Wednesday, March 23

5:40 – 6:40 pm Accessing Diasporic Histories: Values-Driven Digital Projects

Nos Cambió La Vida/Our Lives Transformed: Stories of Statelessness

Alicia Peaker (Barnard College)
Miriam Neptune (Barnard College & We Are All Dominican)
Amarilys Estrella (New York University & We Are All Dominican)
Ana Belique (Reconoci.do)
Stephanie Holguin (New York University & We Are All Dominican)
Rosanny Romilis Jiménez (Reconoci.do)

In 2013, in the Dominican Republic, a Constitutional Tribunal ruling 168/13 retroactively revoked birthright citizenship, which led to the denationalization of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent. In 2017, community organizers from a Santo-Domingo based organizatioin the movement that seeks to end discrimination against Domiincans of Haitian descent in collaboration with members of a New York-based diaspora collective, facilitated workshops through which Dominicans of Hatian descent told their own stories of living with the realities of statelessness. These essays were collected and published in book form. Soon after, members of the collective and a local college worked together to translate the volume into English in order to extend the reach of these important stories, build more solidarity with the movement, and make connections to other related struggles in the larger African Diaspora. The result was an open-access digital edition of the translated book, built with Jekyll to be accessible, lightweight, and easily shared across social platforms, devices, and bandwidth. This project emerged from a transnational feminist ethos in which the principles of language justice, design justice (Costanza-Chock), security, environmental digital humanities (Nowviskie), minimal computing (Gil, Sayers), and open access drove decision making. In this non-traditional panel, we will offer context for the project and a brief history of its creation and translation followed by a reading by one of the original authors of Nos Cambió La Vida. Next we will share how the teams’ commitments to ethically translating and sharing this work shaped the creation of the digital edition, challenged us to think beyond our digital humanities tools, and the ways in which we intervened in alignment with our values.

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The Citing Slavery Project: Reckoning with the Law of Slavery and Its Legacy

Justin Simard, Armando Barcena, Audrea Dakho, Taylor Hall, Jessica D. Hollan, Clark Johnson, Hannah Robinson, Dustin Reed Solt (Michigan State University College of Law, USA)

Law was critical to the establishment and growth of American slavery. The Citing Slavery Project aims to make this legal history of slavery accessible and relevant to students, researchers, and the general public. Once completed, our database at www.citingslavery.org will offer open access to thousands of slave cases and give users of its database the tools they need to analyze the continued influence of these cases on modern law. Although American judges authored roughly 10,000 appellate cases involving enslaved people, the influence of these cases remains underappreciated by lawyers and legal scholars. Those outside of law schools or the profession often have difficulty accessing legal sources, and therefore have been discouraged from providing in-depth analysis of slave cases. As a result, until our recent work was published, few scholars realized that modern judges and lawyers have continued to cite slave cases and the law these cases helped spawn in a wide variety of legal subject areas. The goal of our project is to make it easier to access these cases and understand and reckon with this influence. Our site provides accessing to a growing database of cases and includes links to full-text copies of the opinions available on the Harvard Caselaw Access Project. In addition to working on expanding our database, we are also building tools for educators to use cases in their classrooms, drafting information that sheds light of the experiences of the enslaved people in these cases, and creating an interface that will allow users to visually track the influence of slave cases. We would be excited to present at the Global Digital Humanities conference to share our project, to discuss challenges we have faced, and to learn from others working in this pace..

Return to Wednesday schedule

6:50 – 7:50 pm – Project Showcase

Nos Cambió La Vida/Our Lives Transformed: Stories of Statelessness

Readings and discussion building on the presentation in the previous session.

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“The Woods” – A Collaborative Augmented Reality Game

Kyoung Lee Swearingen and Scott Swearingen (Ohio State University, USA)

“The Woods” is a mixed-reality, two-player cooperative game that addresses the perils of social isolation by promoting connections between people and actively engaging them through play. Using augmented reality (AR) and 4-channel audio spatialization panning, players choreograph their movement in real-world space while interacting with birds, clouds, and other objects in virtual space. In pursuit of a shared goal, players experience an immersive sonic narrative of rumbling storm clouds and disconnected voices that culminate in stories of hope and reconciliation. The design intent behind “The Woods” is to illuminate human connections to others and to celebrate this through collaborative play.

Since the 1980s, the percentage of American adults who say they are lonely has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent. Research has also indicated that increases in mobile phone use and online networking in contrast to face-to-face interactions have had a negative impact on children’s health, specifically citing screen time, “phone addiction,” and lack of physical activities as potential health-related challenges. These same challenges can be detrimental to a young person’s mental and social well-being; can lead to isolation, depression, and cyberbullying; and can contribute to increased suicide rates. While loneliness in real life is increasingly recognized as having dire physical, mental, and emotional consequences, the goal of “The Woods” is, through creative inquiry, to examine how technologies can be reimagined to strengthen connections between isolated persons through play and collaboration, and to create a dialog at the intersection of the arts, humanities, and human-centered technology.

Expressive, playful, collaborative, and physical, “The Woods” illuminates our connections to one another and communicates the importance of fostering positive social interaction through face-to-face engagement and the power of the human voice.

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Interactive Exploratory Analysis for DH Trends

Manuel Cebral-Loureda (Tecnológico de Monterrey, México)

Already in 2011, David Berry talked about 3 waves in Digital Humanities (DH): a first moment marked by digitalization when technologies were understood as tools to help humanistic management; a second moment, based on natively digital products, conceiving the tools in their generative mode; finally, Berry intuits a third moment in which the computational revolution would be the motor of the humanistic studies development.

Since 2011 many things have happened, especially talking about knowledge areas affected by technologies and their implementations. For example, around 2015 and next years, Big Data was a very powerful trend, which impacted most of the academic research, including humanities and social sciences. Some years later, around 2017, a turn happened with the consolidation of the term Artificial Intelligence, which became even a more paradigmatic trend. All these changes have had to influence DH: How have the field assimilated the Big Data and Artificial Intelligence revolutions? Are the waves detected by Berry still valid or there are needed new ones? What are the trends, concepts and approaches that are dominating the most recent DH studies? What texts and authors were the most influential ones to carry on these transformations?

To answer these questions, an analytical review of the historic academic production is proposed. The analysis was performed over the academic database Scopus, and analyzed with R programming tools, applying computational analytics in a bibliometric way. The findings are deployed in a public site that will be the product presented and discussed during the meeting, providing interactive visualizations elaborated with plotly, shiny apps and the Sigma JS plugin for networks. Based on this interactive mode, a collaborative research using the site as a tool is planned.

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Multi-dimensional Image Smart System – Unleash the value of images

Tao Chen (Sun Yat-sen University, China)

The Multi-dimensional Image Smart System (MISS) is built using technologies such as IIIF, Linked Data, graph databases, machine learning and other related technologies to support the disclosure and interaction of image resources in the collections of cultural heritage institutions. And MISS is currently used in the construction of image resources in many libraries in China. The MISS platform lowers the technical barrier through low coding which aims to build and image application ecology. The platform allows users to upload, publish, organization, annotation, reorganization and share image resources in the collection with just a few simple operations.
The MISS platform has the following core functions:

  1. One-click import of external Manifest resources to achieve resource aggregation.
  2. Support image content annotation, semantic annotation and OCR dynamic recognition to build deep knowledge of resources.
  3. Image reorganization across Manifest resources, easy to create exclusive research topics.
  4. Realize dynamic association with entity resources in LOD through SPARQL.
    Platform address http://miss.newwenke.com

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The Construction of Collective Identities in Social Networks

Alejandro Servin (Antropomedia / Tecnologico de Monterrey (ITESM), México)

La identidad es algo que no termina de construirse, es fluida y está permanentemente abierta a la negociación (Weber & Mitchell, 2017), de ahí la importancia de estudiarla de forma continua. Esta investigación presenta las representaciones identitarias más recurrentes que se han identificado en Facebook, TikTok e Instagram a partir de una serie de estudios sociométricos realizados en comunidades de creadores de contenido, medios y marcas comerciales dirigidas a públicos juveniles.

La novedad metodológica de esta investigación radica en que emplea una combinación de metodologías que han sido llamadas estudios sociométricos en medios sociales (Leetoy, S. y Servin, A., 2018); y al día hay pocas investigaciones académicas que los han empleado. Este enfoque de investigación holístico posee gran influencia de propuestas como la de Daniel Miller y Heather A. Horst (2012), quienes postulan una serie de principios sobre los que se fundamenta la subdisciplina llamada antropología digital. Los estudios sociométricos de medios sociales toman el nombre propuesto por el psiquiatra Jacob Levy Moreno para referirse al estudio cuantitativo de relaciones sociales aplicado para fines terapéuticos, pero readaptan el término al contexto de la investigación de entramados sociales en redes cibernéticas.

González & Servin (2017) definen como “tribus digitales” a los grupos de usuarios vinculados entre sí a partir de las co-interacciones que realizan en plataformas sociodigitales específicas. Estas tribus también son performativas y están ligadas a los procesos de construcción de identidades digitales. Se recurre a los estudios sociométricos, precisamente, para visibilizar y estudiar las tribus sociales digitales que siguen o que interactúan con perfiles o páginas de marcas comerciales, grupos o campañas comerciales en diferentes plataformas sociodigitales; lo que permite en primera instancia, “tomar una radiografía” de cualquier entramado cibernético (De Colsa, González & Servin, 2013). El resultado de la visualización es un sociograma que presenta relaciones de seguimiento (te sigo/me sigues/nos seguimos) y/o relaciones de usuarios interactores con contenidos en medios sociales.

En el sociograma, los nodos representan a los usuarios y las aristas son la expresión de las relaciones de seguimiento o interacción entre los mismos. Ahora, estos mapas se clusterizan en colores por el número recíproco de aristas entre un grupo de perfiles; mejor dicho, cada color señala un grupo de perfiles altamente conectados, lo cual, se traduce a la identificación de una tribu digital. Por último, el tamaño de los nodos representa la cantidad de conexiones gestadas por un usuario: un perfil con un número considerable de conexiones aparece con mayor tamaño, y viceversa, un perfil con pocas conexiones adquiere un menor tamaño.


  • B., Horst, H. A., & Miller, D. (2013). Digital Anthropology (English Edition) (1.a ed.). Bloomsbury Academic.
  • De Colsa, M., González, L. y Servin Arroyo, A. (2013). Redes Sociales: nueva era en investigación interpretativa. Versión, Estudios de Comunicación y Política, año 22, No. 31. Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. Recuperado de http://bit.ly/antropomediauam
  • González, L. J., & Servin Arroyo, A. (2017). Métodos cualitativos digitales: Un acercamiento a la antropología digital y otras posturas de investigación online. Virtualis, 8-15. https:// www.revistavirtualis.mx/index.php/virtualis/article/view/220/202
  • Leetoy, S., & Servin Arroyo, A. (2018). Personalización de la política en tiempos de wikis: tribus digitales en Twitter en torno a la candidatura ciudadana de Pedro Kumamoto. En Ciudadanía digital y democracia participativa (pp. 201-228). Comunicación Social.
  • Weber, S., & Mitchell, C. (2007). Imaging, Keyboarding, and Posting Identities: Young People and New Media Technologies.

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Sustainable and Extensible Cultural Heritage Access in Virtual Reality: Experiencing a Renaissance Manuscript

Sabina Zonno, Lynn Dodd, Mats Borges (University of Southern California, USA)

Sustainability is a key concern for libraries, museums, and archives worldwide protecting and preserving tangible heritage, while also encouraging audience engagement and appreciation. In our paper, we present the first results of an innovative project developed at the University of Southern California (USC) with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2020-2021. An interdisciplinary team (archeologists, art historians, curators, 3-D modeling specialists, film-makers, game designers, and music specialists) is creating an embodied, immersive, interactive 3-D experience of a 15th-century illuminated manuscript kept by USC Libraries’ Special Collections. Through a Unity-based, headset-accessible experience, users access the 3-D model of the original manuscript placed in a 3-D modeled church space. Immersed in this virtual sacred space and listening to period and spatially-appropriate music, people gain a more connected experience of the manuscript, virtually touching the manuscript and learning without damaging the original. Interactives are designed to make the manuscript more accessible to non-specialists and to engage people in exploring materiality, images, and texts. In the virtual realm, this costly book can be used carefully as it was when its owners, beguines in fifteenth-century Ghent, Belgium, read it in the beguinage church of Old Saint Elizabeth.

The USC’s virtual reality experience is also replicable, as it was designed as a preliminary template to be used by any museum, library, or archive as a provocation for learning and public awareness about manuscripts in their collections for which the benefits and fascination of access pose threats to the future preservation of ancient artifacts. Through this virtual reality experience, manuscript owning institutions are able to:

  1. preserve ancient manuscripts;
  2. make them accessible for research and public access;
  3. encourage proper handling;
  4. provoke appreciation for owning institutions as sustaining the shared cultural heritage of humanity.

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Digital Film Screening in Remote Areas of Southwest China: A Study Based on Field and Digital Humanities

Zenan Pu and Zitong Zhu (Peking University, China)

China’s rural digital film screening is a government-led public welfare film undertaking for rural areas, ethnic minorities, and remote frontier areas. In 2010, digital projectors were entirely used for rural film screenings in China, and detailed GPS / GPRS screening information records began in 2013. The object of this research is the rural film screening in Nujiang Autonomous Prefecture of Lisu Ethnic Group (怒江傈僳族自治州) in Southwest China. Using DH tools and field investigation examines 54,424 records of 35 digital screening teams in Nujiang Autonomous Prefecture of Lisu Ethnic Group from 2013 to 2021. This research finds that three favorite themes of feature films for villagers and ethnic minority audiences in Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture are wars and the communism revolution, martial arts and action, and rural drama (concerning their daily lives). Meanwhile, educational films also play a crucial role in rural screening. It publicizes national policies and regulations, spreads healthcare and medical knowledge, teaches planting and breeding knowledge to villagers and minority audiences. During the research, found that take 2015 as the watershed, along with the development of local society in both Han and non-Han communities, it can see that the content of science and education films is more in-depth and can reflect the improvement of national policies. The reason may be related to a series of national policies and regulations such as the “Comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society” proposed by the Chinese government in 2014, and the “Two-child Policy,” and the “Three-child Policy.”

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Black Lives Matter Murals: Slow Looking with the BLM Murals from Downtown Raleigh, NC

Kelsey Virginia Dufresne (North Carolina State University, USA)

Like many communities around the world, my own neighborhood was filled with murals and street art crafted by various artists, creators, and makers on brick and plywood. While made of various materials with different styles, these pieces of community-generated art all illustrate and amplify the important message that Black Lives Matter. In using photographs that I took throughout downtown Raleigh in the summer of 2020 and winter of 2021, I submitted and cataloged in the George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art Database. I then converted into IIIF and uploaded into Cogapp’s Slow Looking application. In doing so, the experience equips us with a greater intentionality in sitting with these images, their messages, and the lived realities that they reflect and convey by slowly viewing the entirety of the mural and art. Cogapp’s Slow looking is seemingly most traditionally associated with high-brow art museums and pieces, but I want to challenge these associations – while retaining the intentionality of the experience, of sitting with a visual artifact at great length for more immersive experience. But instead of passively observing these visuals, how can we draw upon these image-experiences to pay attention to what and how we are seeing, thinking, and feeling? How do these images surprise, shock, challenge, ignite you?

Project link: https://kvdufresne.github.io/Black-Lives-Matter-Murals

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Hazine: For Researchers of the Diverse Islamic Worlds

Heather Hughes (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
N.A. Mansour (Princeton University, USA)
Shabbir Abbas (University of Arizona, USA)
Marwa Gadallah (American University in Cairo, Egypt)

Hazine is an online resource that seeks to function as a repository of writing on repositories. Recognizing that research can be opaque and that the research process itself is often self-taught, Hazine was meant to help acquaint researchers working on the Middle East with archives and how to navigate them. Hazine has expanded as a digital publishing platform and teaching tool on the Islamicate world, covering various topics such as art, design, and pedagogy, while platforming diverse voices in knowledge production through different formats including resource guides, interviews, creative essays, and comics. Our team of four will discuss our approach to soliciting and publishing content that engages with cultural heritage in the Middle East and beyond, as well as initiatives to make our website more inclusive and accessible.

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Thursday, March 24

1:40 – 3:20 pm – Lightning Talks

​1:40 – 2:30 pm Digital Disruptions: Writing and Knowing Anew

MI Diaries: Starting a Community-Engaged DH Project during a Global Pandemic

Betsy Sneller and Suzanne Wagner (Michigan State University, USA)

Since April 2020, the MI Diaries project (run out of the Michigan State University Sociolinguistics Lab) has been collecting weekly “audio diaries” from residents across Michigan, with the goal of tracking how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives and the language of Michiganders. MI Diaries was designed from the outset to center community engagement as a major component of the research, which to date has included partnering with community-oriented programs like 4-H to incorporate MI Diaries into ongoing youth programming and involving high school students as “Youth Intern” research assistants. The project also selects a handful of submitted stories to feature on our website, resulting in an ongoing public archive of weekly stories from the duration of the pandemic.

Starting a community-engaged Digital Humanities project rapidly and remotely came with a number of specific and novel challenges, such as ensuring high-quality audio recordings that can be used for acoustic analysis, recruiting participants remotely, and the even more difficult task of retaining and building rapport with participants remotely. In this talk, we discuss some of these challenges and the steps we took to address them. We also discuss some of the unexpected opportunities that we encountered in the development of MI Diaries, many of which emerged from specific challenges. These include centering cross-disciplinarity and community engagement as core elements of the project. We end with a brief tour of our public archive, which is licensed under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 license, to facilitate non-commercial re-use with attribution. Our aim is to connect with other scholars in the Digital Humanities and consider additional ways for the project to expand and for new collaborations to arise.

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Digital Humanities Core Values Navigated in Global Pandemic Pedagogy

Najla Jarkas (AMICAL Consortium)

In Lebanon faculty, staff, and students across university campuses experienced multiple crises, of which COVID-19 was ironically the least to worry about. Ironically because the latter not only pungently exposed the infrastructural vulnerabilities in the health system on a colossal level and extenuated the digital divide in a developing society that came in the way of teaching, research, and learning, but rather it highlighted the resourcefulness and pedagogical inventiveness in the field of Digital Humanities in a time of global pandemic. Moving to virtual teaching spaces in a Lebanese higher education institution due to closures of learning spaces on campus were met with more than the minor hiccups experienced by the digital divide among learners and researchers in the Global North. Collapsed currency in Lebanon added to other infrastructural needs, led to exasperating teaching and research conditions impacted Digital humanists as educators and scholars. The ripple effects of the Lebanese economic meltdown also posed additional extraordinary challenges. Teaching remotely through digitized spaces by people already adept to virtual educations platforms and tools did not eliminate the infrastructural hardships that came in the form of electricity outages, unstable internet connections, lack of funds for renewal of subscriptions to databases and online platforms in addition to the inaccessibility of previously allocated funds in the form of external scholarships, paywalls, and the inability to pay for maintenance costs of digitization equipment in the library and archives. The following presentation will show how some of the core values articulated in Lisa Spiro’s article “This is Why We Fight: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities” (2012) allowed students and instructors to navigate pandemic restrictions as well as the Lebanese economic crisis and gain the required intellectual and technical skills needed in two undergraduate digital humanities courses.

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Recognizing Sounds and Aural Patterns in Ancient Chinese Texts: An Approach to Problems of Logographic Writing Systems

Gian Duri Rominger (Princeton University, USA)

This presentation outlines how digital tools can support the task of detecting rhymes, alliterations, and puns in Chinese texts from around the 4th to 2nd centuries BCE. The underlying problem is in this case constituted through the largely logographic nature of the Chinese script, which allows for its extraordinary temporal stability, but largely obscures changes in sound throughout the ages. Many methods and assumptions drawn from various alphabetic languages are hence not applicable.

To approach this issue, I utilize recent phonological reconstructions of Old Chinese to recreate sounds in texts that survive in purely written form. By understanding sound-based devices such as rhyme as a recurrence of parallel structures on the aural level of language, this presentation shows that the detection process of such devices can be automated as regular expression searches in the coding language Python.

Consequently, such patterns can be found in a more comprehensive manner than was hitherto possible, especially in what are generally considered “prose” texts. An automated process of uncovering such aurally effective passages in early argumentative “prose” continues and furthers earlier approaches in scholarship that attempted to identify such devices manually, usually in end-rhyme position. Instead, the proposed automation allows for a greater scale as well as more varied rhyme schemes. This includes line-internal rhymes; alliterations, which were thus far mostly neglected; and word plays, which additionally hint at semantic functions of such recurring sounds. The increased scale, on the other hand, allows for questioning traditional genre classifications and the supposed dating of many of these textual artifacts.

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Ética,un límite y un potenciador de la Inteligencia Artificial: una recomendación en el contexto del COVID-19

Barbara Guadalupe Gaspar Gaona (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México)

El mundo entero se enfrenta a una condición de emergencia compartida, los datos ahora no sólo representan las millones de muertes e infectados por COVID-19, también cubren a aquellos que se registran en condiciones de pobreza, marginación, en riesgo grave de contagio, pérdidas económicas y el amplio grupo de previsiones sobre el contexto que tenemos por delante. La Inteligencia Artificial (IA) y los procesos que involucra como el Big data junto a la pandemia han tenido el poder de cambiar el mundo, lo que representa una amplia gama de variables, desde su presencia casi inadvertida a la amplitud de sus consecuencias socioeconómicas. El principal objetivo de esta investigación es destacar la importancia de la inteligencia artificial para identificar sus deficiencias éticas y de equidad en la gestión de datos durante la pandemia, para proponer algunas recomendaciones en términos de las humanidades digitales para hacer de la IA una herramienta fiable, no sólo en este contexto de crisis, sino como un mecanismo de innovación a largo plazo. Así mismo, se construye un conjunto de recomendaciones de carácter institucional, para que estas herramientas transdisciplinarias, puedan atacar la problemática de infodemia e incertidumbre a nivel global. Partiendo de la premisa que la prioridad se concentra en las implicaciones, y los efectos sociales y humanitarios de un fenómeno que para muchos representa un avance desconocido, o temido, por lo que debemos estar preparados en la respuesta de los gobiernos a los grupos sociales, y la aplicación de principios éticos en el desarrollo de sus aplicaciones, dado el nivel de incertidumbre y complejidad social, que se enfrenta en la actualidad.

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2:30 – 3:20 pm ​Outlining Communities and Information through Digital Archives and the Static Web

Exilio 36-39: Mapping Exile Memory

Melanie Forehand (Vanderbilt University, USA)

More than 80 years ago, artists, academics, supporters of the Republic and others sought exile from Spain’s Francoist regime. Now their stories are perishing. With each passing day, there are fewer remaining members of the exile community and the global pandemic has severely restricted travel to the cultural centers that maintain archived materials of their lives. In this context, it was thus necessary to create a dedicated digital platform to preserve their stories. Exilio3639.org is a collaborative, public digital humanities project with the Ateneo español de México, members of the exiled community, and academics. Using the open-source platform CGeomap, this transnational project crowdsources cultural ephemera, documents, and oral histories from the relatives of exiles, scholars, and the general public. Although still in the early stages of its development, the story map demonstrates the potential for individuals to narrate their own histories and to relate their experiences across both space and time. In addition, the project makes cultural objects and histories more engaging to a broad public audience. This presentation will describe the development of the exile map and outline important technical and practical aspects of transnational collaboration. We will also discuss the ethical issues implicated in the map’s creation including overcoming academia’s reputation of elitism, extractive work and exclusion of non-academic voices, crafting coherent narratives from discrete pinpoints, providing accurate authorial attribution, and reducing gatekeeping while avoiding option fatigue in users. In addition to highlighting the value of international collaboration, we underscore the utility of the platform for other public humanities scenarios.

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Learn-STATIC: Expanding the Potential of Digital Humanities Pedagogy With Static Web Technologies

Olivia Wikle (University of Idaho, USA) – Presenting
Evan Peter Williamson (University of Idaho, USA)
Gabriele Hayden (University of Oregon, USA)
Kate Thornhill (University of Oregon, USA)

Static web technologies offer an exciting opportunity for DH instructors to incorporate transferable digital literacy skills into their classrooms, while producing low-cost, low-maintenance web projects that are sustainable even for institutions with limited resources. Because static websites are composed of flat HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files, they can be hosted on a low-cost (or free!) web server, and remain secure and functional with little maintenance. These features make the technology especially convenient for classroom DH projects which undergo a period of intense semester-long development followed by minimal maintenance. Because a static web project’s code and data are usually openly available via a GitHub repository and not hidden behind a user interface, instructors can use the code and data structures to introduce students to concepts of computing, web development, and data transformation. Depending on the instructor’s focus, students might engage in learning to use Google Sheets, Git, GitHub, Markdown, HTML, CSS, and Liquid while creating their web project. These skill sets not only strengthen students’ and instructors’ control over the content they create; they also empower students to bring the same spirit of critical inquiry that they focus on humanities content to their understanding of the tools and processes they use to manipulate and share digital content. The NEH-funded Learn-STATIC initiative aims to make static web technologies in DH pedagogy more accessible for students and instructors alike by creating a series of open-source learning sequences for using static web tools in the DH classroom. Each is complete with reusable code stored in a GitHub repository, an example lesson plan, and documentation. This presentation will introduce the learning sequences, report on their effectiveness in the classroom, and demonstrate how they accomplish the advantages of static web laid out above.

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Digital Storytelling and Knowledge Service of Academic Celebrities’ Characteristic Resources from the Perspective of Digital Humanities

Huilin Liu – Presenting, Li Niu, Jingyi Zeng, Lichao Liu (Renmin University of China)

The resources of academic celebrities are multimodal, quantitative and multidimensional. They are an important kind of special resources and precious historical materials. Digital processing and knowledge organization of relevant resources can better promote academic exchange and knowledge production. With more and more theoretical achievements and practical projects of Digital Humanities (DM), the concepts of “storytelling” of multi-source heterogeneous resources and “Reconstruction” from the public perspective began to attract the attention of scholars. Thus in our proposed presentation, we will discuss how to construct a knowledge service platform through the process of digitization, data transformation and relevance, take the academic biography, literature, photos, audio and video and other archival resources of Mr. Wu Baokang, a famous Chinese archivist, as the object. At the same time, the archives resources are associated with relevant encyclopedia data to supplement the era background, social environment and other information of academic celebrities, and mine more relevant knowledge.

In terms of specific operation, firstly, multimodal resources are collected, including the digital storage of a large number of traditional paper resources by using Open Archival Information System (OAIS). Secondly, taking events as the center, build an ontology model with the organic integration of resources and content, extract entities and relationships with the help of computer technology, and semantically associate narrative elements (characters, events, time, place, architecture, etc.), so as to form a knowledge graph. Finally, according to the above knowledge organization results, multi-dimensional narratives such as historical time, geographical space and social network are presented on the visual platform. By analyzing the complex memory entity relationship and deeply combing the formation and evolution law of the field community related to academic celebrities, it not only provides help for the research and promotion of related disciplines, but also enriches the practical cases in the field of DH.

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3:40 – 4:40 pm Mapping Digital Spaces of Memory, Witnessing, and Resistance

Pauliceia 2.0 – Collaborative Mapping of the History of São Paulo (1870-1940) An experiment of open science in digital humanities

Andrew Britt (University of North Carolina School of the Arts, USA) and Luís Ferla (Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil)

The digital humanities are becoming a growing and unavoidable reality for those working with historical knowledge. They have gained intellectual and institutional footing among scholars across disciplines, who have proceeded from arguing for their potential to discussing their practice and implications. Such discussions include the question of defining an epistemological identity for the field, along with the theoretical and practical implications for scholarship and within the institutional structures that evaluate a scholar’s work.

Framed by open science and digital humanities, this project aims to design and build a computational platform for collaborative historical research. The principal goal is to develop state-of-the-art software tools that allow humanities researchers to create, organize, store, integrate, process and publish urban history data sets. The proposed platform will integrate all these tools.

The project foresees the development and release in the worldwide web of a digital historical cartographic database of São Paulo city covering the period of its urban and industrial modernization (1870-1940). The platform will provide access to this database and allow interaction among researchers, who will be able to contribute to the database events that can be spatially and temporally represented. In doing so, scholars will be able to produce maps and visualizations of their own research and at the same time contribute to the data within the system. This project will enrich understanding of the history of São Paulo during the above-mentioned period in addition to offering an innovative model of research for the digital humanities that fosters collaborative work and free knowledge flow.

The first phase of the project, focusing on a pilot area corresponding to São Paulo’s city center, was carried out from February 2017 to January 2020. The beta version of the platform is available on the internet for testing. The second phase will expand the spatial coverage, the platform functionalities, and community engagement. It will also create a guide to allow other researchers to replicate the approaches in other cities.

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Intersectional issues in digital mapping: The (De)colonial Memory Project and colonial monuments in Puerto Rico

Rafael Capó García (University of British Columbia, Canada)

Amongst the most biased aspects of history is the concept of memory. What do we remember? How do we remember? When do we forget? Should we forget? Remembering where we’ve come from, and complicating the past, is essential in continuing our journey through this world but the politics of commemoration often sidetracks our identity and attempts to impose a monolith in place of our ontological plurality. How can we (re)appropriate the ability to remember and forget when this authority has always been in the hands of those in power? Decoloniality inspects and reassesses our politics of commemoration. To (de)colonize our past, present and future requires that we reflect on what we think we know about our roots and heritage, and requires critical analysis of where our ideas of identity and personhood originate. Public spaces, as integral aspects of our daily lives and relationships to local and global communities, provide critical material for memory work. Town centers in Puerto Rico are full of these discursive works of public art that tell us how to remember our shared history by reminding us of who we actually are.

Our presentation will share the findings of our digital humanities initiative titled the (De)colonial Memory Project, an interactive map of the commemorative landscape in Puerto Rico. We will present the methodologies and theoretical frameworks that have guided our mapping of colonial monuments, and the different quandaries we have faced throughout this process. We will focus on explaining the process of mapping and discuss how the process of visually organizing the data itself complicates issues around decoloniality, race, and gender. The obstacles we have faced provide important insights into not only the construction of race and identity, but also the field of digital humanities itself as we have grappled with digital dilemmas that overlap and intersect with real world structural issues.

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A Geography of Terror and Repression

Jennifer Ross, University of Toronto, Canada

Since the inauguration of the War on Terror in 2001, couanterterror rhetoric and policy have grown ever more present in responses to domestic crisis and, increasingly, democratic expression. Following Hurricane Katrina and the 2005 flooding of New Orleans, heavily armed police, military, and paramilitary forces herded “looters,” “insurgents,” and, in one instance, assumed terrorists into an outdoor detention facility modeled after Guantánamo Bay. Paramilitary units also deployed to Puerto Rico in 2017 to secure San Juan’s exclusive Santurce District, guard infrastructure workers, and protect fresh water supplies. More recently, private security contractors have been used to suppress democratic movements for social justice and Native sovereignty. In Standing Rock, North Dakota, contractors and state prosecutors portrayed water protectors as a “pipeline insurgency” to be quashed by paramilitary forces. Just a few years later, contractors snatched up Black Lives Matter protestors in Portland, Oregon and drove them away in unmarked vans.
An act of sousveillance, “A Geography of Terror and Repression” turns the tools of mapping and surveillance against a state deploying draconian tactics in the name of security. This project marshals GIS, a medium steeped in military conquest and Western imperialism, to pinpoint individual eruptions of counterterror state violence against racialized populations. Moreover, the project reveals the interrelation of security tactics and personnel by tracing the movement of contractors from one area of real or perceived crisis to another. Hosted initially on ArcGIS Story Maps to provide a national overview of counterterror state violence, each marker then links to a location-specific digital project utilizing Omeka, Leaflet, or Python to document security tactics and public resistance. By visualizing the continuously expanding purview of contractor deployment, this project ultimately reveals a disturbing trend growing out privatization, the quest to protect white supremacy, and the erosion of civil and human rights in the name of security.

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Walking the Archive of District Six: Memory, Augmented Reality, and Counter-Surveying

David A. Wallace (University of Michigan, USA) and Siddique Motala (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

This talk will review previous and ongoing interdisciplinary research that integrates archives and geomatics into an augmented reality (AR) enhanced walking tour of District Six in Cape Town, South Africa, perhaps the most well-known site of apartheid forced removals (some 60,000 Black individuals between 1968 – 1983). Since 2018, the presenters have collaborated to combine Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping technologies with personal, institutionalized, and newly created digital records to recover unknown histories and narratives of former District Six residents. A newly created geocoded map represents the first ever digital historical map of District Six that contains discrete and granular locations of all homes, businesses, and public services. The archival component integrates onto this map a range of documentary evidence: digitized historical baptismal registry records from St. Mark’s church, one of the few surviving structures in District Six; visual resources from the District Six Museum, and; oral histories of a handful of former residents, supplemented by their personal archives. The current manifestation of this work is deploying AR to transform the “Haunted Walks of District Six” tour to enable the simultaneous integration of the physical and virtual within District Six while exploring new heritage-related theoretical and praxis directions at the intersections between archiving, engineering, and information technology, and their incorporation into social justice decolonizing memory work. We seek to substantially reinvent the embodied and affective experience of the walking tour, while exploring its potential for application to other contexts of forced removal, recovered and contested memory, and ongoing justice-seeking efforts.

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Friday, March 25

9:40 – 10:40 am – Developing Multilingual Foundations for Global Digital Humanities

Missing the Digital: Infrastructures in India

Maya Dodd (Flame University, India)

While it has been noted that infrastructures are central to the practice of digital humanities, it is also true that limits to the digital make infrastructures for DH labs in India particularly fragile. As anthropologist Akhil Gupta states, infrastructures “are a process [not a thing] that is characterized by multiple temporalities [and] open futures”. Affording DH/dh project work in India is often a function of both imagination and infrastructure. The structural exclusion of the non-English speaking is a defining impediment to DH labs in India, and we see how this frames institutional possibilities of curation and distribution. Mostly, extant usage of digital tools rests on the overall systemic conception of access, via English. The need to develop infrastructures across several Indian languages and to examine the need for open access resources (such as virtual labs) might offer some possibilities to combat existent shortages. For DH labs to scale up in India, an exploration of what is yet possible would also need to contend with historical barriers that stand out here. To name some, 1. The barrier to accessing higher education in languages beyond English that structures the research ecosystem, 2. The fact that access to an indigenous publishing system with reach and inter-operable legitimacy and use is absent, and 3. The historical impediments for both students and faculty to global access, funding and exposure (due to expense). Since neither connectivity nor robust funding can be assumed, even in the formal education settings of Indian Universities, to imagine DH labs, tools and resources in India also necessitates the consideration of offline techniques. In India, digital affordances need to be imagined beyond known DH lab infrastructures of the global North.

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Building Multilingual Internets

Puthiya Purayil Sneha (The Centre for Internet and Society, India)

As a field of study that has been premised on the ‘digital’, the growth, access, and use of the internet and digital technologies is integral to much of digital humanities (DH) practice, scholarship, and pedagogy today. Over several years now, there has also been a substantive body of critique on the field, especially its Anglocentric antecedents, and specific origin stories in humanities computing and textual studies etc. Several efforts to ‘decolonize DH’ have highlighted visible knowledge gaps in the field, including the need to create a diverse, multilingual, and accessible DH. Efforts within DH to address linguistic barriers in particular have been key, especially in countries in the Global South. Challenges in reading, writing and speaking in multiple languages on digital interfaces remain prevalent today across the world, especially for marginalised and non-dominant communities. Such efforts, however, are also shaped by the larger, persistent infrastructural challenges in the access and use of the internet and digital technologies.

Drawing upon observations from an upcoming collaborative report looking at data and stories on the prevalence and use of languages online, and ongoing research on Indian language Wikimedia communities, this presentation will offer some reflections on efforts and challenges in creating a multilingual internet. It will focus on aspects of digitalisation and representation of languages online, and its impact on the development and access to digital infrastructures. It will also attempt to look at how learnings from these initiatives may inform the growth of fields such as DH and digital cultures, across diverse contexts.

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Translating Tech: Urdu Social Media Discourse and the Question of Secularism for Postcolonial Digital Humanities

Max Johnson Dugan and Elliot Montpellier (University of Pennsylvania, USA)

This paper describes the function and genesis of IRSAAL-Urdu, a novel application of Google Sheets for the analysis of Urdu discourse online. This tool prioritizes openness, ease of use, and extensibility in its low technical bar for entry, robust documentation, and easily customized components. In particular, the paper details the postcolonial DH stream from which it emerges, the method for its use, its extension of DH work with right-to-left (RTL) languages, and some use-cases for its application. The “messiness” — e.g. idiosyncratic transliteration of Urdu into Latin script or frequency of multiscript tweets — of Urdu datasets drawn from social media and digital forums hinders text analysis. These challenges stem from the neocolonial normativization of left-to-right scripts (Risam 2018) and capital-driven sequestering of tools by the tech industry (Benjamin 2019; D’Ignazio and Klein 2020). Our project builds on these by pushing against the persistent colonial secularism that undergirds knowledge production about Islamic phenomena (Asad 2003 and 2018; Fadil 2019). Scholars have taken generative steps toward regularizing Urdu corpora from digital spaces (Irvine et al. 2012, Sharf and Ur Rahman 2017). At the same time, their methods require substantial technical knowledge and deprioritize non-Urdu terms, especially English words and Islamic expressions that draw from Arabic (e.g. ما شاء الله, mashAllah, ma sha’ Allah, mash’Allah, mA, etc.). In contrast, IRSAAL-Urdu prioritizes a short technical learning curve and corpora-specific extensibility. Additionally, certain features of IRSAAL-Urdu, such as the word bank and transliteration rules, facilitate new research collaboration between scholars working with Urdu corpora. Ultimately, we elaborate how regularizing orthographic variability in the digital culture in Islamic South Asia and its diasporas widens the analytical scope for scholars working with multiscript, multilingual, and religiously-inflected datasets emerging from Muslim digital worlds.

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10:50am – 12:10pm – Transforming Pedagogy and Curriculum: Challenges and Insights

Defining the Transnational through Anti-colonial Digital Humanities Pedagogy

Ashley Caranto Morford (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), USA)
Kush Patel (Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design, and Technology, India)
Arun Jacob (University of Toronto, Canada)

While the common perception of the digital is as a global, democratic environment, there are countless ways that digital environments are inaccessible and oppressive. One way we witness the fallacy of the global digital is through the nationalism [1] of many DH pedagogies. With Silicon Valley, the pervasiveness of US capital, and US imperialism, the nationalism of digital spaces is often US-centered [2]. Nevertheless, we have also witnessed DH nationalism beyond the US, including within Global South, purportedly postcolonial, contexts. We see the move to nationalistic DH as part of a colonial digital divide. The project of Digital India, for example, extends right-wing Hindu nationalist and settler colonial mobilizing to digital learning, increasingly in the name of “decolonizing” how, what, and where we learn with/in the digital. This digital nationalism enacts digital erasures of Indigenous, Black, Dalit-Bahujan, queer, feminist, and disability justice scholars who push against the nation-state.

Our collective, Pedagogy of the Digitally Oppressed, seeks to refuse digital nationalism. By starting as a coalition, and working within university and community coalitions, our approach to pedagogy follows Paulo Freire’s call for conscientization through learning and teaching: to become aware of the sources of one’s oppression—including nationalistic impulses—and critically reflect on that oppression to imagine a co-liberatory future. In this presentation, we define the transnational as the dialectic of the digital nationalist, contending with a series of questions related to digital nationalism as it relates to DH pedagogy: What does it mean to teach a transnational, translocal DH, and why is this crucial to anti-colonial DH? How have we fallen short in our practice and how are we working to be accountable to this need? At the heart of this presentation and these questions is a larger project of defining what must be an integral keyword in DH pedagogy: transnational.


[1] That is, nation-state nationalism is different from Indigenous nationhood, and this is an integral distinction. Nation-state nationalism perpetuates colonial movements and ideologies of patriotism, whereas Indigenous nationhood is grounded in the anti-colonial sovereignty and knowledge systems of Indigenous nations, which have continued to survive and thrive despite the violence of settler colonial nation-states.

[2] By US-centered, we specifically mean the settler colonial US regime, not the sovereign Indigenous lands which are currently occupied by the US nation-state nor the Indigenous peoples who have always been sovereign and distinct from the US nation-state.

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Humanidades transdisciplinares en la UniverCiudad: el caso del grado en Humanidades Digitales Globales de Mondragon Unibertsitatea

Aitor Zuberogoitia and Beñat Flores (Mondragon Unibertsitatea, Spain)

La creciente urbanización ha hecho que las universidades reflexionen sobre su relación con las ciudades y desarrollen formas de aprovechar el potencial urbano para enriquecer su oferta educativa y preparar mejor a los estudiantes para el futuro. Esta tendencia emerge en un momento en que cada vez desde más instancias se aboga por la transdisciplinariedad como vía para abordar desafíos sociales complejos. El presente artículo describe cómo una facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación ha afrontado ambas tendencias, expandiendo su ámbito de actuación desde su base rural-industrial a un área metropolitana mediante el lanzamiento de un nuevo título de grado en Humanidades Digitales Globales basado en la transdisciplinariedad y la investigación-acción. Este título tiene como objetivo contribuir a la transformación social de la región. Para ello, en su primer curso los alumnos analizaron la ciudad desde diversas perspectivas (la identitaria, la económica, la tecnológica y la relativa a la sostenibilidad), identificaron necesidades sociales y, a través de un proceso de co-creación en colaboración con agentes sociales, diseñaron distintos prototipos para cubrir dichas necesidades valiéndose de tecnologías como la impresión 3D, la realidad aumentada, la edición de vídeo o la programación de arduino. Los prototipos fueron presentados en un evento celebrado al final del curso académico 2020-21, evento al que asistieron los propios estudiantes, sus profesores, miembros de diversas empresas, instituciones y asociaciones locales, y el coordinador del laboratorio urbano ubicado en el campus. El grado de satisfacción expresado por los asistentes fue alto y todos ellos subrayaron la importancia de profundizar en las relaciones entre la universidad y los agentes locales (una característica definitoria del funcionamiento de esta universidad) a fin de enriquecer el ecosistema de innovación social que se pretende crear en el campus.

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Edición de textos y cuestión idiomática: impresiones de un primer acercamiento a las Humanidades Digitales

María Agustina Ryckeboer (Universidad del Salvador, Argentina)

Esta presentación busca resaltar las principales impresiones de mi primer acercamiento a las Humanidades Digitales (HD) a través de la denominada minimal computing, pensándolas desde un contexto de reflexión relacionado con el multilingüismo y las HD globales que me brindó el curso Digital Editions with Minimal Computing, a cargo de Raff Viglianti, Gimena del Rio y docentes de CONICET (Argentina).
Creo que uno de los primeros aspectos a tener en cuenta para un hispanohablante que se acerca a las HD es la cuestión idiomática: el inglés quizá no sea un factor excluyente, pero su desconocimiento genera problemas a la hora de trabajar, por ejemplo, con el marcado XML-TEI, HTML y CSS. El acceso al código y al marcado permite otro tipo de acercamiento al texto, más profundo, más detallista, la lectura no solo se centra en el relato que brinda el texto sino en los mismos términos y palabras utilizadas, en la puntuación, en los modos de expresarse, en la presentación estética y su formato, pero hace que los hispanohablantes tengamos que pasar constantemente de una lengua a otro, provocando otro tipo de acercamiento al texto, más complejo, y en algunos casos, cuando las traducciones no son exactas o cercanas a nuestro universo, forzado.
En otro orden de cosas, este ida y vuelta en el uso de las distintas lenguas también tuvo un impacto en cómo buscamos mostrar las ediciones digitales en nuestro curso. Al desarrollar nuestros sitios web comprendimos que la posibilidad de realizar una versión bilingüe permite un mayor alcance de lectores y usuarios. La mayor parte de los trabajos que no sean bilingües pueden excluir a un gran número de lectores; incluso en el caso de sitios web donde las indicaciones están solamente en inglés, esto hace su navegación más difícil, aunque el texto editado esté en un idioma distinto.
Traeré algunos ejemplos del trabajo realizado en el curso y de la edición digital de un texto multilingüe sobre el que trabajé: https://raffazizzi.gitlab.io/helados-in-dh-group

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Cistern: a Database of Geographical Knowledge in the Ottoman World

Merve Tekgürler (Stanford University, USA) – Presenting
Adrien Zakar (University of Toronto, Canada) – Presenting
Isin Taylan (Yale University, USA) – Presenting
Umar Patel (Stanford University, USA) – Presenting
Jayna Huang (Monte Vista High School, USA)

This project titled “Cistern: a Database of Geographical Knowledge in the Ottoman World” brings together a wide range of geographical books, atlases, land descriptions, and maps in Turkish, Arabic, English, and French produced between the 18th and the 20th-centuries, comprising over 3,000 items, into a searchable corpus. At the level of methodology, this research seeks to reorient the history of late Ottoman science and technology by focusing on objects rather than great personalities while preserving the multilingualism that characterized the Ottoman polity. The particularities of this research, which methodologically raises questions of gender, authority, knowledge production, and transnationalism, is particularly well suited to serve as a medium and common ground to articulate questions around inclusion, equity, diversity, collaboration, and solidarity among various communities of equity-seeking students of Ottoman history. The DH aspects of our research included the development of a database out of two large textual volumes and other documents gathered by team-members. We additionally worked on a demo (https://bit.ly/cisternwebsite) and experimented with dissemination through the design of a prototype 3D research space and game (https://bit.ly/cisternvideo). We scanned and OCR’ed these volumes to turn them into text files that can be read while coding in Jupyter Notebooks using Python programming language. With the help of our two interns, we used regular expressions, a Natural Language Processing technique that allowed us to identify certain text sections and extract them, to create the skeleton of the database. The main challenge was that while the volumes were in Turkish with occasional Arabic and Ottoman Turkish source fragments, the interns did not read Turkish and the computational approaches that we used, were developed with English texts in mind. Collaborating with students in this environment taught us a lot about the pedagogical limits and horizons of DH in Ottoman studies

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