Announcement DH Event on campus People Speaker Series Summer Research

DH Speaker Series: Jaime Roots and Joey Dickinson

Join us on Wednesday, February 24th, 2021 at 12:30pm to hear from one of the newer members of our community – Prof. Jaime Roots and Joey Dickinson ’22. Prof. Roots is a member of the German Department and spent last summer with Joey Dickinson in the Summer Research Scholars program gathering and visualizing data on gender in German fan fiction. We’ve been talking a lot about data in the humanities this year, and this presentation will be a great example of the ways humanities scholars can use data analysis methods in their work.

Register for the talk at

Not able to make the talk? Sign up for the Chesapeake Digital Humanities Conference and catch Jaime’s presentation on February 25th, 2021!


Coding for Trends: Author and Commenter Posting Trends in an Online Community 

With the advent of the Internet, new means of communication and connectivity have developed. Like never before, individuals are able to join communities of like-minded individuals where they can connect and share their stories and experiences. Here I specifically explore the “Grimms’ Fairy Tales” fan fiction community on Yet despite the many positive advantages presented by advances in technology such as the benefits of forming online communities with likeminded members, sharing stories and experiences quickly and easily with others around the world, the Internet likewise enables (and can often encourage) verbal attacks and discrimination.  

In a world of Internet misogyny where users identifying as men are most often attacked based on their ideas, and those identifying as women based on their personhood or appearance, the “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” fandom on remains a place where women can outwardly express their ideas with few misogynistic attacks. In order to investigate this online community as a relatively safe space for women to express their ideas on topics such as the consent of male advances, I have created multiple data sets and applied data analysis to more objectively interpret trends within the online community. Through this work I have been able to analyze gender distribution among both writers and commenters in the online forum, the distribution of authors and the types of stories they posted online, the correlation between the types of comments posted and gender, as well as the distribution of feminist themes within stories posted online.

Announcement Event on campus

Winter Academy: Data Modeling in the Humanities

Ever thought “I need a database” but not sure where or how to start? Are the spreadsheets you use to organize your research becoming unwieldy? Maybe you’re just having trouble imagining your work as data. This workshop is for humanities scholars who are data-curious. Using case studies from W&L faculty projects, we’ll share practical tips for formatting your data and connecting your material with existing data sets, as well as discuss the effects of your decisions on your data and the material you study. You’re encouraged to bring your own data set or data-friendly project to workshop during this session.

Thursday, November 19, 2020
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Register for this event and other Winter Academy sessions:

Announcement DH Event on campus Speaker Series

Niall Atkinson and Team to Visit in March

We are excited to share the news that Niall Atkinson, associate professor of art history at the University of Chicago, will be visiting next week accompanied by his DH team member Carmen Caswell, Digital Humanities Research Liaison.

Professor Atkinson will deliver the Pamela H. Simpson Lecture in Art History on March 11 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium.

In addition to the lecture, Atkinson and Caswell will visit classes and collaborate with members of the Florence As It Was team.

Learn more about their visit over at The Columns.

Announcement Event on campus Pedagogy

Digital Pedagogy Discussion Series – Winter Edition

We’re back with another round of Digital Pedagogy lunches!

Are you curious about digital pedagogy methods but aren’t sure where to start? Do you enjoy hearing from colleagues about what’s worked in their classes? Do you need to eat lunch? 

To guide our conversation, we’ll use Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments by the Modern Language Association. This resource is organized by keywords – each one is a pedagogical concept with annotated artifacts of curricular material. A faculty volunteer has selected a keyword of their choice and will be facilitating the discussion. Lunch is on us! 

Here’s the plan: grab your lunch from the designated lunch location (let them know you’re with the DH Cohort) and head down to DH Workspace (Leyburn 218). We’ll eat, chat, and hopefully come away with new ideas for your classroom.  It would be great if you could let Mackenzie Brooks, DH Librarian, know that you’re coming.

Keyword: Praxis
Facilitator: Mackenzie Brooks, Library
Tuesday, February 4th, 2020
Lunch location: Marketplace

Keyword: Annotation
Facilitator: Caleb Dance, Classics
Monday, February 17th, 2020
Lunch location: Marketplace

Keyword: Archive
Facilitator: Ashley Lazevnick, Art History
Friday, March 6th, 2020
Lunch location: Marketplace

Announcement Event on campus Pedagogy

Digital Pedagogy Discussion Series

Are you curious about digital pedagogy methods but aren’t sure where to start? Do you enjoy hearing from colleagues about what’s worked in their classes? Do you need to eat lunch? 

The Digital Humanities Faculty Cohort is hosting a new discussion series on digital pedagogy! 

To guide our conversation, we’ll use Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments by the Modern Language Association. This resource is organized by keywords – each one is a pedagogical concept with annotated artifacts of curricular material. A faculty volunteer has selected a keyword of their choice and will be facilitating the discussion. Lunch is on us! 

Here’s the plan: grab your lunch from the designated lunch location (let them know you’re with the DH Cohort) and head down to DH Workspace (Leyburn 218). We’ll eat, chat, and hopefully come away with new ideas for your classroom.  It would be great if you could let Mackenzie Brooks, DH Librarian, know that you’re coming.

Keyword: Mapping
Facilitator: Melissa Vise, History
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
Lunch location: Cafe 77

Keyword: Failure
Facilitator: Sydney Bufkin, Library
Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
Lunch location: Marketplace

Keyword: ?  Facilitator: you?  Let us know if you’d like to run a discussion in 2020!

DCI DH Event on campus Undergraduate Fellows

Capstone Presentations and DCI Celebrations

Join us on April 2nd for capstone presentations from the students in DCI 393. Over the course of the semester they have worked to develop their own projects, which also include digital tools that are integrated into and essential to presenting their work. Katherine Dau ’19 will be presenting her project titled “The Atlantic Current” and MaKayla Lorick ‘19 will be presenting about “The Black General.”

We will also be coming together to celebrate the (almost complete) first school year of the DCI minor! If you are a DCI minor, taking any DCI classes, or are interested in learning more about DCI and the types of projects completed through DCI classes, we would love to have you come join us. We will have snacks!

DCI 393 Presentations and DCI Minor Celebration
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019
Digital Humanities Workspace (Leyburn Library Level 2)

DH Event on campus

Recapping the Women and Technology Forum

The Rewriting the Code: Women and Technology initiative held a forum on March 1-2 at Washington and Lee University to bring together speakers from a variety of disciplines to talk about how their work intersects with technology. The six women spoke on everything from how technology can be used to tell stories to addressing the wage gap to the role technology has played in promoting social justice. Throughout the two days, many W&L students, faculty, and staff dropped in to hear from the speakers.

Chelsea Barabas delivers the keynote address at the Rewriting the Code: Women and Technology Forum
Photo Credit: Shelby Mack

The forum began with a keynote speech by Chelsea Barabas in the evening of March 1. Chelsea’s keynote, which was titled “Dodging Silver Bullets: Understanding the Role of Technology in Social Change,” covered some of the research she has done investigating algorithms purportedly created to help increase equality in the tech industry. She also discussed the pervasiveness of the idea that tech is meritocratic and therefore any disparity between the number of tech-focused workers of different genders or ethnicities is simply due to ability rather than bias. The keynote was well-attended by both W&L students and faculty and staff who stopped by Northen Auditorium to hear her speak. If you missed Chelsea’s keynote, you can watch the livestream or read more about her visit here.

Day two began with a welcome breakfast, allowing speakers, students, faculty, and staff to mingle together while enjoying a healthy breakfast. The day truly began a short while later, with the first panel titled “Technology and Social Justice.” The speakers on this panel included Chelsea Barabas, Sydney Boles, and Stephanie Stelter, and it was moderated by W&L accounting professor Megan Hess. The three speakers discussed topics including how their work fosters social change, the role of technology in creating that change, tech skills they feel would be useful for the audience to know, and ways that people can promote social justice even if their current job does not directly lead to social change.

The next panel, “Making History,” included Logan Jaffe, Stephanie Stillo, and Diana Williams. This one was moderated by W&L history professor Molly Michelmore and included conversations on how each speakers’ work engages with history, the current state of history in our culture today, and the ways technology can be used to connect people to history.

The two panels were followed by a networking lunch, during which students were able to sit and eat lunch with a speaker. This allowed smaller groups of students to have more intimate discussions with the speaker they were sitting with. Some W&L faculty and staff also joined in for the lunch, which helped to create discussions that covered a diverse range of topics.

After the lunch, attendees got to hear from all six speakers as they discussed “The Best Career Advice I’ve Ever Gotten.” The panel was moderated by Kellie Harra, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow in Digital Humanities at W&L. The speakers covered everything from the best career advice they had received (or wished they had received) to addressing the wage gap in the workplace to activities they do in their free time that help with relaxation to overcoming the intimidation of learning and using technology. The audience was especially involved during this panel, asking questions throughout.

The day finished off with a panel on “Technology and Storytelling” which involved Sydney Boles, Logan Jaffe, Stephanie Stelter, Stephanie Stillo, and Diana Williams, with W&L professor Toni Locy, from journalism and mass communications, as the moderator. During this panel, the speakers talked about who they consider their audience to be and how they make that decision, the process that leads to stories being told, and the hardest stories they’ve had to tell. Throughout these conversations, the use of technology was discussed in relation to the types of stories being told.

The forum came to a close on Sunday morning, March 3, with some of the speakers, plus a few students, faculty, and staff members attending a breakfast at Niko’s Grille in Lexington. This allowed for one final opportunity to review the discussions from the previous two days and learn more from the speakers about their life experiences.

Throughout the three days of the forum, students were actively involved in the conversations, frequently asking questions of the speakers. The synergy of the speakers also worked to create a fun yet serious atmosphere, where learning and reflection could take place. We are especially grateful for the willingness of the speakers to join us and for helping to make the forum an exceptional event.

Report on Rewriting the Code by Annie Echols ’21

Rewriting the Code is made possible by support from: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Class of 1963 Lecture Fund, University Lectures Fund, Digital Humanities Cohort, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Dean of the College, Dean of the Williams School, Department of History, Department of Computer Science, Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, and University Library.

– Kellie Harra ’18, Digital Humanities Post-Baccalaureate Fellow

DCI Event on campus

Report from Women and Technology “Coding 101” Workshop

[Enjoy this guest post by Jenna Marvet ’21, who attended the Winter Workshops held as part of the Rewriting the Code: Women and Technology initiative.]

On February 9, a group of young women from across W&L gathered in the IQ Center to learn together at the “Coding 101” workshop. Using a presentation based on the Netflix original series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Professors Mackenzie Brooks and Sydney Bufkin started with the basics, answering questions like “what is code?” and “how do I use Python?” After that, we were eager to get started coding for ourselves.

Beginning with the classic program printing “Hello, world!” many of the women wrote their first Python program on From there, we moved onto variables, arithmetic, and string methods. Then came our first challenge: write a Mad Libs program. The user would input four words: a verb, a noun, an adjective and a curse word. The program would insert those words into a customized story, and it was necessary that we use string methods to ensure the curse word was in all capital letters and the first letters in the sentences were capitalized. Proud of their work, many participants swapped laptops with their neighbors to show off their final product.

Following a delicious lunch, we moved onto loops and conditionals. We tried out for and while loops, as well as nesting conditionals. As a final challenge putting everything we had learned during the workshop together, we programmed a Potion-Curse-Incantation game with rules based off of Rock-Paper-Scissors. We were engrossed in our work, trying to figure out the most efficient and effective way to code the program.

As the workshop came to a close, we reflected on how much we had learned in such a short time. Many of the students had coded for the first time. The support from the other women, Professors Brooks and Bufkin, as well as visiting computer science students, gave us confidence to try.

– Jenna Marvet ’21

DH Event on campus Speaker Series

DH Speaker Series: Gabriel Dance

We are excited to welcome Gabriel Dance back to campus in a few weeks! You may remember Dance from his visit in 2015. This time, Dance will visit classes and give a talk on Monday, February 25th. Join us for his talk on two stories: The Follower Factory and Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret.

Monday, February 25, 2019
4:30 PM

Finding Fake Followers and Watching the Watchers: New Approaches to Investigative Journalism

Dance is a journalist and editor working at the cutting edge of news. Based in New York City, Dance is currently deputy investigations editor at The New York Times. Previously, he was a managing editor at The Marshall Project, a non-profit investigative journalism startup focusing on crime and punishment in the United States. He was also the interactive editor for The Guardian and worked on a team of journalists with whom he won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency. His work has also won two Emmy awards for New Approaches to News and Documentary, an Alfred L. DuPont award, a World Press Photo award, and several others.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Digital Humanities Cohort.

DH Event on campus Project Update Research Projects Speaker Series

Report on “Pray for Us: The Tombs of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella”

In her public talk on January 16, 2019, Dr. Anne Leader discussed her DH project Digital Sepoltuario, which will offer students, scholars and the general public an online resource for the study of commemorative culture and medieval and renaissance Florence. Supported by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) team at the University of Virginia, Digital Sepoltuario will chart the locations, designs and epitaphs of tombs made for Florentine families in sacred spaces across the city from about 1200 to about 1500, and then uses archival data to analyze social networks, patterns of patronage and markers of status in the late Middle Ages and Early Modern period.

While the project is not yet complete, it will include transcriptions, translations, photographs and analysis of fragile manuscripts, like registers that kept track of where different people were buried and records that indicate which tombs have been moved or destroyed. These documents demonstrate that tombs were frequently recycled from one family to another when lineages died out or when the family could no longer afford it. Because these records sometimes lost track of the owners of some tombs or the decorations faded away or disintegrated over time, there remains some uncertainty about some tombs’ owners that makes it impossible for historians to figure out now.

From these documents, scholars like Leader gain insight into why people chose certain tombs or churches as their final resting places. The tombstones are imbedded in the floors of churches in Florence, carpeting the churches with stone slabs that mark people’s final resting places and serving as reminders of everyone’s ultimate death. People would look down at the floor and contemplate what lay beneath the beautiful paintings and frescoes on the tombstones and within the churches, encouraging them to prepare for the final judgment and consider: am I ready for what’s to come?

By examining these records and incorporating them in a DH project, scholars can begin to answer questions about Florentines’ burial practices and ultimately about Florentines’ lives. Leader is interested in questions such as: How did Florentines decide on their final resting places, and how did they decide on the tombstones’ designs? So far, Leader noted that most people chose to be buried in their own parishes and close to their homes. However, she finds it interesting that increasing numbers of citizens requested burial elsewhere. This trend transformed the topography of Florence, causing tension within churches that relied on money from burying their dead and enriching some parishes while impoverishing others. Burial placement was one of the most important decisions Florentines would make, so considering why people wanted to be buried elsewhere and understanding the  implications these decisions had on social status help scholars today decipher how early modern Europeans thought about burial and death. Digital Sepoltuario will make all of this possible.

This event was sponsored by Washington and Lee University’s Art History Department, the Digital Humanities Cohort and the Digital Humanities Mellon Grant.

-Jenny Bagger ’19, DH Undergraduate Fellow