Providing resources and trai­ning in the practices and tools of the digital humanities

Poster Presentations

The Historic Urban Environments Lab at Notre Dame (HUE/ND) Cities in Text: Rome A Case Study in Digital Documentation
Selena Anders & Jennifer Parker,  University of Notre Dame

Cities in Text: Rome is an exercise in digital investigation and documentation of the Eternal City’s transformation over three centuries, facilitating the intersection between traditional library resources and the on-site built environment.

Exploring the complex and historic layers of Rome through the digitization and geolocation of guided tours of Rome dating from 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, this project reveals the changes and continuity of the city over time. Selected historic travel guides have been digitized, translated, illustrated, and mapped; freeing those resources from the inherent limitations of the physical library space. This data was then added to a website and mobile application created for this project. From the website one can program the related mobile application to take the historic documentation on site through curated walking tours. Through a combination of archival sources, present day field documentation, and digital mapping, the goal of this project is to provide a tool to explore the complex layers of a historic city, in this case study, the city of Rome, by means of a dynamic website and interactive application.

The Historic Urban Environments Lab at Notre Dame (HUE/ND) is an interdisciplinary team of architects, computer scientists, librarians, programmers, anthropologists and GIS specialists whose goal is to create new tools to study the built environment. Intended for usage within multiple built environments, the methodological approach to digital documentation developed by HUE/ND in the creation of Cities in Text: Rome will serve as the backbone for further studies that can be added to the same platform. These studies will effectively exist as extension modules of the overall framework template and will continue to provide refinement and focus to the working method as those modules are utilized. Three earlier HUE/ND projects, the Seaside Research Portal, SPQR-ND, and Building South Bend, served as models for the development of this concept and will be transformed using the Cities in Text template with its completion in the summer of 2016.

This information template will be capable of handling not only the HUE/ND datasets, but will be customizable by external stakeholders and scholars to accept and process their own individualized research. By offering this framework to other DH scholars who do not have unlimited access to programmers, HUE/ND will be providing the means to those scholars to realize further specialized study combining historic resources and geo-location.

Collaborative Spaces and Archival Sites: Translating the “Freedom Papers” from the Local to the Global
Kathleen Antonioli and Melinda Cro,  Kansas State University

 In 2014, Kansas State University Hale Library received 23 letters, correspondence to and from Charles de Gaulle (eventual President of France, at that time leader of the Free French forces) dating from 1941–1944. An unusual archive of official military correspondence from de Gaulle in French with the accompanying responses from various British military leaders, the “Freedom Papers” offer a fascinating look into the establishment of the Franco-Anglo alliance after the fall of Paris and de Gaulle’s efforts to build the Free French forces. In 2016, we decided to build a translation course around the collection, using the material as the basis for introducing advanced undergraduate and graduate students to the basics of French to English (L2 to L1) translation while simultaneously offering an introduction to the digital humanities. A common struggle presented in translation courses is the development of professional awareness and collaborative social competencies, intrinsic to success in the field post-graduation. In this paper, we explore ways that the implementation of a digital humanities project within the course helps to strengthen and clarify the need for collaboration both within the class and beyond, going from the local to the global.

Rather than offering a strictly demarcated approach wherein the digital humanities play a secondary role to the content of the course, we propose an integrated and interdisciplinary approach, utilizing various digital humanities tools to explore the notion of archival space and translating the local class experience into a global product accessible to all. In this presentation, we first describe the course broadly, then discuss the use of digital humanities tools (eComma, Trello, and Omeka) in this specific course and their contributions first to professional awareness of students, and then to their skills in collaboration. We are broadly interested in the ways that digital humanities work in general can increase student engagement and a student sense of responsibility and ownership over work created in the course. This course offers an especially meaningful example of student engagement with the digital humanities because of its link to a very real physical archive, offering students the opportunity to participate in a larger, public discourse about archives, history, scholarship, and the digital humanities. This project is about integrating digital work into the space of the classroom. Our paper will explore ways that we have shifted traditional, instructor-centered models of pedagogy to a student-centered and communicative approach, in which students participate in the creation of the parameters and guidelines for the digital humanities component of the class. Drawing on established models like the UCLA Student Collaborator’s Bill of Rights and the UVa Scholar’s Lab Charter, we encourage students to question models for contributing to, creating, and taking ownership over both the process and the product of this course.

Kathleen Antonioli is an Assistant Professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages at Kansas State University and the Assistant Editor for French of the open-access journal Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literature.

Melinda A. Cro (Ph.D. The University of Georgia, Romance Languages) is currently an associate professor of French and the French Language Program Coordinator at Kansas State University. Her research interests include early modern comparative literature (in particular the history of the novel, pastoral literature, and women writers) as well as pedagogy (language, culture, and literature). She has published in various peer-reviewed journals including Romance Notes and South Atlantic Review, has contributed a chapter on a volume regarding Female Identity in the Italian context, and has one monograph (Armas y Letras: la Conquista de Italia (1405-1625)) published by the Fundación Universitaria Española in 2012.

Mapping Feminine Felonies in Chicago, 1870-1920
Rachel Boyle, Loyola University Chicago

In seeking to understand how the struggle over the direction of modernity played out in American urban centers, historians traditionally focus on masculine working-class culture and political economy in conflict with municipal reformers and business interests. Men’s leisure in particular remains critical to established narratives of life in cities like Chicago, where men sought entertainment outside of work by spending money on alcohol, prize fights, and sex. Yet police and court records from the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century repeatedly place women on the streets and in the saloons and brothels of Chicago. Aggressively pursued by reformers and neglected by historians, women who drank, fought, and engaged in sexual labor made working-class subcultures visible and viable through their labor, leisure, and violent femininity. Using geographic information system (GIS) technology to map female homicides reveals a complex intimate economy in late nineteenth-century Chicago dominated by mixed gender activities like communal drinking, physical violence, and prostitution. It also elucidates the close spatial and economic proximity of women’s work, leisure, and domestic arrangements in working-class neighborhoods, demonstrating the interconnectedness of public and private space in the intimate economy. As crucial links in networks of working-class life, public women emerged as targets of a bureaucratizing state and allied social reformers who attempted to eradicate their public presence and activities, deeming them immoral and criminal. In doing so, middle-class reformers and the state worked together to dismantle the economic and political power of public women and the broader working class.

As reformers criminalized and removed women from public spaces in the early twentieth century, the home became an increasingly lethal place. GIS mapping of feminine homicides show that domestic murders increased more than three-fold in the first two decades of the twentieth century, constituting nearly three-quarters of feminine homicides and affecting a larger percentage of Chicago’s population. Despite turn-of-the century ideals of loving marriage and stable families, women frequently faced romantic betrayal, economic instability, and domestic abuse. Finding themselves in untenable situations, some women chose to kill their lovers, their spouses, or their children. Women’s violent assaults against loved ones in the supposedly sacred space of the home represented public acts that challenged the cultural, economic, and political conceptions of gender and marriage. The subsequent criminalization of feminine domestic homicide was fiercely contested based on race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality. In cases involving white, heteronormative women of most classes, and eventually middle-class black women, violence stood so at odds with expected femininity that that defendants, press, and courts frequently understood and excused women by framing their actions in terms of hysteria or insanity. Ironically, the dominant ideologies of domestic femininity that produced the conditions under which women killed often excused defendants as long as they fit the trope of feminine frailty and respectability. The courts more routinely criminalized working-class black women, immigrants, and lesbians who killed, demonstrating how ideas of gender, class, and sexuality profoundly shaped the development of the modern criminal justice system.

Rachel Boyle is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. and Public History at Loyola University Chicago. As a scholar, her research focuses on the criminalization of women in Chicago from 1870 to 1919. As a public historian, she works in local Chicago neighborhoods to harness the power of history for the benefit of contemporary communities. Boyle is the recent recipient of the Loyola University Chicago Arthur J. Schmitt Dissertation Fellowship and is a Graduate Scholar‐In‐Residence at Chicago’s Newberry Library.

Mapping Ossian: GIS and Environmental History
Eric Gidal & Michael Gavin, University of South Carolina & University of Iowa

This presentation will showcase preliminary efforts to create a digital archive for displaying and analyzing selections from the G. Ross Roy Collection of Burnsiana and Scottish Literature at the University of South Carolina in relation to the geography of Scottish industrial and environmental history. As a first stage towards developing this archive, we are building a prototype centered on maps and dissertations related to James Macpherson’s poems of Ossian (1760-73), specifically a cluster of statistical and geographical studies produced between 1790 and 1807. In a sequence of publications in the 1760s and '70s, Macpherson, a Scottish schoolteacher in the central Highlands, created fantastic epics of ancient heroes and presented them as genuine translations of the poetry of Ossian, a fictionalized Caledonian bard of the third century. But the poems speak more directly to the condition of Scotland in the eighteenth century, creating an elegiac experience of space in response to political, cultural, and economic transformations following the Act of Union in 1707 and the failed Jacobite Rebellions that followed. Later statistical and cartographic vindications of the poems amalgamated the poetry with the new media of natural history and political economy that were reshaping modern Scotland within a British industrial order. The databases, maps, and dissertations produced in defense of Ossianic poetry thus record not only cultural heritage and political history but also economic development and environmental change.

To capture some of these complex relations between poetry, cartography, and environmental history, we have curated a geospatially organized archive of texts and images related to the reception of Ossian. “Deep mapping” uses geospatial technology “to integrate, analyze, and make visual a vast array of data from different formats, all by virtue of their shared geography” (Bodenhamer, Corrigan, and Harris, ed., Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives, Indiana UP, 2015). Whereas cartography often relies on a positivist epistemology of space to create a simple, two-dimensional picture, recent advances in geographic information systems are designed purposefully to describe the complex layers of experience that produce our sense of place. No longer bound to the visual map as form, a geodatabase can represent space as a network of relations that pertain across maps and texts, binding together real and imaginary geographies while showing how they change over time. Modern GIS thus builds on a tradition of geographic reasoning that finds early expression in the Ossianic tradition.

Michael Gavin is associate professor of English and co-cirector of the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of South Carolina. He is author of The Invention of English Criticism, 1650-1760 (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and is currently at work on a monograph, Modeling Literary History: Semantic and Social Networks in Early Print.

Eric Gidal is Professor of English at the University of Iowa.  He is the editor of Philological Quarterly and author, most recently, of Ossianic Unconformities: Bardic Poetry in the Industrial Age (Virginia, 2015).

Disrupting the Page: Blake’s Marginalia as a Digital Scholarly Edition of Multivocality and Unused Space

Elizabeth Potter, Kansas State University

Borrowing a book from William Blake entailed reading the printed text, his handwritten notes scattered across the margins, and synthesizing the discourses. Blake’s marginal commentary seduces the reader’s awareness that meaning is the product of interaction with the visual, verbal, and physical elements of the page or the book. Taking advantaged of unused spaces of the book, Blake intervenes into the dialogue of his time in a medium that prohibits dialogue. Like marginalia, digital humanities projects are not necessarily secondary spaces but are instead integral to imaginative innovation as a process. Disruptive reading patterns are crucial to better understanding Blake’s anti-Newtonian attitude towards sciences, art, and language and the digital scholarly edition is the best way of reimagining the instrumentality of language.

My project, (tentatively) titled “Hired to Depress,” endeavors to contextualize Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Discourses with William Blake’s annotations. This electronic scholarly edition attempts to restore the conversation by presenting the full text of Reynolds’ Discourses and Blake’s marginalia with additional historical, artistic, and intertextual interpretations with realtime pop-ups containing information, external links, and media. These digital tools enable an experience of art and literary criticism through downloading the media to personal devices, commenting and sharing features enabled on the site. The reader/viewer is no longer silent but becomes interactive and thus facilitates a richer conversation.

The initial phase of this project focuses on reproducing the print and written conversation between Sir Joshua Reynolds and William Blake, respectively. William Blake annotated The Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Discourses on Art edited by Edmond Malone (London, 1798). The three-volume book is a compendium of essays, speeches, and a biography of the British painter. The copy owned by Blake is heavily annotated and held by The British Library soon to be put away and no longer available for viewing purposes. In order to better establish an understanding of Blake’s thoughts on Grand Manner style, art education, and the eighteenth century business of art, it is important that the text is digitally reproduced to retain the original text. Digital scans of the volume are available on page, thanks to Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). William Blake’s annotations are transcribed with reference to David. V. Erdman’s revised edition of The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake and the scanned document from ECCO. “Hired to Depress” invites the reader/viewer to join the conversation digitally by browsing Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Discourses, reading Blake’s marginalia, and immersing yourself within historical contexts, images of the artwork discussed, and a debate between two of the most influential British artists of the late eighteenth century.



Mapping Wordsworth’s 'Tintern Abbey'
Brennan Sadler,  Kansas State University

Like many of William Wordsworth’s poems, “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, Thoughts on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour, July 13, 1798” is a locodescriptive poem that is firmly rooted in place. Through his speaker, Wordsworth expresses an emotional, psychological, and even spiritual attachment to the landscape and geography of the Wye Valley in Wales. As a result, the textual formation, as well as readers’ experience with the poem, depend largely on the features of the landscape and geography surrounding Tintern Abbey.

Though the Wye Valley was a hub for 18th century tourism, a majority of 21st century readers of this poem do not have the “picture of the mind” of this landscape that so strongly informs the readerly and writerly experience of this poem. I wish to respond to this deficit and provide students, scholars, and teachers with a stronger visual foundation for addressing this poem.

I propose creating an online, annotated, multimedia edition of “Tintern Abbey” that highlights these locational, topographic, and spatial features as critical elements for understanding the poem, its formation, and experience. This single-interfaced website will take the form of an interactive map through Google Maps API that allows users to change the map view settings to terrain, satellite, political, and street-view. This map can link users to other visual resources, including modern photos and videos of the Wye Valley, artwork of the area, as well as maps from the 18th and 19th centuries, which can then be overlaid with contemporary maps to help determine changes in landscape over time. These visuals help to form a concept of place that, though fluid and potentially manifesting differently between individuals, remains vital to this poem and the experience of it. Though landscape and geography are not the only components of Romantic scene-making, these lococentric visuals serve as references that can enhance users’ comprehension of the objects of reflection for both poet and reader.

Additionally, by incorporating images of various manuscripts and editions of “Tintern Abbey,” as well as those of esteemed 18th century travel writer William Gilpin, users can immediately access valuable contextual information about the Wye Valley during the period surrounding Wordsworth’s visits and the poem’s composition. To accompany these visual, digital resources, I will provide a diplomatically annotated transcription of the 1798 edition of the poem. Annotations will primarily focus on locodescriptive elements of the poem, and can directly link users to other scholarly works in an expansive bibliography or to Gilpin’s work. By opening separate and resizable windows, users will be able to easily examine the poem and its annotations, while simultaneously exploring the landscape and geography. Users can immerse themselves completely in the poem, and perhaps discover new avenues for scholarship and instruction based on these experiences. By highlighting these locational features in an accessible and interactive manner, I hope to provide a map tool that can expand students’ and scholars’ scopes of study, and also assist teachers in making this poem come to life for their students.

Brennan Saddler is a second year MA student in the Department of English at Kansas State University, where she is teaching Expository Writing and working towards a certificate in Women’s Studies. She is a graduate of the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core honors program, and continually strives to take holistic and multidisciplinary approaches to all of her work. Her research focuses on long 19th-century British literature and culture, with particular emphases on women’s domestic rhetoric, and most recently, Romantic landscapes. Her work in the digital humanities examines the intersections of digital media, Romantic poetry, locational studies, and literary history. She hopes to use the digital scene as a medium for making Romantic poetry and its scholarship more user-friendly and accessible to students, instructors, and researchers.

Mapping Film Festivals: Breaking the National Cinemas Paradigm
Maria (Masha) Shpolberg & Andrew Vielkind,  Yale University (sending poster in absentia)

Film festivals are an integral element of film distribution networks and a key venue for film exhibition. A highly institutionalized venue for encountering films, festivals have persisted and even thrived in the age of digital streaming, while movie theaters continue to struggle. Despite their ability to bring disparate audiences into contact and to build communities, fim festivals carry the weight of a troubled history, tightly bound up with European nationalisms of the 1930s, the Cold War division of the world in the post-War period, and the neocolonialism of World Cinema.

In this presentation, we intend to critically examine the affordances of GIS mapping technologies as we have experienced them in building our project, which traces the proliferation of film festivals from 1932 onwards and which, in its second phase, will enable users to trace the circulation of a subset of films on the festival circuit. We explore the challenges inherent in tracing the circulation of cultural goods such as films, and in our attempts to allow a deep and highly ambiguous history to speak through seemingly ‘surface’ visuals.

Our project aims to address the current economic paradox of the film festival, while also shedding light on the political and social stakes involved throughout the history of the festival format. Ultimately, we argue that a big data approach to film festivals undermines not only the traditional history of the format, but also Film Studies’ tendency to think of post-War and World Cinema productions in terms of national categories or traditions.

Masha Shpolberg is a Ph.D. Candidate in Film & Media Studies at Yale University. In 2015, Masha was selected along with 11 other Ph.D. students at Yale to participate in a year-long, immersive course in the Digital Humanities funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. In Spring 2016, Masha and colleague Andrew Vielkind received a start-up grant from Yale’s Digital Humanities Lab to develop “CineCircuits”, a DH project that traces the proliferation of film festivals from the first Venice Film Festival in 1932 onwards. The project explores the growing importance of the festival circuit, critiques the notion of “world cinema”, and seeks to question the prevailing paradigm of “national cinemas”.

A Whole World West of Worcester: Using GIS to reconstruct a Sense of Place in the United States, 1819-1850
Jared Taber

This project uses early nineteenth century gazetteers and geographies to construct a spatially organized archive that describes patterns of labor, commerce, and everyday life in western New England during the early nineteenth century. During this period, geographers mobilized extensive networks of correspondence to research, write, and publish gazettes and geographies that cataloged the economic, social, and physical landscape of the United States by county and town. This created a pointillist account of the country as the sum of several thousand jurisdictions, a process that contributed to regional and national placemaking. It reinforced regional identities while enabling the construction of economic and social connections across regions in a mobile and economically dynamic young country. This level of detail in describing the work, resources, and character of individual towns renders the gazetteers indigestible for scholars interested in exploring the textures of American life on any scale greater than individual towns. Although these limitations hamper the reading of these sources, the synoptic focus of these gazetteers and their highly standardized content makes them particularly suited to the use of TEI to isolate and standardize data while also encoding this information for visual representation with GIS. Gazetteers contain descriptions of towns and counties that detail everything from religion and tax base to patterns in economic activity. In developing this tool, I intend to explore how our account of the growth of manufacturing changes if we document the environmental consequences of intermingling manufacturing, commerce, and agriculture across New England rather than focusing exclusively on isolated sections of this region. This will provide a historiographical corrective to accounts of industrialization, which focus on highly capitalized textile mills in eastern New England cities such as Lowell by improving the accessibility of historical data describing small-scale manufacturing in western New England. In the small towns of New England, labor-intensive but capital-scarce industries proliferated, and “A Whole World West of Worcester” provides a means of understanding the cumulative impact of these disparate processes.

Jared Taber received his Ph.D. In history from the University of Kansas in May 2016. His dissertation, “Thinking Like a Floodplain: Water, Work, and Time in the Connecticut River Valley, 1790-1870” explores connections between landscape change, industrialization, and urban growth.

Digital Visualization of Transnationalism: Mapping Historical Migration of Hong Kong Migrants in Canada during the Handover Period
Sheng Zhang, University of Alberta

Human migration is a global phenomenon due to the transition of policy, economy, society, and individual perspectives. As well, the international migration can play an important role in both regional and global transition. Human movement can involve individuals, families, as well as large groups of people, which marks a turning point in the development and transition of society. In the meantime, those nomadic people retain and reconstruct the form of identities, experiences, and practices.

Hong Kong people have gone through a mass migration wave to Canada in 1980s and 1990s. The purpose of this research is to map a migration wave from Hong Kong to Canada and back to Hong Kong during the crucial moment of Britain’s 1997 handover of political control of Hong Kong to China, especially during 1984 (when the decision was made) and 1997 (the handover approached), and to help contribute to figuring out the process of reconstruction of Hong Kong migrants’ experience and the factors that reflect these trends of migration waves. The case study of Hong Kong migration is vital to the visualization of human movements, the creation and transition of kinship networks, and the understanding of the meanings of place.

The study involves a digital technology approach – QGIS technology, which is a technological application software that supports for data viewing, editing, and analysis. In order to capture the nodal Hong Kong migrant distributions in Canada by gender, age group and social class, and to gain insight into the strong relationships between transnational space between origin and destination, cultural values and identity complexity, as well as transition of affective meanings of place. To explore the relationship networks, one should visualize and represent the spatial distribution of migration from large-scale data collection.

This study is part of a body of research on transnational migration that across the nation border. Along with the concepts of the neo-institutional (Salaff, Wong, and Greve, 2010) and socio-structural framework, the complex of ethnic identities, diaspora and transnationalism, the lens of social and cultural profiles rooted in structures and cognitive meanings, and a place-based values, the motivation and practice of migration will be addressed. The neo-institutional structures principally play role in the practice of Hong Kong emigration to Canada, which was driven by the wide social forces – “institutional peer pressure”. The social identity that rooted in Chinese traditional cultures focuses on ties of kinship and friendship, which strongly impacted on the activities of Chinese migrants. Transnationalism that relates to diaspora triggered by globalization, the changing economic, political and social institutions, gendered practices in familial patterns, and racism in the receiving country, which maintains the transnational contacts between the place of origin and destination. Last but not at least, the dynamic affective sense of place influenced the destination of cities selection and the level of place affiliation with the place of origin and destination.

With academic work on the history of Hong Kong emigration and remigration and its complexity of causes during the handover period, this study contributes heavily towards an under-researched synthesization of various dimensions of the practice of Hong Kong migrants’ assimilation and heterogeneity in Canada. It has been reiterated that transnational migration and the concepts of neo-institutionalism, identities, and space and place are interrelated. Furthermore, the use of technological tool has a great contribution to map and visualize transnational migration in a digital way.

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