. Thus, the kinship network gets more nodes and more relation instances, which is fruitful for deeper analysis. This method could be used in other social network construction and analysis.

Keywords: Kinship, Digital History Database, social relations, history of China, digital humanity

Main Idea: We want to show how to refine and enrich a kinship network by 3 basic relations for historical digital humanity studies.

DH and Cultural Heritage: Digitisation of Eyo Festival in Nigeria
Felix Bayode Oke (Anchor University Lagos, Nigeria)

Festivals are significant events in the social and cultural reality of people.  To preserve cultural heritage, specialists capture what happens before, during, and after a festival by interviewing participants, taking photographs and recording audio and video of the event, etc.  For example, Pelu Awofeso has documented the Lagos Eyo Festival (also known as the Adamo Orisha Play) in his work White Lagos: A Definitive and Visual Guide to the Eyo Festival, in which he observes participants and uses a narratological approach to document the event in textual form. In this paper, I argue that the use of digital software such as IIIF, will be useful in both documenting as well as digitizing images for mapping and annotation. These processes will enhance the preservation, data protection, and privacy of textual documentation of festivals.

Digital Apprehensions of Indian Poetics
Zahra Rizvi (Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India), Asra Mamnoon (Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India), A. Sean Pue (Michigan State University),

It is clear that knowledge of Indian poetics—the theory of literary forms and discourse that allows for understanding of poetry—is dwindling in our contemporary age. At the same time, poems themselves are circulating more widely than ever before, primarily on digital platforms. “Digital Apprehensions of Poetics” uses digital technologies to understand, interpret, and annotate the poetics of Indian literatures, which circulate in digital texts, in manuscript, and as oral or musical performance. Our contention is that computational technology can enhance both scholarly analysis and pedagogical explanation of Indian literatures. Despite the good intentions behind the growing collection of internet literary resources, these often amateur-led projects tend to lack both scholarly rigor and digital precision. We aim to harness these efforts as a humanities equivalent of “citizen science,” in which data crowdsourced by passionate, everyday people is put to use in state-of-the-art systems.

This presentation will present the status of a collaborative research project between a large midwestern research one university and a public central university in New Delhi, India. The presenters will be the American co-PI and two visiting Indian graduate student researchers in residence at the midwestern university.

Digital Mapping of Culpability and the Culpable in African War Texts
Richard Ajah (University of Uyo, Nigeria)

Studies on African war texts have been approached from traditional close reading methods of enquiry, subjected to trauma, memory and psychoanalytical theories and less scholarly attention given to distant reading through digital tools. This study establishes the possibility of corpus building of African war narratives despite digital infrastructural shortcomings in Africa. It combines qualitative and quantitative methodologies in the digital mapping of culpability and the culpable in African civil war represented in these corpora. With AntConc and Voyant, Ahmadou Kourouma’s trilogy and Scholastique Mukasonga’s autobiography were mined and examined using an eclectic framework of postcolonial theory and onomastics. The corpus analysis investigates how outputs of both digital tools of concordance, clusters, Keywords, Word Cloud, collocation and visualisations help in the analysis of the portrayal of guilt and the guilty in these corpora. Anthroponyms, ethnonyms and toponyms, and their collocates are subjected to the postcolonial dynamics of otherness, subalternity and identity to underscore how they reflect authorial postcolonial ideology and judgement on African wars. In Kourouma’s trilogy, appropriation of culpability is postcolonially negotiated and contextually indicated through word frequencies and ranking. Boigny, Gbagbo, Doe, Koroma, tribal toponyms have common word frequencies same as the Tutsi and Hutu in Mukasonga’s genocidal autobiography. Numbers and curves are used to illustrate culpability chart that indicates the levels of guilt appropriated to historical figures and tribes represented in these corpora.

Collapse and Rebirth the End of the USSR and Afterward: An Introduction to a Digital Archive
Ryan Lumsden (Michigan State University)

Collapse and Rebirth: A Living Archive on the End of the USSR and Afterward (1985-1994).” This is a mixed media multilingual digital archive of events surrounding the collapse of USSR, and immediately afterward. The prototype website for the project, uses a combination of two platforms (Esri Arcgis Storymaps, and Omeka S. The site is intended to support public commentary by eyewitnesses, suggestions for additional events to be featured, and offers of archival material for curation and inclusion. It will include bibliographic entries for each event, and will provide links to other archival materials and digital resources on the topic that are available on the internet. The prototype for the project was recently presented at the Central Eurasian Studies Society annual meeting, at which a team of faculty and students introduced first phase “stories” on the excess use of force to breakup peaceful demonstrations in five national regions of the USSR, including extensive use of video materials. We are proposing a lightening talk by faculty and students that will demonstrate the prototype website’s second phase “stories” on the political movements and protests that were key to getting rights of national language usage and status restored during the period 1987-1989 in several republics and autonomous regions of the USSR. We will include the cases of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where national groups called for enhanced rights for the native languages spoken by the majority of residents, but which did not have the same legal protections as the Russian language. Their struggle will be contrasted with the Kremlin’s efforts to protect the language rights of ethnic Russian minorities in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as part of an effort to damage the reputation of the national movements in the three Baltic Republics during this same period.

Between Phallus and Freedom: An Ethnography on the Embodied Experiences of Tinder Users in Cape Town
Leah Junck (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

This paper grapples with the question of whether dating applications like Tinder reinforce rigid gender and other identities as well as with the potential of technologically enhanced selves to contest them. Notions of identity and aspects of power and agency are discussed by referring to ethnographic fieldwork on dating applications usage conducted in Cape Town. My research lays bare the challenges and opportunities that navigating desires via technology hold in the complex post-Apartheid context. It engages with the everyday embodied experience of research participants in establishing intimacy and their perceptions of self in the process while looking at the online and offline as hybrid experience. The focus lies on the ways in which relationships may become democratized in this highly diverse context with the fieldwork revealing that the pervasiveness of gender roles becomes perpetuated by dating applications. This is partially due to a lack of open discussion and carefulness in the process of unraveling and navigating the rules of the dating game whilst maintaining a sense of self that is not to be rendered more evaded by hurt, heartbreak, ghosting and a perceived loss of autonomy than it already is. However, those who break free from this hesitation and leave their comfort zone at least to degrees tend to narrate stories in which nuances of the self are discovered, thus adding to social scripts. This involves the transgression of particular and embodied gendered/racialized/classed roles and is not without hurdles and backlash. The maneuvering of various crossroads while embodying continuously changing notions of identity that are guided by – and sometimes clashing with – social scripts brings various challenges to the fore and renders it difficult to create even a momentary sense of coming home to the self. The continued search for desire and meaningfulness by tinderers in spite of these challenges and even after episodes of defeat and the deletion of apps can be interpreted as a move away from strict identity categories.

Can Library Metadata Stand with Hong Kong?
Joshua Barton, Mike Erickson, Lucas Mak, and Nicole Smeltekop (Michigan State University)

In early 2019, protests erupted in Hong Kong against the extradition bill proposed by the semi-autonomous region’s government. After the bill was suspended, unrest continued with protester demands including humane treatment of protesters and universal suffrage. That fall, a zine-related listserv shared freely-downloadable zines, posters, and flyers from the protests, urging libraries to print and preserve them. Our library did so, creating metadata for the material in our shared online catalog.

Cataloging material about an ongoing political (and emotional) event raised ethical issues and necessitated creative solutions. Traditional library cataloging relies on tools and resources known for dependability, not nimbleness. Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH, our controlled vocabulary) are established after reaching a “literary warrant” threshold (i.e., people are publishing on the topic) and creating them using mainstream scholarly sources can take months. Cataloging primary sources about current world events pushes LCSH to be more responsive to current trends in thinking about organizing knowledge, and in the case of the Hong Kong materials, it forefronts the perspective of those seeking justice when framing these events for posterity.

Catalogers are generally trained to be “neutral” when describing material, however the field has begun to acknowledge and question implicit bias and recognize the fraught nature of creating “neutral” descriptions. Catalogers skeptical of neutrality may weigh traditional factors like creator intent, but also metadata lifecycles and the historical ramifications of descriptive work and the power of naming, as well as safety and privacy concerns for creators. We contend that cataloging materials with these factors in mind can be an act of solidarity with creators seeking justice by both disseminating access to the material and disseminating data about the material particularly through traditional, mainstream channels. Our talk will discuss these issues and explore how metadata creation with primary sources might intersect with solidarity.

Digitalising political communication in West Africa: Facebook and Twitter in election campaigns and political practices in Ghana
Akwasi Bosompem Boateng (North-West University, South Africa)

Digital media technologies, such as social media are transforming the methods of political communication and citizen engagements in democracy. The digitalisation of democracy, especially in political communication and elections is not immune to countries in West Africa. This article provides critical perspectives regarding the use of digital technology, particularly social media in political engagements in Ghana. The paper shows how the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress used Facebook and Twitter in political communication and elections of the two major parties especially their 2018 intra-party national executive competitions. The paper does so by reviewing research on social media in politics, detailing how these new forms of communication and addressing their concomitant issues in respect of theoretical foundations and case study of Ghana. In this regard, the paper suggests ways through which the use of social media communication, particularly Facebook and Twitter could be improved in politics and internal election campaigns. The article provides practical democratic and political communication implications for this research.

Intersection: Digital Humanities, Research Data Management and Libraries in African Higher Education Institutions
Thembelihle Hwalima (Lupane State University, Zimbabwe)

The advent of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and their continued adoption and usage has seen Africa enhancing them fully and leading to a change in the means with which they manage their day to day endeavours. Recent advances in digital technologies have provided unprecedented opportunities for digital scholarship in the humanities field. This has led to the birth of Digital Humanities (DH) for Africa, and the higher education landscape has found itself having a need to adapt the DH changes to allow themselves to be aligned to current trends in the digital world. However, embracing digital humanities alone without considering how to manage the humanities research data would be a setback for African HEI. This paper seeks therefore to bring about a need to blend digital humanities, research data management for the better development of African Higher Education Institutions for the African continent as a whole. Qualitative Methodology was used for this study in the form of a comparison of multiple case studies of selected HEI within Southern Africa to collate the stud findings. Survey monkey questionnaire was distributed to various institution’s libraries and purposive selection of participants within certain humanities departments was done. Findings showed that quite a large number of institutions were not fully aware of DH, or had at all absorbed or implemented both DH and RDM principles therefore it was hard to blend the two, and others had only done RDM and not diffused the DH movement. Recommendations was that there be an African approach to DH &RDM maybe even through IFLA or any other body which can allow a standard template to be used across all HEI so as to remain relevant and abreast with current trends in DH field.

Teaching with Data in the Academic Museum
Beth Fischer (Williams College)

This presentation addresses ways to work with students on digital projects from within a teaching museum, and especially the use of digital projects to critique and amend museum data sets. This museum has a mission of helping students critique both works of art and the structures that define, categorize, and create value around particular works or types of work. However, the existing museum database and its data both prioritize western post-Renaissance expectations of artist identity, artwork origin, and periodization. Data on works that do not fit this structure is often left out of the record entirely, or categories are twisted to make things fit.

This problem faces many museums, and it becomes a particular issue as we use museum resources to work with students on digital projects. The missing data and missing content in many fields lead students to prioritize works that match existing expectations of art, with known creators and familiar culture or period identifications. The result goes directly against the work we have done in the museum through other types of programming, and often leads students to believe that they have an “objective” measure that confirms their expectations.

In the presentation, I present brief case studies of how we are building student project opportunities that use data while trying to avoid reifying the structural problems that underlie this sort of historical data set. These include new interfaces for visual exploration, projects for working with mapping and machine learning, and processes for adding student research data into the existing data.

Digital Humanities and the discursive complexities of colonial “letterature”
Ayodele James Akinola (Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Nigeria)

Colonial letters are a means of communication among colonial masters in major parts of the world, especially Africa between 1870 and 1900 (Iweriebor, 2011). In many instances, these letters served as a medium of exchanging thoughts or information between the ruling colonial masters and the colonised subjects or vice versa. Korieh (2014) considers them as a reliable source for analysing Africa’s encounter with Europe owing to the letters’ historical and cultural values. In recent times, colonial historicity and its antiquities have attracted the interest of scholars in the field of digital humanities. Interestingly, scholars in this field have observed that colonial letters is one of the important antiquities of the colonial times. Yet, their linguistic complexities remain understudied. This study is aimed at collecting archived colonial letters in and/or relating to Nigeria, investigate the various discursive or pragmatic patterns that shape the complexities, and how they assist in the understanding of colonial thoughts, and interrogate the effectiveness of these letters to modern-day pedagogy and their potentials for the description of African socio-cultural cum linguistic values in the study locations. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are being applied for content analysis of the corpus. For the quantitative analysis, the digital humanities (DH) tools such as RStudio, and AntConc are being utilised. Interviews are also being conducted at the data collection sites with designated and relevant authorities to collect and establish valid background information on each of the letters.  For the analysis, the texts will be coded to achieve the study outcomes based on different parameters of the software packages in line with the content analysis method following Mey’s pragmatic acts theory which serves as the adopted theoretical foundation.

Map-Based Storytelling for Evolving Places
Sayan Bhattacharyya (Singapore University of Technology and Design)

The digital is often assumed to reinforce the policing of rigid boundaries in representation, as its often discrete and mutually disjoint categories seem to favor impositions if essentialist norms. This paper, using experiments with digital pedagogy undertaken with college students in Singapore, will argue, however, that such is not the only affordance of the digital. It will show how digital representations involving user-centered mapping and visualization can tell complicated stories involving ambiguities and open-endedness. It will illustrate this issue in the context of student-centered pedagogy at two different scales — the first related to a fast-changing island-city in Southeast Asia, and the second, at a more macro-scale, related to an evolving geographical region involving multiple countries.

Maps, embodying an impulse for clarity, tend to fix the outlines of geographical entities, freezing them into a rigidity that may not do justice to their liminal qualities. Da Cunha and Mathur, for example, have drawn attention to diurnal change: how mangrove forests, which may be underwater at high tide but become “land” at low tide. Secular change, too, produces similar predicaments. Ram has pointed out that the practice of “carving up” knowledge over time into such discrete chunks contributes to making “minor” knowledge objects invisible when they do not conform to the epistemological assumptions driving such compartmentalization. Changing places, encode within themselves multiple potentialities and possibilities, including trajectories that have not been followed up or followed through but that nevertheless remain available as possible resources. This necessitates thinking critically about the representation of such changing places — not as fixed objects but as palimpsests of natural and cultural heritages or, even more radically, as dynamic spaces. The paper will dwell on the pedagogical challenges and lessons learned through having students work through these issues in the context of an ongoing DH-focused course on environments.

Disrupting the Discourse: The Role of Digital Humanities in Addressing Anthropogenic Climate Change
Sarah Goldfarb (Pratt Institute)

This work will not be presented during the virtual symposium.

Historically regarded as objective purveyors of information, museums, archives, and cultural heritage sites are burdened with the onuses of mirroring history and creating cultural narratives, while remaining firmly non-partisan. What has become an institutional norm is paradoxical in the sense that history is often shaped by human folly and dialectic; how can an inherently dynamic space, such as a cultural heritage site, be expected to gloss over the facts of human greed and ignorance? Rather than providing consolation, cultural institutions should challenge frameworks of power and hold us accountable in our support of them.

How can digital humanities intervene in the discourse of anthropogenic climate change?. Certain cultural institutions have adjusted their language to reflect the facts of anthropogenic intervention. In July of 2018, the American Museum of Natural History revealed its renovated Hall of Planet Earth. One of the themes explored is how climate change works, and the museum takes no precautions in implicating human behavior in the earth’s increasing temperature. The American Museum of Natural History sets an essential precedent. As many institutions remain monoliths, emblematic of a generation comfortably removed from the anxieties of climate change, the AMNH is at the forefront of communicating anthropogenic climate change in a simple but effective medium.

In this poster I will explore specific ways that institutions engaged in digital humanities–such as UNESCO, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Duke Digital Humanities Initiative–have intervened in the discourse of anthropogenic climate change, and examine both the progressions and constraints in their approaches. I will create a data visualization evaluating the effectiveness of each institution’s use of digital humanities in communicating anthropogenic climate change. Specifically, I will look at the specific language used by each organization and how directly human influence is conveyed.

Visualizing Poetic Meter in South Asian Languages
A. Sean Pue (Michigan State University), Ahmad Atta, and Rajiv Ranjan (Govt. Zamindar Post Graduate College, India)

The explication of poetic meter in the modern languages of South Asia is a source of consternation even for experienced poets. Poets competent in established meters have difficult articulating them, and less familiar readers or listeners have difficulty learning them. The trouble is that the traditional prosodic systems do not align well with the phonological features of modern South Asian languages. Modern scholars have offered alternative ways to think of meter. We augment that work by presenting an interactive web-based software package under development to visualize poetic meter using directed graphs that accommodate multiple languages and scripts to make accessible poetic knowledge for readers, scholars, and poets.

Echoes of Handicraft: The Use of Digital Technologies in Preserving and Representing Textiles from East Asian Ethnic Minority Groups
Xiaolin Sun and Catherine Nichols (Loyola University Chicago)

East Asian Textiles is a digital archive, which presents eighty-four textiles from the May Weber Ethnographic Study Collection at Loyola University Chicago. Collected in the mid-to-late twentieth century by Dr. May Weber, these textiles are sourced from a range of ethnic minority groups in China and adjacent countries. This project makes two key contributions to the intersection of digital humanities and curatorial practice. First, it increases visual access to the Collection with particular attention to textile technique and design. Second, it foregrounds expert knowledge from contemporary Chinese scholars and textile practitioners, digitally documenting in-person knowledge exchange.

This project represents a successful collaboration between a minimally-resourced university teaching collection and a digital humanities center. The project reflects interdisciplinary negotiations – those rooted in contemporary anthropological curatorial prerogatives, aesthetic considerations, and technical limitations. Further, it responds to the Collection’s need for increased public access to professionally curated ethnographic collections.

The East Asian Textiles project consists of an interactive website, hosted by Loyola’s Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities. The website is programmed using HTML and Vue.js, while the database is built in MySQL (Python). Faceted searching allows users to narrow search criteria and browse high-resolution images of textiles in their entirety, along with images taken using a digital microscope camera. This project also offers 360° models of selected textiles and a map that offers a visualization of the project’s textiles’ geography distribution.

The poster will highlight the project webpage, sharing both the technical aspects of digital preservation and representation of cultural heritage objects, as well as fieldwork to connect historic textiles with contemporary textile makers and scholars in Guizhou, China during June and July 2019.

SiRO- A Platform for Studies in Radicalism Online
Manasi Mishra (Michigan State University)

Studies in Radicalism Online (SiRO) is a scholarly database, managed by the Michigan State University Libraries, providing access to a trove of important resources related to the study of radicalism. SiRO aggregates data around the world and without linguistic restriction, and does not attempt to espouse any specific political agenda, aggregating material from across a spectrum of political ideology as part of a broader concern to represent emancipatory movements alongside their reactionary counterparts. Thus it is an extremely diverse resource that includes collections on civil rights, independence movements, racial equality, gender equality, LGBTQ+ liberation, alongside reactionary movements that have sought to hinder progress toward equality. The history embedded in SiRO illuminates how both left and right wing movements have been promulgated, and resisted, across a range of social conditions. Though SiRO has included content from around the world since its inception, the proposed poster will highlight recent efforts to expand on collections from other parts of the globe, as well as those focused on indigenous peoples’ activism, placing these in conversation with materials highlighting social and ecological movements in the U.S. Literature, news, photographs, interviews and films all contribute to an invaluable resource to study the origins, methods and impacts of these movements. Digitization of these archives provides access to citizens, governments, researchers and reformers across the world, and an online platform like SiRO can help them connect and synergize efforts to promote equity and justice in the entire global activist eco-system.

There is a lack of awareness today, about the importance of digital archives focusing on extremism and radical movements (Holt, 2019). The proposed poster presentation will introduce SiRO to the GlobalDH community, and seek to gather recommendations for adding to and improving SiRO’s world-spanning collections, and efforts at community-building.

Humanities Commons: Making the Digital World Open, Communicative, and Personal
June Oh, Michigan State University

Humanities Commons is an open-source, nonprofit network developed and supported by scholarly societies for humanities instructors, researchers, and practitioners across the disciplines and around the world. This poster introduces Humanities Commons and its contribution to online scholarly communication. Analyzing a survey that candidly investigates the current state of digital scholarly communication, this poster presents what Humanities Commons can offer–both for your scholarly presence and for your research–amidst all the trepidations about the digital world. Find out about Humanities Commons that can help you share and develop your work that deserves real connection.

OCTRA: A Transcription tool for the Bavarian Archive for Speech Signals (BAS), supported by CLARIN, the European Research Infrastructure for Language Resources and Technology
Emmanuel Ngue Um (University of Ngaoundéré, Cameroon)

OCTRA is one of the tools of the Bavarian Archive for Speech Signals (BAS), a German CLARIN-D Center. It is a modern web application for orthographic transcription of Audio files. OCTRA operates in local and online modes; it runs in a web browser and does not require installation like common transcription programmes. The tool offers three transcription editors, auto-saving, support of various file formats for export and import, logging of the transcription process, inline-validation with transcription guidelines, shortcuts and cutting of audio files. The presentation includes a demo section which showcases the online transcription mode whereby, a file was recorded in Cameroon, temporary stored in Munich and may be transcribed from Michigan. Added to the intuitive GUI of its text editors, the secured and time-saving workflow of OCTRA makes it suitable for annotation tasks of audio recordings for lesser-endowed languages.

insert info about Humanities commons

On Seeing: Surveillance and the Digital Humanities [Panel]
Christina Boyles (Michigan State University), Andy Boyles Petersen (Michigan State University), Arun Jacob (University of Toronto), and Megan Wilson (University of Toronto)

This work will not be presented during the virtual symposium.

For critical digital humanists, surveillance is a site where issues surrounding race, gender, and sexuality intersect with our digital lives. Works such as Simone Browne’s Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness reveal a growing concern with surveillance, with groups such as SurvDH and the Digital Library Federation’s Technologies of Surveillance (ToS) working group providing outlets for digital humanists to explore these topics in more depth.

Digital humanists are searching for a clear articulation of our field’s engagement with surveillance theory/studies. This panel brings together the founders of SurvDH to develop a praxis of (counter)surveillance in the digital humanities. In particular, we will discuss: rising applications of surveillance technologies in digital scholarship, including algorithmic design, EdTech, and facial recognition software; resisting techno-solutionism in both project development and theorization; operationalizing surveillance studies methodologies in DH research; and our civic and ethical responsibility as digital humanists.

Presentation #1

The Data of Disaster: Understanding Climatizing Surveillance in Post-Maria Puerto Rico

Nearly two years have passed since Hurricane María made landfall in Puerto Rico, yet its effects are still reeling through the islands. Rather than assisting with recovery, government agencies are engaging in what I term climatizing surveillance—mechanisms developed to both disempower Puerto Ricans and to ensure valuable resources remain in the hands of the wealthy elite. At its core, this enterprise seeks the erasure of marginalized peoples and their claims to commonly held lands and resources.

This presentation will discuss how digital humanities can be operationalized to intervene in these practices, using the María Memory Bank as an example. The María Memory Bank is a digital open access repository of oral history interviews with individuals who can provide first-hand accounts of and reflections on Hurricane María and its aftermath. Many organizations, including the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, acknowledge the loss of cultural heritage post-María, but their focus is largely on physical infrastructure. The María Memory Bank expands on these initiatives by highlighting the value of intangible cultural heritage artifacts. Documenting these experiences and efforts is empowering to Puerto Rico, as it demonstrates that Puerto Ricans provided for themselves. Recording these experiences is imperative to developing future emergency protocols that are based on local knowledge and community action. Developing this repository amplifies voices that advocate for Puerto Rico and creates an interdisciplinary database for a larger audience. Moreover, The María Memory Bank provides a model for digital humanists seeking to develop digital projects that interrogate surveillance culture. We can use this project, and others like it, to map sousveillance strategies and to advocate for justice.

Presentation #2

Geofencing Gringolandia: Interrogating How Surveillance Technologies Normalize Crimmigration and Squelch Mobilities Justice

This presentation will discuss how geofences are virtual perimeters established around target locations to transform locative media information into saleable alternative data. The paper will be speaking about how geofencing is likely to reproduce existing societal discrepancies via data-driven discriminatory techniques reconfiguring state power in new immaterial forms. Mapping and GIS technology are power-laden forms of knowledge production that help to (re)create as much of the world as they represent through technoscientific, modernist and colonial discourses. Maps both enable and suppress knowledge through the intentional and unintentional elements of the ideological practice of cartography. Within DH discourse, the role of technology is privileged as the presumed difference-maker within an implicit and narrow conception of politics that is inherently incorporative. By looking at critical GIS literature which interrogates the social roots, histories, and implications of GIS technology, the issues connected to non-human agency in technological systems, the politics of the GIScience label, and the ‘asymmetries’ involved in using GIS for social research all become quite evident.

This paper posits that digital humanities ought to function as scholarly, community, and activist engagement that enables open and critical discussion as a way to revitalize democracy, that is, a digital conscientization. Paulo Freire defines conscientization as the process of becoming aware of the sources of one’s oppression, the values of the oppressor that one has internalized, and critically reflecting on one’s reality in order to actively engage in being a change agent (Freire 1970). In the Frierian tradition of conscientization, the presentation will be looking at two popular digital mapping software, ArcGIS and What3Words pairing it with critical cartography and mobilities justice.

Presentation #3

Incorporating Surveillance Pedagogy Into Critical Digital Humanities Curricula

Surveillance culture pervades our modern lives, and as Cathy O’Neil observes, algorithmic “systems are engineered to gobble up more data and fine-tune their analytics so that more money will pour in” (2016). Our universities, however, should not sacrifice privacy rights and self-autonomy to maintain the status quo. Instead, we must provide students with the tools to write their own identities apart from the influence of corporations. This presentation argues the need for incorporating surveillance themes into diverse digital humanities curricula, outlining its necessity and offering an example lesson plan centered on privacy policies.

Recently, I led an activity on this topic. I began by asking students “Do you read privacy policies?” and “Why do privacy policies matter?” to determine their engagement with corporate terms of service. Following this brief discussion, students were asked to develop a perfect privacy policy in small groups. To spark ideas and conversation, they received copies of current corporate privacy policies. Ranging from Spotify to Lime to Tinder, these policies were drawn from companies students trust and rely upon. Students then presented to the class, describing elements of their policy and how their creation differed from corporate offerings. The class selected the ‘best’ of the privacy policies presented and wrote reflections on this experience.

This lesson demonstrates how surveillance pedagogies can be incorporated into a variety of classes, intervening with the invisible networks underlying our digital lives. Attendees will walk away with strategies for implementing surveillance education in their own curriculum as well as a broader understanding of the surveillance structures at play in the university.

Presentation #4

Social Media and the Self-Surveillance State

My aim in this panel is to examine Foucault’s self-surveillance—the subconscious monitoring of our selves, appearances, and social interactions—in the context of digital identity. Methods of identity development are becoming increasingly digital, and as such, Donna Haraway’s (1991) cyborg identity has become synonymous with the increasingly blurred divisions between real and online selves. In this case study, I consider Haraway’s extended metaphor along with Baudrillard’s (1994) postmodern concept of “the simulacrum,” to foreground the belief that subjectivities are being both constituted and co-opted through these new identity practices.

Indeed, social media’s quantifying metrics have aggravated the self surveillance state, causing a shift in our identities; the online “self” is little more than a series of discrete objects for counting and ranking. In seeking to examine this “online’ self, there is a feedback loop being perpetuated: we assign meaning not to our actualized “selves” but instead to the most popular network, the one with more data stored and sold. This system of self-surveillance, then, is not only leading to issues of self-discipline and self-conformity, but ethical concerns over what it really means to remain “relevant”.

In this discussion, I intend to illustrate how identity development on social media creates a self-sustaining simulacrum, with the goal of further normalizing self-surveillance practices, as well as the implications that these practices have on our identities, both online and IRL.

Mobilizing Digital Humanities for Social Justice: A Rapid Response Research Workshop [Workshop]
Roopika Risam (Salem State University) and Alex Gil (Columbia University)

In 2018, the Torn Apart/Separados team responded to Trump’s family separation immigration policy by pooling our skills to create a DH project in 6 days, shedding light on carceral infrastructures detaining immigrants. From this, we extrapolated a model for “rapid response research” (RRR): public DH projects mobilizing scholars around the world to respond to political, social, and environmental crises.

This workshop engages participants in RRR to share our model and equip them with skills to undertake RRR. We build on experience facilitating hour-long RRR sessions at the Association for Computers and Humanities conference, Stony Brook University, and Trondheim University, where participants collected and visualized metadata from news stories on protests in Puerto Rico and collected and mapped Confederate monuments in New York and Sami cultural heritage in Trondheim, Norway. We will select a timely topic and prepare model datasets in advance so participants can focus on experiencing the research and development process.

The objective is to immerse participants in the experience of RRR and equip them with skills to lead such social justice DH interventions. Participants will learn the collaborative processes behind RRR, how to assemble a team, how to manage data curation, and how to prototype.

10 minutes – introducing RRR
5 minutes – introducing topic responding to a current issue and model dataset to which participants will add
5 minutes – organizing participants into research and technical teams
55 minutes – research and development; one workshop leader will facilitate the research team and one will facilitate the technical team
15 minutes – wrap-up and reflection

This workshop is suitable for participants with a range of skillsets – from research to coding. Beginners in DH will gain confidence and a method they can deploy with off-the-shelf tools. Seasoned practitioners will experience how their skills can be combined for powerful effect for social justice.

Sites of Memory: Reflecting on the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda [Film Screening and Discussion]
Erik Ponder (Michigan State University)

This work will be shared as a presentation during the virtual symposium rather than as a film screening and discussion.

The Sites of Memory (30 min.) 360-degree documentary film explores the 1994 Rwanda genocide against the Tutsi by providing its viewers a virtual tour of seven prominent memorial sites. The 360-degree immersive visualization experience allow the viewer to experience these heritage sites in ways never before. The film produced and developed by MSU Libraries provide and excellent example of the utilization of new digital technology to inform, engage, and educate viewers on topics and subject areas germane to their research. The 360-degree documentary film has been used in a range of courses this academic year from Journalism and History to Peace and Justice. I propose a screening or a set of screenings of the film followed by a discussion session. The proposed film presentation and discussion session will be a total of 60 minutes. The proposed presentation does not adhere to the required conference format however, the 360-degree immersive visualization room and film will provide conference attendees with a unique digital experience.

The Evolution of the Enslaved Project
Kylene Cave and Duncan Tarr (Michigan State University)

The Enslaved project is concerned with collecting, curating, and making accessible data related to African slavery and the historic slave trade. Historians and genealogists are in the process of providing their data to so that students, researchers, and the general public can search across a multitude of diverse datasets in order to reconstruct the lives of individuals who were part of the historic slave trade. The project makes use of recent developments in data management, applications, and publication and leverages Linked Open Data (LOD) techniques, including the use of Wikibase and a graph database, to create a centralized hub that is capable of sophisticated searches, statistical analysis, and visualizations. is currently undergoing expansion to include its own digital journal (Enslaved Publishing Platform) and an edited collection (Encoding Slavery, Databases, and Digital Histories). The central goal of these initiatives is to elevate curated data to a first-class publication status and provide scholarly review, recognition, and credit to those who undertake the intellectual work involved in generating and describing digital records related to bondage and freedom in Africa and its Diaspora. In so doing, the various components of the Enslaved project work together to connect projects and their creators, ingest data, and provide a space for preservation by identifying and publishing datasets that are potentially at risk for going offline. Our presentation sheds further light on Enslaved by discussing the collaborative strategies, digital techniques, and ethical decisions used in the development of the project to maintain data integrity and make the overall project successful. We will also discuss the data model that we developed that facilitates the intake of contributor data into our installation of Wikibase and explain the process for launching the journal and developing an editorial structure for sharing datasets.

From Archive to Big Data: Workflows of the China Bibliographic Database
Edith Enright (Harvard University)

This work will not be presented during the virtual symposium.

The China Biographical Database is a freely accessible relational database with biographical information about approximately 427,000 individuals (as of April 2019), primarily from 7th- through 19th-century China. Our data is intended to be useful for statistical, social network, and spatial analysis, as well as providing a biographical reference on individual haistorical figures.

CBDB employs computational techniques to encode data from digital texts in Chinese, checks the output for accuracy with our editorial group in Beijing, integrates the coded data into our database at a US university, and shares our data with the scholarly public through a downloadable database in Chinese and English and an online query platform developed in Taiwan. Our use of proven computational techniques makes it possible to acquire data at a rate that would be impossible with manual techniques.

This presentation would provide a basic behind-the-scenes introduction to CBDB’s present methods of data extraction, disambiguation & proofreading in the process of preparing data for publication. Brief examples would be drawn from our recent work extracting relational data and disambiguating literary-historical figures from the “Quan song shi” (Complete Song Dynasty Poems), the pending expansion of our database to include bibliographic data on premodern Chinese texts, and the recent construction of a new web interface combining automatic and manual data-tagging capabilities in order to enable a team of scholars to collaboratively process the records of Chinese local gazetteers.

As a long-standing international DH endeavor with 13 years of work in the large-scale extraction of biographical and relational data from premodern texts, CBDB’s methods and projects are likely to be of interest to other scholars working to mine biographical information from texts, build reference tools from archival materials, apply data-driven methods to the study of premodern histories, and/or build transnational partnerships in the digital humanities.

When Managing a digital archive becomes a be-or-not-to-be issue
Emmanuel Ngue Um (University of Ngaoundéré, Cameroon)

Managing a digital language archive in Sub-Saharan Africa may raise unexpected challenges. One of such challenges could be the lack of a shared vision from different institutional stakeholders about the relevance of running and keeping a digital infrastructure at all. When coupled with other structural difficulties like lack of permanent power supply and insufficient funding allocation, then one could end up facing with the dilema whether Digital Humanities in general, and digital archives in particular are pragmatically worthwile, in a socio-political environment which do not yet seem to be ready for such moves.

This paper deals with a life experience of a digital archivist at a regional language archive in Sub-Saharan Africa. The archive was granted within the framework of a EU-funded project. While it had been anticipated that the biggest challenge in maintaining this archive would be to keep up with the fast changing trend in digital technology, the reality has shown that, the survival of this infrastructure is dependent on political and psychological factors more than on technological and economical factors stricto sensu. I will argue that, Digital Humanities belongs in a structural paradigm which is not congruent with the neocolonialist model of scholarship that still pervades in the academia in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in French speaking countries. I will suggest that, alongside with efforts which aim to root DH in academic practices in Sub-Saharan Africa, a global-south debate is needed to reflect on the relation of DH to the scholarship establishment. I intend to demonstrate that the pursue of sheer knowledge through DH is at odds, in at least parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, with bigoted neocolonial idiologies.

Collaborative Pedagogy: Foreign Language and Literature Courses, Data Science, and Global Digital Humanities
Katherine Walden (Grinnell College), Jarren Santos (Grinnell College), Celeste Sharpe (Colgate College), Palmar Alvarez-Blanco (Carleton College), Sarah Calhoun (Carleton College), and Mirzam Pérez (Grinnell College)

Multiple iterations of Around DH in 80 Days have emphasized the global scope of DH work. Conversations within the DH community are actively considering how postcolonial and transnational approaches to DH work can impact scholarly research endeavors. Examples include “A Research Agenda for Historical and Multilingual Optical Character Recognition” and DARIAH beyond Europe’s ongoing work.

However, most of these conversations foreground research activities and rarely center the undergraduate classroom as an active site for promoting postcolonial, global DH pedagogy. The most-recent gathering of the New England MLA included a roundtable on Digital Humanities in Foreign Languages & Literatures Courses. The CFP for that roundtable noted “Despite the proliferation of literature dedicated to the interdisciplinary nature of DH, the resources available to explore their inclusion and applications in FLL classroom are still scattered.” As Roopika Risam outlines in New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy, postcolonial DH pedagogy can take place in the undergraduate classroom.

This panel explores how foreign language and literature faculty, informed by movements like postcolonial DH, #transformDH, and GO::DH, have been deploying DH pedagogy and projects in the undergraduate language classroom. The panel includes foreign language faculty, digital humanists, and data scientists. Their collaborations have involved:

  • Building data scraping tools for non-English textual data
  • Identifying existing entry-level text analysis tools that can be used to analyze non-English texts
  • Developing scaffolded curriculum materials to introduce students to text analysis
  • Supporting undergraduate students as they design and undertake their own Spanish-language text analysis projects
  • Working with students to design data structures and code Spanish-language data
  • Challenging students to think critically about the computation analysis of foreign-language textual data
  • Using geospatial DH approaches to enrich student engagement with foreign-language texts

Additionally, presenters highlight how DH practitioners, teachers, and scholars can benefit from actively collaborating with the data science community. The perspectives represented on the panel reflect the necessity of collaboration to identify, develop, and build the infrastructure and resources to effectively implement DH pedagogy in the foreign language and literature classroom.

Students as Knowledge Producers: Understanding Arab-Americans in central Ohio through Oral History Narratives
Hanada Al-Masri, Cheryl Johnson, Olivia Reynolds and Alexis Grimm (Denison University)

This panel presents a model that enhances students’ social engagement outside the classroom context and equips them with the linguistic, inter-cultural, and digital skills needed to produce knowledge thoughtfully. Faculty, staff and students in this panel will share their roles and experiences in creating a digital oral history archive of video interviews with the Arab American community in central Ohio, a grant-funded project that examines issues of migration, identity-formation and preservation of cultural heritage in the western context. Highlights of the pedagogical & technological values, students’ experiences and the challenges associated with this project will be shared with the audience.

Hanada Al-Masri is the project director and the professor leading a team of students from different disciplines to create the digital archive. She will share her perspective and explain the logistical background and pedagogical aspects of the project. Logistically, she will explain how the project started, how consent forms were created, what procedures were followed, how students and community members were identified, and how was the information collected and processed? Pedagogically, she will demonstrate how students’ communicative, inter-cultural and digital competencies were developed.

Cheryl Johnson is the instructional technologist for the Department of Modern Languages. She will explain how she helps to train students in the art of the interview as well as the technologies that this project requires. She will discuss using a YouTube Channel to house the video interviews, Omeka to catalogue the interviews and the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) to provide a word-level search capability and a time-correlated transcript and/or index connecting the textual search term to the corresponding moment in the online interview.

Olivia Reynolds is one of the students responsible for interviewing, transcribing and translating the interviews. She will share how this project contributed to enhancing her previous knowledge of the MENA region, enabled her to better understand the Arab American experiences, and enhanced her sense of social justice, as related to discrimination towards Muslims after 9/11. In addition, she will discuss some challenging aspects she faced as a student who never participated in a filmed interview and who had to put her speaking and writing skills in Arabic to use in real-life situations.

Alexis Grimm is another student and team member who was responsible for interviewing and transcribing the collected interviews. Both of these responsibilities had their own challenges and benefits for her: while conducting the interviews required significant preparation beforehand, interviewing allowed her to practice her Arabic skills and to learn about the experiences of the interviewees. In addition, she will discuss how learning from the experiences of Arab-Americans paves the way towards a cultural, social and political understanding of a commonly misunderstood community within the United States today.