DH Event on campus Speaker Series

Report on “Digital Humanities, Data Analysis and Its Possibilities”

As part of the DH Speaker Series, I attended the talk by University of Richmond Assistant Professors Lauren Tilton and Taylor Arnold in which they discussed data analysis and how they have used it in different ways in their digital humanities research. Lauren and Taylor’s presentation of the critical role of statistics and data analysis in DH was really interesting. They pointed out that statisticians often just throw out data without analyzing the information critically and presenting their findings in an interesting manner to a larger audience. They posed the question: how do we communicate our results to a PUBLIC audience? I think that their project, titled Photogrammar, is an awesome website that effectively communicates statistical analysis in a really cool way.

Taylor and Lauren were interested in analyzing the Library of Congress’ archive of photography from the FSA era. The photographers hired by the FSA were tasked with documenting poverty, largely in the American South, during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Taylor and Lauren worked closely with the Library of Congress staff in order to turn their photographic collection into a user-friendly database. They computed the data and began to analyze the statistics. Lauren said their analysis caused a “fundamental change in our understanding of this collection” and opened up a whole news series of questions. For example, the data analysis showed that the number of FSA photos from the war era and the number from the New Deal era are actually quite similar. Many people associate the FSA photographers with the Great Depression and the New Deal, and may not even know that the FSA continued their photographic endeavor into World War II.

The database is super user-friendly and much easier to find what you are really looking for than the search engine on the Library of Congress webpage for the collection. On Photogrammar, you can find images based on the county they were photographed or even find images based on color palette. In the most recent segment of the project, Taylor and Lauren used a computer software to identify faces and certain images in a photograph, looking for repetition or patterns, in order to rebuild entire photo strips from a specific photographer’s camera. This feature is amazing because it allows the user to track the photographer’s line of vision, tying the visual images and story of their production together.

I became really interested in photography after taking a History of Photography course during my sophomore year winter term. Taylor and Lauren’s discussion of their project was so helpful because it showed me how data analysis (a term that somewhat intimidates me) can help people better understand and engage with a topic in the humanities. Photogrammar answers so many research questions, just through the different features of its interactive map of the U.S. It lets me see the main regions that Walker Evans photographed in or the counties that were photographed the most during the Dust Bowl. As Lauren and Taylor stated in their talk, photographs can tell us a lot about the culture and background of an era. Their project provides a simpler yet more interesting way of understanding these photographs and the culture that surrounded them.

-Hayley Soutter, DH Undergraduate Fellow

This program is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


DH Event on campus Speaker Series

DH Event: Digital Humanities, Data Analysis and Its Possibilities

Visiting us from University of Richmond, Assistant Professors Lauren Tilton and Taylor Arnold will give a talk on exploratory data analysis methods, which have received limited visibility in DH. In this talk, they will give an overview of the historical developments of exploratory data analysis and statistical computing. They will show, through examples from their work on visual culture, how both have the potential to shape digital humanities projects and pedagogy.

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
IQ Center (Science Addition 202A)
Please register

Lauren Tilton is Visiting Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Richmond and member of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab. Her current book project focuses on participatory media in the 1960s and 1970s. She is the Co-PI of the project Participatory Media, which interactively engages with and presents participatory community media from the 1960s and 1970s. She is also a director of Photogrammar, a web-based platform for organizing, searching and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI). She is the co-author of Humanities Data in R (Springer, 2015). She is co-chair of the American Studies Association’s Digital Humanities Caucus.

Taylor Arnold is Assistant Professor of Statistics at the University of Richmond. A recipient of grants from the NEH and ACLS, Arnold’s research focuses on computational statistics, text analysis, image processing, and applications within the humanities. His first book Humanities Data in R, co-authored with Lauren Tilton, explores four core analytical areas applicable to data analysis in the humanities: networks, text, geospatial data, and images. His second book, the forthcoming A Computational Approach to Statistical Learning (CRC Press 2018), explores connections between modern machine learning techniques with connections in statistical estimation. Numerous journal articles extrapolate on these ideas in the context of particular applications. Arnold has also released several open-source libraries in R, Python, Javascript and C. Visiting appointments have included Invited Professor at Université Paris Diderot and Senior Scientist at AT&T Labs.

Announcement DH Event on campus Pedagogy Speaker Series

Day of DH @ Winter Academy 2016

As the term wraps up, join us on Tuesday, December 13th for our “Day of DH” at W&L’s annual Winter Academy. You’ll have the chance to hear from both your colleagues and guests from the University of Virginia about digital projects and pedagogy. There will be lots to chew on, including lunch, so don’t forget to register!

10:30am-11:30am Mellon Summer Digital Humanities Research Grant
Come hear the inaugural awardees of the Mellon DH Summer Research Grants discuss the application process and their research. You will also learn about the benefits of the Mellon Summer DH Research Grant, as well as how to go about becoming a Mellon researcher. With the application deadline less than two months away, this is the perfect time to begin considering summer funding options for you and your students.
12:15pm-1:45pm Digital Humanities in a Liberal Arts Context

With support from ACS and the Mellon Foundation, W&L professors have invited UVA graduate students to facilitate workshops on digital humanities topics in their courses. On Tuesday, December 13, speakers from UVA will discuss digital humanities, pedagogy, and the collaboration. UVA graduate students, faculty, and staff will discuss their experiences working with W&L courses and also present on a variety of topics related to their research and experience teaching with digital humanities. We will have ample time for conversation, as we hope the event will seed future collaborations between people at both institutions. Lunch will be provided.
Speakers from the Scholars’ Lab at UVA include Jeremy Boggs, Nora Benedict, and Shane Lin.
Event on campus Speaker Series

Suzanne Churchill to speak October 17

Monday, October 17, 2016
Science Addition 201
Lunch provided. Please register. 

Avant-Garde Feminism and Digital Humanities

Suzanne Churchill has published books and articles on modern periodicals, poetry, and pedagogy, including The Little Magazine ‘Others’ and the Renovation of Modern American Poetry (Ashgate 2006) and Little Magazines and Modernism: new approaches, co-edited with Adam McKible (Ashgate 2007). Several recent articles are products of collaborations with students at Davidson College, who also contribute to the ongoing expansion of the website, Index of Modernist Magazines.

Her current scholarly projects include co-editing a special Harlem Renaissance edition of Modernism/Modernity; collaborating with students on a study of racial silencing in the little magazine Contempo; and investigating Mina Loy’s migration from Italian Futurism to New York Dada.
Event on campus Speaker Series

Video Now Available for “Civil War History and Digital Humanities” with Dr. Ed Ayers

Civil War History and Digital Humanities with Dr. Edward Ayers from Washington and Lee News on Vimeo.

DH Event on campus Speaker Series

Ed Ayers to speak September 22

Ed Ayers portrait
September 22, 2016
Lee Chapel
Open to all, no tickets required.

We are thrilled to welcome Ed Ayers to campus as a distinguished guest in our Speaker Series.

The title of Ayers’ talk, which is free and open to the public, is “The Puzzle of the American Civil War and Reconstruction.”

Ayers has written and edited 11 books including “The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction,” which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. “In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863” won the Bancroft Prize for distinguished writing in American history. A pioneer in digital history, Ayers’ website, “The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War,” has attracted millions of users and has won major prizes in teaching of history. He serves as co-editor of the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States at the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab and is a co-host of BackStory with the American History Guys, a nationally syndicated radio show and podcast.

This program is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

DH Event on campus Speaker Series

Geolocation: Tributes to the Data Stream

Artists’ talk and reception:
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Wilson Hall/Concert Hall and Lykes Atrium

The exhibit runs September 1-24, 2016 in Staniar Gallery.

We are partnering with the Staniar Gallery to present this collaborative project by photographers Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman who use publicly available GPS coordinates from Twitter messages to find and photograph the location where the Tweet originated. The pictures are then presented with the text that inspired them to create poetic pairings, which range from sorrowful to humorous, confessional to cheeky. The project has garnered much attention for its exploration of contemporary cultural dichotomies such as public/private, real/virtual, analog/digital. Geolocation has been widely exhibited and featured in such publications as Wired Magazine, The New York Times Lens Blog, VICE Magazine, Discover Magazine, The Washinton Post and Utne Reader. Larson and Shindelman will be visiting Journalism and DH courses during their visit.

This program is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with the Staniar Gallery.

Event on campus Incentive Grants Speaker Series

Day of DH @ Fall Academy 2016

With the fall semester looming, the W&L campus is abuzz with preparations, including the annual Fall Academy. Two weeks of workshops on technology and pedagogy help faculty and staff get up to speed for the new academic year. We have chosen August 31st as our “Day of DH” – a chance to hear from our colleagues and guests about their DH course projects and methods. Don’t forget to register!

10-10:15am The Mellon Grant and You!
Come hear about the $800,000 Mellon Digital Humanities Grant and learn about new ways to fund your innovative teaching ideas, conference travel, research and undergraduate research assistants, as well as graduate student teaching support from UVa.
10:30-11:30am Incentive Grant Winners Panel
Owen Collins, Holly Pickett, Laura Brodie, and Claudette Artwick will discuss the nature of their projects, how the projects were structured, and what the outcomes were.
11:45am-1:30pm Writing: A Digital Humanity
The history of writing is intertwined with the history of it as technology, and its history as a humanity is intertwined with that of rhetoric and literature. Patricia Suzanne Sullivan and James P. Ascher offer a range of a easily adoptable assignments and activities to prompt experimentation, exploration, and reflection on writing as a technology in first-year (and other) writing courses.
Event on campus Speaker Series

Diane Jakacki to speak March 29

Time for a another Speaker Series event!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Hillel 101
Lunch provided. Please register.

Diane Jakacki

There Is No Spoon: Overcoming the Digital Pedagogy Imposter Syndrome

As Digital Humanities finds strong roots across the curriculum, even instructors who have used sophisticated DH methods in their research worry about how to successfully incorporate DH assignments into course design. How do we experiment with new methods in our classrooms? How do we balance subject learning goals with those related to digital literacy? How do we evaluate and assess new types of assignments in line with those that seem more traditional? How do we maintain our confidence in the classroom when we’re not necessarily feeling so confident? How do we use DH tools and methods to find new ways to engage with our students without making ourselves crazy?

Diane Jakacki
Diane Jakacki is Digital Scholarship Coordinator and Affiliated Teaching Faculty in the Comparative Humanities program at Bucknell University, where she explores and institutes ways in which Digital Humanities tools and methodologies can be leveraged in a small liberal arts environment. Her research specialties include digital humanities – particularly spatial analysis through text, early modern British literature and drama, and the ways in which pedagogy can be transformed by means of digital interventions. She is an assistant director of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, Program Chair for the DH 2017 international conference, Technical Editor for the Internet Shakespeare Editions, a member of the Executive Board of the Records of Early English Drama and the pedagogical advisory board for Map of Early Modern London project. She has published widely on digital humanities pedagogy as well as on the intersection of DH and early modern studies.

This program is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

DH Event on campus Speaker Series

Day of DH @ Winter Academy 2015 featuring Amanda French

It’s that time again! This year’s Day of DH will be December 16, 2015. Don’t forget to register. All events will be held in Hillel 101.

9:15-10:15am How Did They Do That?: Team Teaching and Telling Stories

Journalism Professor Toni Locy and Librarian Jeff Barry will discuss their approach in teaching a course on multimedia storytelling design that attracted journalism, politics, history, English and mass communications majors who wanted to learn how to use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to tell compelling, interactive stories that are on the cutting edge of news and communications today. Students utilized basic web design and programming skills to envision and execute online narratives through the interplay of words, images, sound and video that they gathered in reporting the story of W&L’s decision to move juniors back on campus.
11am-12pm DH Medley: Entry-Level Digital Pedagogy Panel
Were you inspired by Quinn Warnick’s charge to try “one new thing” during Fall Academy? A panel of three faculty members will share their experiences adding a taste of DH to their courses. Mikki Brock, Assistant Professor of History, will discuss her use of TimelineJS to inform a traditional writing assignment. Caleb Dance, Assistant Professor of Classics, will discuss the annotation tool “nb” and its success in his Latin prose class. Stephanie Stillo, Mellon Junior Faculty Fellow, will discuss her incorporation of a UVa graduate student to introduce DH to a first-year seminar.
12:15-1:45pm Annotating and Writing about Online Text, Images, Audio, and Video: Introduction to and Scalar led by Amanda French
This workshop will be led by Amanda French, Director of Digital Research Services at Virginia Tech University Libraries.
The web is full of content that scholars would like to comment on, write about, and incorporate into multimedia-rich online essays. Rather than trying to describe what happens in a particular video with words only in a print-only essay, wouldn’t it be better to incorporate comments into an existing film clip, then embed that film clip into a longer essay where it can be compared to other clips, audio snippets, images, and even scholarly articles? Hypothesis is a free annotation tool that lets you highlight and comment on any web page: your annotations and highlights can be private to just yourself, shared to a select group, or entirely public. Scalar is a free multimedia authoring tool that allows you easily to create media-rich online books that can themselves have annotations enabled by default. Both tools have been created by and for humanities scholars who are particularly interested in challenging subordination, hierarchy, and linearity on the web by enabling interpretive commentary on existing web content. This workshop will show some examples of and Scalar uses in teaching and research, will define terms and demonstrate key features of both tools, and will give you hands-on in-class exercises that will let you practice working with both tools to create useful and interesting digital scholarship.

Before the workshop, if you can, please create an account for at and install the bookmarklet in your browser of choice, then create an create an account for Scalar at Please do bring a laptop (NOT a tablet).