Monday, April 12

10:20 – 11:50 am

The Programming Historian: A Global Case Study in Multilingual Open Access and DH Tutelage/Instruction

Daniel Alves (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal)
Jennifer Isasi (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Sarah Melton (Boston College, USA)
Sofia Papastamkou (Institut de recherches historiques du Septentrion, France)
Jessica Parr (Simmons College, USA)
Riva Quiroga (Catholic University of Chile, Chile)
Nabeel Siddiqui (Susquehanna University, USA)
Brandon Walsh (University of Virginia, USA)

Taking advantage of the virtual format of the symposium, and at a time when open access resources are most needed by the digital scholarship community, the Programming Historian convenes in a panel for the first time to present its achievements and challenges in their inclusive, four-language journal initiative. During this session the presenters will focus on the strategies each journal has adopted to bring digital scholarship methods to a global audience that will reach 1,5 million just in 2020. In turn, this will serve as an overview of the changes the journal has undergone in its twelve-year history in order to become the flagship journal in DH methods.

From an English-language to Translation-ready Journal

The English edition of Programming Historian first launched in 2008 as an introductory resource to Python, but expanded its editorial team and focus in 2012. As the first of the language team, the English-language publication served as the original model of intake, publication, and open peer-review, a model that has proven successful over the years with over 90 lessons published to date. This presentation will cover, in particular, some of the technical challenges posed by the journal’s infrastructure and publishing workflows as they pertain to producing translation-ready materials.

Translation Is Not Enough: Localized Resource Writing through Community Building

Programming Historian en español was the first non-English version of the journal that started as a translation project. However, the editors promptly realized said effort wasn’t meeting the realities of readers from Latin America and the Caribbean. First, many of the resources used in the lessons are not available to them as they might have different technical knowledge or access to different technologies, or simply cannot read English on GUIs. Second, translation labor remains to be valued for jobs in the region. We share the successful outcomes of a grant-funded writing workshop, in Bogotá, in which participants created Spanish-language content that centers their knowledge while building community.

Working Within Our Capacities

Programming Historian en français was the second non-English language team, and joined the project in 2018. The team strives to be culturally inclusive within the diverse Francophonie, while navigating the problems of precarity among team members, and trying to secure institutional funding for outreach efforts, a goal not yet attained. Despite these challenges, PH en français has been highly successful at community building, and quickly produced a number of spontaneous translation proposals and original lessons within a year of its launch. This talk will focus on the process of working within these limits while continuing to successfully publish 14 lessons to date in French.

Why and How to Repurpose Educational Resources for the Community

The idea of Programming Historian em português came up in 2018 in a Twitter exchange. As some English lessons in translation were already being used by humanistas digitais in classes and projects, 3 researchers from Portugal and 2 from Brazil formed a Lusophone team, got a grant focused on educational material from Fundação Getúlio Vargas and swiftly began to translate the journal’s framework. As the most recent editors to join the initiative (not yet launched as Nov 2020), the presentation will focus on the process of recreating a journal in this language with an eye on the Portuguese-speaking DH community.

Joining Programming Historian: My DH Background Is Not Enough

Sustaining a four-language, open access journal on a static website has relocated complexities and the skills required from editors has now reached a steep learning curve. The editorial board has created a set of onboarding pipelines, learning material and shadowing practices that hope to reduce such obstacles; unfortunately, we have not been able to mitigate them yet. One of the newest editors will share their bittersweet experience in joining this diverse, international team with an intricate workflow based on GitHub.

Current Global Initiatives and Future Directions

We have a team dedicated to facilitate the addition of new languages and look for opportunities to foster collaborations with other groups that are undertaking global DH initiatives. Part of our work entails participation in grant-writing initiatives to facilitate new writing workshops and training opportunities for DH practitioners and aspirants in under-resourced countries. As the closing remarks, this portion of the panel will speak more specifically to our strategies, current global initiatives, and goals for the future.

Return to Monday schedule

12:00 – 1:00 pm – Convergences of Past and Present in Games and Social Media

Sojourners Trail: The First Afrofuturist Classroom Game

Walter Greason (Monmouth University, USA)

Access the game here

Before the pandemic, educational technology could be considered a luxury. Educators no longer have that option. Digital puzzles and games have become an integral part of daily instruction. Sojourners Trail represents the next generation of immersive, digital simulations for every level of education. Starting with the Wakanda Syllabus in 2016 and based on the subsequent educational text, Cities Imagined, Sojourners Trail allows instructors to use principles of user experience design and digital humanities to explore the Black Speculative Arts Movement with their students. Additionally, as these learning communities explore the simulated environment, they experience lessons from world history, critical theory, and post-colonial literature. Initially presented at the Australia and New Zealand American Studies Association meeting in 2019, the initial version of the game inspired new ways to excite students about the learning process, while giving them ownership of the development of new content. The beta launch of the game in August 2020 attracted millions of users, and the initial guide to the game will be released in December 2020. The final version of the game as a 3D augmented and virtual reality system will be available in 2022. Moving beyond the standard game play environments like Minecraft and Fortnite, Sojourners Trail provides instructors with ways to deliver advanced and emerging academic content across disciplines. The audience for this presentation will learn how to create their own immersive simulations as well as how to develop specific platforms like Sojourners Trail. The concept for the system started with Bowdoin University’s “Flight to Freedom” simulation based on abolitionist narratives written by African Americans in the nineteenth century. More recent breakthroughs like Damian Duffy and John Jennings’ Kindred and Parable of the Sower graphic novels have enabled graphic and digital arts to inform new innovations. The process of creating Sojourners Trail combined aspects of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther film and Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch production. It offers ways to combine literary analysis with graphic art design, while advancing strategies for media convergence.

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Reading between the Tweet-lines: Visas and their Discontents

Dharshani Lakmali Jayasinghe (Stanford University, USA)

This talk explores the ways in which visa law and policy impinge on fundamental human rights and dignities, particularly those of already vulnerable individuals and communities. I will engage with questions of race and ethnicity within the broader framework of immigration law by studying the discriminatory, neo-colonial, and racist biases underlying certain practices of visa law. The talk builds upon my work using traditional close-reading methods to analyze literature and film to demonstrate how such laws have had a negative impact particularly on human dignity since the 1930s, and how laws introduced to limit the movement of Jews pre-WWII have been adapted to control and restrict the freedom of movement of citizens from the Global South. I will discuss how I undertook an analysis of around 5000 Tweets collected in 2020 related to visas. Using digital humanities methods such as NER and topic modeling I analyzed the key themes and concerns that are highlighted in the discourse related to visas on Twitter. I identified the most frequently used vocabulary by counting word occurrences in these Tweets. The results revealed how a large percentage of Tweets expressed some form of unhappiness or discontent related to visas or the larger immigration process that required the applicant to obtain visas. I also analyzed the Tweets for geographical origins / location of user, which provided a reasonable understanding of the origins of citizens who faced visa-related issues. The connection between the high frequency vocabulary, the general unhappiness with the visa process associated with these words, and the points of origins of these Tweets support a general observation that supports my initial hypothesis: that an inequal and racially biased series of practices sustain the visa system, and that it impinges on the rights and dignities of applicants, especially those from the Global South.

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Storytelling as disinformation: Post-truth in Modi’s India

Nashra Mahmood (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)

Access the Storymap/slides here

The story of the Ayodhya Verdict began on December 6th, 1992, when a mob of Hindu nationalists demolished the Babri Mosque, a mosque believed to have been built in 1527. Hindu nationalists destroyed the mosque because they believed its site was originally the birthplace of God Rama. The legal debate surrounding who legitimately owned the land recently got resolved in late 2019 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Hindu nationalists, who had petitioned for legal permission to construct a Rama Temple in place of the Babri Mosque. This project seeks to study the convergences and slippages that occur when Twitter articulates and disarticulated with Hindi newspaper, Dainik Jagran, regarding this critical event. It discusses how #AyodhyaVerdict operates as an archive that actively negotiates and revises cultural histories and facts in real-time. I examine how the social affordances of Twitter are responsible not just for moderating information but also for curating it. When an enormous burden of knowledge curation shifts onto Twitter users, especially during periods of socio-political turmoil or change, the act of storytelling or “news-making” is likely to be influenced by propaganda and sensationalism. I argue how the tweets under #AyodhyaVerdict exemplify how Indian Twitter users recast past historical grievances through the lens of current events in India to debate upon the indigeneity of the land on which the Ram Mandir will stand. Using text analysis, image analysis, and topic modeling experiments as my primary modes of inquiry, I explore how the emic category of Kafir (non-believer or infidel) produces conditions of possibility for abusive exchanges to take place on Twitter (Udupa 2018). Conversely, its absence in Dainik Jagran suggests different rhetoric of irony and sarcasm exercised through Sanskritized Hindi.

Return to Monday schedule

Tuesday, April 13

9:00 – 10:30 am – Lightning Talks

Closing Collection Gaps

Long-term research endeavor: Developing trajectories for critical Cultural Analytics and Digital Humanities

Natalia Grincheva (National Research University “Higher School of Economics” and University of Melbourne, Australia)

My presentation will contribute to two important topics of the DH Symposium, such as “Productive failure – Failure as a part of DH praxis” and “Critical cultural studies and analytics.”

First, it will demonstrate a creative-based DH research project Museum Soft Power Map, developed in collaboration with the Australian Center for the Moving Image. This project successfully trialed a first in the world dynamic web application (http://victoriasoftware.com/demo/) that can measure and map museum soft power (Watch a 2 min video demo here). The project employed geo-visualization, data mining and digital storytelling to develop a deep mapping application that can demonstrate museum global influence across six key layers of soft power from mere resources to social outputs to economic outcomes. This system correlates multiple sets of museum collections, visitation, programming and revenue data with demographic statistics and cultural analytics of specific locations, understanding them as politically, culturally, and economically defined locales.

Second, my presentation will address important critique of cultural analytics and DH data-intensive research as a valid methodology to explore different cultural phenomena. Current academic scholarship warned that in many cases DH and data intensive methods substitute knowledge generation and production of theory with mere visualization. For example, Martinho (2018) argued that “visualization becomes a research routine, compensating for the lack of a theoretical framework by reinforcing technological and methodological procedures [… and] produces an effect of naivety.” Sullivan and Wendrich (2015) stressed that GIS presents information in a “distinctly positivist way” by emphasizing the importance of quantitative (rather than qualitative) data and fails to move from “GIS as system to GIS as science.” In response to these concerns, my presentation will discuss how Museum Soft Power Map can be employed as an inductive exploratory research platform to identify, articulate and validate important questions of global cultural, social, and political geography. It will demonstrate the value of the DH cultural analytics platform as a knowledge system to pave an avenue for a long-term research endeavor.

Return to Tuesday schedule

Recovering Spectral Presences in the “Universal” Digital Library

Eleanor Dickson-Koehl (HathiTrust Research Center, University of Michigan, USA)
J. Stephen Downie (HathiTrust Research Center, University of Illinois)
Ryan Dubnicek (HathiTrust Research Center, University of Illinois, USA)
Maryemma Graham (University of Kansas, USA)
Jade Harrison (University of Kansas, USA)
John Walsh (HathiTrust Research Center, Indiana University, USA)
Glen Worthey (HathiTrust Research Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)

As digital libraries grow more massive and more heavily relied upon in scholarly research, we are  obliged to reflect on the increasingly hidden absences they contain.  While we have some idea of what we have in our digital libraries, do we know what we don’t have?

Whether the writings of Black, indigenous, or other marginalized communities of color; works of linguistic or ideological minorities; or examples of neglected or excluded genres — any spectral or token presence they have can sometimes be seen as faint glimmers in the catalog. But their absences are invisible.

This presentation describes a multi-institutional effort to collaborate with scholars to identify and recover texts both hidden in and absent from one of the largest-ever academically focused digital libraries.  Together, we are developing and curating reusable worksets and research models using these texts from our 17-million-volume digital library, as well as new methods for their analysis, with an emphasis on historically under-resourced and marginalized textual communities. These texts, once recovered, curated, and analyzed, will help document, preserve, and promote their communities, and will help make our library more just, inclusive, and representative.

We believe that only working together as librarians and scholars of marginalized communities can we be sensitized to the blind spots that are magnified in the massive-scale digital libraries we’re building and sustaining.  Without such interventions, negligible presences become even more invisible as the general collections grow inevitably ever larger.  Our project fights against the normalization of historical exclusion, seeking to bring these spectral presences in the library to light. 

At the same time, we’re carving a new path through one of the minefields of digital research — that of imagined universality and comprehensiveness, but of actual historical exclusion, ghosting, and gaps — and are helping one of the world’s largest digital libraries confront its own exclusions and commit to a corrective.

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A Data Feminist Approach to Studying the C19 Social Network of German-Americans

Jana Keck (German Historical Institute, Washington D.C., USA)

In the nineteenth century, the German-language newspapers were the most widespread non-English newspapers in the U.S. They addressed a very heterogenous target group in terms of gender, class and (national) identity and functioned as powerful tools to retain language and preserve culture. So far, research on America’s German-language press can be summarized as relatively limiting due to the sheer bulk of material and as limited because even the studies using the newspapers embody overwhelmingly white, old, and male migration experiences. The recent digitization of newspapers marks an inflection point to study multiple migrant networks and simultaneously offer ways to challenge sexism and underrepresentation in migration studies. As D’Ignazio and Klein illustrate in Data Feminism, data science has the potential to uncover, update and modify hierarchical (and empirically wrong) classification systems. We have to pay attention to the algorithms that determine the relevance and the order of results because they lead to certain information being read and others not. In my study, I use C19 German-American newspapers and the C21 digitized corpus of those newspapers (1830-1914) to examine text reuse, that is the practice of obtaining, selecting and faithfully reproducing news content. In this presentation, I will show how my computational model is influenced by a feminist politics of knowledge production in order to focus on that which has been systematically neglected: migrant women’s lives and experiences. By uncovering texts by and for women, which were shared across states and decades, the objective is to display the diverse role of women as authors and readers in the immigrant press. The patterns and models of textuality and circulation point us back toward the archive suggesting new questions about equality, motherhood, beauty, or women’s rights and contributes to the (re-)discovery of forgotten or unknown authors in the history of German-American migration.

Return to Tuesday schedule

Collaborative and Community Based Scholarship

dLOC as Data: A Thematic Approach to Caribbean Newspapers

Perry Collins (University of Florida, USA)

This presentation will offer a concise snapshot of work-in-progress on an initiative supported by the Collections as Data program. Focusing on Caribbean newspaper titles, from 2020-2021 this grant project aims to (1) make openly available for bulk download text and image data for about twenty titles, including linguistic, temporal, and geographic coverage across the Caribbean; (2) develop a thematic online toolkit sharing and contextualizing newspaper data related to hurricanes and tropical storms; and (3) engage a wider community in a series of workshops on the ethical uses of disaster-related newspaper data.

This lightning talk will offer a very brief summary of the project goals, but will focus on actionable ways in which the audience may access the data, understand how to use it for research and teaching, and participate in upcoming workshops. We hope to broaden awareness and spur interest in this and related efforts to make available Caribbean newspapers, a key set of sources vital to understanding the history of the region.

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Accessibility and Crip Community at a Distance

Jessica Stokes and Michael Stokes (Michigan State University, USA)

During the rise of COVID-19 in the US and the fall of 2020, our research workshop collaborated to create a project that moves between art, academia, and the community. This project took the form of a hybrid digital/material zine. The zine was assembled into two online formats (one large print Google Document, one digitally tagged .pdf file) and two material formats (one paper zine, and one paper zine covered in braille gloss). Historically, zines have been a cheap format to spread ideas and community. Early zines of science fiction were used to rank favorite stories, to propagate fan theories, and to form social groups; however, they sometimes served gatekeeping functions and limited participation in sf communities, upholding some (white, male) voices and erasing others. In the decades since, zines have been used to make space for people whose ideas and voices have been suppressed in their subcultures (e.g. Riot Grrrl zines that pushed back against the “male-driven punk world of the past”). However, the cheap, easily distributed format was often inaccessible to disabled readers. Our digital zine project seeks to make space for scholarship/poetics/art that challenge notions of the boundaries and definitions of each of these genres while reimagining accessibility and community. The hybrid digital/material zine is a collaboration of seventeen socially-distant contributors including commentary, collage, short stories, a play, paintings, and poetry. The submissions are loosely themed around notions of the human, human and more-than-human relations, questions on the limits of representation, and an embrace of the affective and embodied possibilities and pains in the overlaps and tensions of disability studies and animal studies. This lightning presentation discusses the collaboration process in the age of COVID, the digital zine format, and the process of making the zine digitally accessible to multiple bodyminds.

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Continuing the Conversation around Afrofuturism: The Black Fantastic Bibliography Project

Clarissa West-White (Bethune-Cookman University, USA) and Seretha D. Williams (Augusta University, USA)

Maryemma Graham’s Project on the History of Black Writing (1983), Marcia Chatelain’s Ferguson Syllabus (2014), Keisha Blain, et. al.’s Charleston Syllabus (2015), Candice Benbow’s Lemonade Syllabus (2016), Christen Smith’s Cite Black Women (2017), and Stephanie Evans’s The Black Women’s Studies Booklist (2018) inform the praxis and purpose of Third Stone Journal’s Black Fantastic Bibliography Project. The aforementioned digital projects engage with and challenge historical modes of knowledge production and create opportunities for scholars, practitioners, enthusiasts, and activists to come together in community. The syllabus, for example, responds to an event and connects an audience to a broader conversation that informs or influences the event. The syllabus contextualizes an event, and in that respect, the Black Fantastic Bibliography Project builds upon the conversation by annotating the cultural artifacts associated with an event or historical moment.

The Black Panther film is the nexus between the what could be and the what could have been of Black futurity. Afrofuturism and its incarnations is reflective and invested in recovery and reclamation. The bibliography, then, is a technology for recovering Black artifacts and resituating those artifacts alongside contemporary entries in an attempt to define what we mean by Afrofuturism, African-futurism, and other modes of the Black Fantastic. While curated lists are integral to decentering canonical ethnocentrism and paternalism, we propose that by inviting practitioners, activists, enthusiasts, and scholars to annotate our living list of Black Fantastic artifacts we disrupt and even circumvent the academy. Furthermore, the curated list is freely available to the public as are the published entries.

In this presentation, we will discuss our efforts to curate a list of artifacts that contain characteristics of the Black Fantastic, to recruit annotaters, and to cultivate an intellectual hub for the consideration of Black Futurity. Additionally, we will argue that the annotated bibliography remains an important research technology to use in tandem with digital search tools. Annotated bibliographies can be extensive and exhaustive in their coverage of topics and they can provide a synthesis of information in ways that databases cannot. The Black Fantastic Bibliography Project aims to bridge and fill gaps in our understanding of Afrofuturism.

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Power and Equity in Digital Systems

“Tally Tracker Explorer”: Communicated Scholarship and Digital Humanities on Public Surveillance

Scott Bailey, Kelsey Dufresne, Micah Vandegrift (North Carolina State University, USA)

The Internet is home to often invisible networks of power, control, and data collection. Tally, a spunky and squeaking pink blob, aims to make these invisible forces visible and their issues material while simultaneously developing digital accountabilities and subsequent critical resistance to continuous and covert surveillance and data extraction. Tally Saves the Internet (2020, https://tallysavestheinternet.com) is a browser extension game and a tool that reminds internet-users: “Play the game. Block the trackers. Fight for your right to be let alone.” Sneakaway Studios partnered with our library, with financial support from a national foundation, to adapt Tally Saves the Internet into a virtual reality experience titled “Tally Tracker Explorer.”

This presentation will offer a perspective on critical making and digital humanities using the project development process around “Tally Tracker Explorer” as a case study in communicated scholarship, prioritizing pressing issues of data and user surveillance, security, and autonomy in digital exploration. As Tally reminds us: “Surveillance and behavioral targeting is not normal, nor should it be a business model!” Importantly, this presentation will also offer an example of our program’s focus on the development of digital scholarship outputs to reprioritize that which is recognized as valuable labor in academia, that which is most recognized and rewarded for tenure, the challenges of making large scale projects during the global pandemic, and utilizing creative process and projects to advance an inchoate research agenda on data equity and critical computation in the “Data Science University.”

Immersive Scholar. Micah Vandegrift, Shelby Hallman, Walt Gurley, Mildred Nicaragua, Abigail Mann, Mike Nutt, Markus Wust, Greg Raschke, Erica Hayes, Jasmine Lang, David Reagan, Eric Johnson, Chris Hoffman, Patrick Rashleigh, Robert Wallace, William Mischo, Elisandro Cabada. Released on GitHub and Open Science Framework. Accessible at https://osf.io/3z7k5/

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Disrupting Digital Monolingualism

Paul Spence (King’s College London, UK)

In June 2020 a two-day workshop titled ‘Disrupting digital monolingualism’ was held , bringing together leading researchers, educators, digital practitioners, language-focused professionals, policy makers and other interested parties to address the challenges of multilingualism in digital spaces and to collectively propose new models and solutions.

The workshop aimed to combine both conceptual (strategy, policy and theory) and practical perspectives (digital ecosystems, methods and tools with a focus on language), and in so doing to strengthen connections between numerous overlapping digital and languages-driven conversations and initiatives along four axes of action:

• Linguistic and geocultural diversity in digital knowledge infrastructures
• Working with multilingual data
• Transcultural and translingual approaches to digital study
• Artificial intelligence, machine learning and NLP in language worlds

This presentation will discuss the challenges in organising the event, which took place soon after lockdown caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, and will present outcomes and future plans.

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Adversarial examples y la resistencia a la clasificación de los sistemas de vigilancia y control algorítmico

Hugo Felipe Idárraga Franco (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia)

La clasificación es una práctica social y política que ha estado ligada históricamente a la estadística y con ella a sistemas de vigilancia y control social. El funcionamiento de los modelos de Machine Learning, basados en redes neuronales artificiales, dependen de la clasificación estadística de los datos. Gran parte de los modelos de clasificación están ligados íntimamente a intereses corporativos y policiales que se despliegan en sistemas de vigilancia y control algorítmico, definiendo la identidad de lo normal y anormal a partir de una media estadística, pero también a partir de unas visiones de mundo que se encarnan en el funcionamiento mismo de estas redes neuronales. Esta clasificación algorítmica termina en muchos casos perjudicando a personas o comunidades históricamente discriminadas, reproduciendo así relaciones coloniales y de dominación. Frente a estos problemas, los Adversarial Examples se presentan en el campo del Machine Learning como una excusa para pensar en las estrategias o contra-mecanismos clasificación algorítmica, abriendo el campo a diferentes prácticas políticas y estéticas que cuestionan esta clasificación y los intereses que la animan. También, los Adversarial Examples permiten pensar en prácticas de-coloniales que con el mestizaje propongan formas de resistencia desde el sur global, frente a un reordenamiento colonial de los datos y las identidades. La presentación, además de exponer desde las Humanidades Digitales algunos problemas políticos, estéticos y epistemológicos insertos en el funcionamiento de los modelos de Machine Learning aplicados a sistemas de vigilancia y control social, se detendrá a analizar algunas de las más recientes prácticas artísticas que cuestionan estas tecnologías, así como las posibles respuestas que pueden emerger desde el contexto latinoamericano a partir de la diferencia, de las identidades mestizas, de la clasificación como sistema de sometimiento colonial, pensando críticamente un poder dependiente de una elevada vigilancia y control policial.

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10:40 am – 12:10 pm

The Articulation of #BorderlandsDH through Micro Approaches and Local Practices

Carolina Alonso (Fort Lewis College, USA), Sylvia Fernández (University of Kansas, USA), Verónica Romero (University of Houston, USA), Joel Zapata (Oregon State University, USA)

Roopika Risam in New Digital Worlds brings to dialogue this question: What does digital humanities look like for our communities, our institutions, our students?. This panel will respond to this question by articulating micro DH approaches and local practices in the context of Borderlands-Latinx studies, communities, and students. This panel convenes members and participants of United Fronteras, a transborder digital initiative, to reflect on the development, impacts and approaches of projects from the Global North and South. Together these speakers will articulate a postcolonial vision of Borderlands DH through local practices and micro DH approaches to expand the understanding of global DH. The panel will be bilingual with one presentation in English and three in Spanish.

A Promising Problem: Latinx Digital Humanities

Digital humanities have a problem, the lack of diversity. Latinx studies, especially Latinx history, also has a problem, the dearth of digital humanities within the field(s). These are promising problems, however. They provide a wide space for new opportunities and innovation. Latinx DH has especially considered how Latina/os have joined communities and made local economies as well as cultural life flourish throughout the United States. And more such digital projects are in development. Such work is decentering the traditional sense of place within Latina/o studies, pushing both Latinx DH and Latinx studies deeper into the nation’s interior.

Búsqueda y resiliencia: las madres víctimas de feminicidio y los “Ecos del desierto”

El documental, Las tres muertes de Marisela Escobedo (2020), ha logrado que audiencias fuera de México estén al tanto de la violencia de género y feminicidios en dicho país.“Ecos del desierto” recopila y amplifica testimonios de madres de víctimas de feminicidio que no encontraron justicia en un sistema patriarcal y misógino. Esta presentación resaltará historias de búsqueda y resiliencia de madres de la frontera mexicana presentadas en este proyecto. Asimismo, se creará un diálogo con proyectos de HD que documentan las desapariciones para resaltar cómo estos se han convertido en espacios de visibilidad, resistencia y denuncia en contra de los feminicidios.

Amplificación de perspectivas sobre la cultura fronteriza a través de plataformas digitales

Esta revisión representa una ventana a la cultura de la frontera que se exhibe a través de diferentes plataformas digitales para brindar a sus usuarios nuevas experiencias y aproximaciones de las manifestaciones de una cultura que se nutre de varios países, idiosincrasia, identidades e idiomas. El análisis incluye los proyectos: Juaritos Literario, Museo de Las Californias, Poets Against Border Walls, A Visual History of Chicano/a/x Literature y Red Nacional de Fonotecas Virtuales, ya que cada uno contempla aspectos artísticos incluyendo, literatura, música, fotografía y cine. Esta conversación busca ampliar las perspectivas sobre la cultura fronteriza como mecanismo de resistencia y expresión de sus comunidades.

Humanidades Digitales emergentes: de lo local a lo global a través de United Fronteras

El entendimiento de las humanidades digitales en un contexto global implica la contemplación de prácticas locales, aproximaciones micro y en muchos casos la desobediencia de la tecnología desde distintas perspectivas, comunidades y geografías. En esta presentación se abordarán las formas de utilizar tecnologías digitales para documentar, resistir y servir a las necesidades de comunidades que habitan/transitan en la región fronteriza México-Estados Unidos. Con esto en mente, a través del trabajo realizado por United Fronteras, al crear records digitales culturales transfronterizos y documentar la memoria histórica de las fronteras, se articulan unas humanidades digitales emergentes desde lo local para transgredir retos transnacionales, disciplinarios e inclusive lingüísticos.

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Wednesday, April 14

9:00 – 10:00 am – Layers of Power and Difference: Structures, Agencies, and Gaze

Babaylans from a Vantage Point: Gaze through the Virtual Space

jemuel jr. barrera garcia (University of California, Riverside, USA)

The presence of performers portraying a Babaylan (Filipino shaman) as one of the choreographic highlights in the street dance competition of the 50th Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City, Philippines elicits a variety of discourses among its spectators. One of the avenues where the dynamics of discussion became more apparent is YouTube that allowed elsewhere-located Filipinos to engage in a virtual discourse about the Babaylan performer. Hence, the paper aims to explore the dynamics of the elsewhere-located Filipinos’ gaze in the virtual experience of dealing with the Babaylan performer’s post-colonial body. The Babaylan performer’s post-colonial body is contextualized as a body that has suffered or inherited the consequences of colonization. The paper banked on Stuart Hall’s active audience theory that stresses how the spectators’ construct of what they have seen, heard or felt is affected by one’s identity, cultural knowledge and opinion leading to multiple interpretations of the same content. It also looked into Michel Foucault’s concept of gaze that stresses the construction not just of the object of knowledge but also the knower. From the analysis of the study, I argue that the elsewhere-located Filipinos view, shape, and understand the virtual performer’s Babaylan body through a revelation of the Filipino psyche, a Filipino decolonial and Indigenous conception by Virgilio Enriquez. Furthermore, I assert that as the elsewhere-located Filipino engage in the process of a layered gaze, “digitalism” takes place; a way for the Babaylan spirit to mediate with the online viewer. I further describe “digitalism” as an engraved talisman that activates itself when the virtual world is accessed— a virtual take on the concept of the Filipino as a ‘mythic man’ by Nestor Vicente Gonzalez. Finally, for the Babaylan spirit to manifest itself, the paper suggests that the elsewhere-located Filipinos negotiate coloniality to reclaim the Filipino’s deconstructed history and identity.

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Drawing Queer Intersections Through Video Game Archives

Xavier Ho (Monash University, Australia) and Cody Mejeur (University at Buffalo, SUNY, USA)

This presentation brings together and builds on previous studies of queer representation using the LGBTQ Video Game Archive and the Represent Me games database (Cole et al. 2017) in order to investigate unexplored trends and invisible queer intersections in video games. Specifically, we draw on Queer Intersections in Video Games (Mejeur 2018), a collection of visualizations of the Archive, and expand our scope on the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and class in queer representation. By zooming out and overlaying many representations at once, rather than focusing in on specific games, characters, or narratives, these visualizations reveal patterns that are often unexpected and difficult to see otherwise, such as the increasing Whiteness of queer representation or the shrinking proportion of lesbian characters compared to bisexual women characters. Further, this collection of visualizations aims to center intersectional perspectives on queerness in order to de-center the Whiteness of queer games and queer game studies (Russworm 2018; Russworm 2019; Ruberg & Phillips 2018).

In the process of highlighting trends and patterns in queer representation in video games, this presentation will also reflect on the difficulties inherent in queer visualization, which relies on information and elements that are often ambiguous, subtle, or incomplete. Indeed, it is problematic to draw clear lines and boundaries around queer identities, as defining, categorizing, and ordering queerness seems antithetical to its ability to “disturb the order of things” (Ahmed 2006, 161). Instead, we embrace the ambiguity as a generative tension and challenge to not just apply visualization methods to queer game studies, but further to play with and reimagine what queer visualizations can become. This presentation presents visualizations that are more fluid and adaptable, capable of addressing the queer ambiguities, growths, and movements across the spectra of gender and sexuality.

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Infrastructure as the Origin of Inequities: A Case of Global Digital Humanities

Urszula Pawlicka-Deger (King’s College London, UK)

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an exceptional time that forced society to shift everyday life to online spaces and create provisional forms of doing and acting. It has prompted a narrative of a compressed and connected world in a Zoom meeting. The pandemic outbreak, however, has also disclosed long-standing and deep structural inequities that run along demographic, geopolitical, and infrastructure fault lines. I argue that this is a good time to reconsider some of the pressing questions: How do the power dynamics of actors of knowledge production (e.g., information infrastructures, digital libraries, and publishers) define and materialize the contours of global science and humanities? Where are we now in our efforts to improve a networked global science and education based on values of equal access to resources, inclusive participation, and the diversity of epistemologies?

In this presentation, I aim to reflect on global dimensions of knowledge infrastructure to understand the specification and realization of global digital humanities – the branch of digital humanities (DH) focused on the global development of the field and representation of the DH community. I propose to look at the social side of the aspects of infrastructure – connection, standardization, and access – to comprehend the global configuration of DH. Along with the expansion across the world, DH communities face issues of unequal participation and opportunities in developing the field. I aim to show that discrepancies in the global development of DH lie at the root of existing infrastructure inequalities. Drawing on the field of science and technology studies, I argue that in order to overcome these imbalances, the community can seek to practice “infrastructuring” global DH; this means to build an inclusive network of unique nodes of local communities on the top of the geopolitical system of knowledge infrastructure.

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10:10 – 11:10 am – Ecologies and Modalities of Text

Ottoman Transkribus: Training an HTR+ Model for 18th century Ottoman Paleography

Merve Tekgürler (Stanford University, USA)

Handwritten text recognition (HTR) has emerged as an important method for digital humanities practice in the last decade, especially for the field of history. However, not all historical languages are supported by this new text recognition technology. Advances are especially slow when it comes to non-English, non-European languages. Hence the barriers to adopt DH methods, especially for textual analysis, are higher for some historians than others. Ottoman Turkish (OT), which was the language of the administration of the Ottoman Empire (1299/1302-1918), is among less accessible historical languages for DH research. This is due to the fact that OT was written in Arabic script and modern historical transcription conventions use latinized transcription alphabets, following the alphabet reform of Modern Turkish (MT). Additionally, not all vowels are written out or represented in the OT, whereas MT has 8 vowels, each with a letter assigned to it. As a result, the process of learning to transcribe is both a process of adjusting to a new script with a reversed writing direction (OT is Right to Left, whereas MT is Left to Right) and adding vowels. Due to these and many other difficulties, so far there is not even a full-text keyword search option in the Ottoman State Archives. Considering that there are over 40 million scanned pages currently available in the Archives, the need for a text recognition tool becomes eminent. This talk will present initial results from developing a HTR model using, Transkribus, an EU-funded software package that is designed to train machine-learning based HTR models. The goal of this project is not only to make OT more accessible through HTR but also to create the basis upon which new DH focused research can be built, including but not limited to distance reading and natural language processing based approaches.

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The Form of the Page: Preserving Standard Layout in Multimodal Presentations of Text

Joshua Waxman (Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University, USA)

Recent trends in the digital humanities include a move toward the creation of multimodal documents, often based on works which were previously purely textual. The layout of the multimodal document is divorced from its original format.

Our ongoing work on a digital presentation of the Babylonian Talmud encompasses several non-textual elements, such as relevant scholastic network graphs of the scholars engaged in debate, biographic background of said scholars, and color-coding sentences for discourse type. Additionally, we incorporate additional textual elements into the original purely consonantal Hebrew and Aramaic text, such as vowel diacritics, punctuation, and an English translation.

A tension exists between the traditional pagination / layout of the Tamud and a multimodal presentation. The Vilna Edition of the Talmud (typeset, printed in the 1870s and 1880s) is the standard / traditional presentation. A page of Talmud is hypertextual. The main text appears in a center column, and two commentaries wrap around this text. The amount of Talmudic text on a page is determined by typesetting concerns, so that all relevant commentary appears on the page. This typesetting (including which words appear on which line, and the width of lines) has been reproduced in subsequent printings, even as other aspects of the text have been tweaked, and is important to the acceptance of the text.

Religious and academic works refer to this pagination, e.g. Pesachim 20a, much as Plato scholars refer to pages in the Stephanus printing; Aristotle scholars refer to the page, section and line number in the Bekker printing; or legal scholars refer to pagination in Blackstone.

Starting with text and metadata of the Vilna printing, we align our new text (often wider due to punctuation and markup) via Needleman-Wunsch to ensure a standard pagination and typesetting. Other multimodal aspects are superimposed on this standard form of the page.

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Teaching digital scholarly editing North and South in a Global Classroom

Romina De Léon, Gimena del Rio Riande, Nidia Hernández (CONICET, Argentina), Raffaele Viglianti (University of Maryland, USA)

This presentation will introduce the pedagogy behind the 2020 course Digital Publishing with Minimal Computing / Ediciones digitales con minimal computing, designed by researchers from the University of Maryland (United States) and CONICET (Argentina) to teach minimal computing approaches to North and South American students. The class is part of the Global Classroom Initiative at the University of Maryland (UMD) with students from both UMD and from Universidad del Salvador (USAL) in Buenos Aires. The course introduces students to digital publishing and textual scholarship, with minimal computing presented as a shared set of values: use of open technologies, ownership of data and code, reduction in computing infrastructure and, consequently, environmental impact.
Minimal computing can be a solution for the development of projects in the Global South, where access to infrastructure such as web hosting or even reliable and affordable Internet access is almost non-existent for humanities students and faculty. Our combined experiences presented our students with a perspective on minimal computing that is not entirely dependent on DH practices in the Global North, but rather one that is based on a shared digital commons. Our aim was emphasizing a pedagogy of multiliteracies and a polycentric DH perspective.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 class was structured as a project-based “online and virtual exchange”: students attended virtual lectures and collaborated online on a minimal digital edition via Slack and GitLab, with the support of the instructors. Shared lectures and communication were mostly in English, but the syllabus included course materials (tutorials, slides) and readings in both Spanish and English. Additionally, students were able to participate either using Spanish or English in class, following GO::DH whispering methods.This was meant to both facilitate content acquisition and to expose students to contributions that are not exclusively anglo-centric in learning about Digital Humanities and Digital Scholarly Editions in particular.

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11:20 am – 12:50 pm

Multilingual Pedagogy in the Digital Humanities Classroom: Case Studies from 2020

Quinn Dombrowski (Stanford University, USA)
Courtney Hodrick (Stanford University, USA)
Lakmali Jayasinghe (Stanford University, USA)
Eric Kim (Stanford University, USA)
Victoria Rahbar (Stanford University, USA)
Cecily Raynor (McGill University, Canada)
Merve Tekgürler (Stanford University, USA)

Digital humanities pedagogy—be it through online materials, afternoon workshops, week-long institutes, or full academic courses—often frames rhetorically as immediately applicable by students for their own research. The examples used in these teaching contexts are meant to be relatable in their structure, even as the instructor acknowledges that the specific details may vary. And yet, even as DH pedagogy has become more prevalent worldwide, the examples used in teaching frequently remain in English, even when the language of instruction is not. This has particularly detrimental results for students who want to apply DH methods to materials in other languages, which provide different technical impediments (e.g. the necessity of lemmatizing highly-inflected languages for word-count methods to “work”) and potential avenues of analysis (e.g. diminutives, levels of grammatical formality) than English.

All panelists have been involved with Digital Humanities Across Boundaries, a course held at Stanford University that centers non-English DH. Each student in the course brings their own materials in a non-English language of their choice, and learns how to apply DH methods to that language. Some languages are better-supported by existing computational tools than others, but students learn to identify and, where possible, work around the challenges specific to their language.

In lieu of formal individual presentations, we will begin with a brief description of the class in both its COVID and non-COVID iterations. Student panelists will then discuss what aspects of the class worked well for them, and where it faltered, based on their particular languages, projects, and circumstances. We will reflect on potential revisions for the next version of the class, and open the panel to the audience to discuss how we can all better support work on non-English languages in DH courses.

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Thursday, April 15

9:00 – 10:00 am – Digital, Social, and Interpretive Shifts: Imagining History and Text

Investigating Indentured Servitude

Cynthia Heider (American Philosophical Society, USA), Nicôle Meehan (University of St. Andrews, School of Art History, UK), Bayard L. Miller (American Philosophical Society, USA)

As part of its Open Data Initiative, the Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) at the American Philosophical Society creates publicly available datasets from library material. Our most recent project, Investigating Indentured Servitude, facilitates access to, and attempts to recover underrepresented voices from a record of over 5,000 indentured servants coming through the Port of Philadelphia from 1771-1773. This data has the potential to tell thousands of stories, and reveal new knowledge about migration, labor, and exploitation.

While opening up historical documents to computational analysis permits additional levels of access to collections, some datasets present more challenges than others, particularly when the data represents the human experience quantitatively. The processes of data collection, organization, interpretation, and visualization have the potential to enact, reify, or reinforce cultural and structural harms, biases, and inequalities. Due to the quantitative demands of computational analysis, even well-intentioned and careful data work may misrepresent the nuance, complexity, and uncertainty inherent in human lives and experiences. This project has allowed us to explore creating a responsibly humanistic approach to data. One that requires turning our gaze inwards, being honest about the decisions we make, and providing transparency around method and labor, as well as critical assessment of the data’s uncertainties, biases, and limitations.

A built-in feedback form has allowed us to engage with the public and see how stories of underrepresented individuals have resonated with our visitors. Early comments suggest that preconceptions of indentured servitude and its relation to slavery, as well as the role of women in the economy of labour and migration, have all been challenged. These responses will allow us to continue to refine our approach to this project, and those we may undertake in the future.

This presentation will discuss challenges the project team faced, lessons learned along the way, and next steps.

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Poetry about the 1968 Mexican Student Movement: An Approach from Testimony, Social Imaginaries, and Digital Humanities

Ricardo Huesca (Centro de Estudios de la Cultura y la Comunicación, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico)

With Voyant Tools I’m studied a series of poetic corpus generated about the 1968 student movement and its culmination with the massacre of October 2 is studied, an important episode for the contemporary history of Mexico. Through the platform and the visualization of the information enable, it is possible to observe new routes of interpretation in the study of extensive sets of poems. Such practice provides an alternative or complementary methodological support to formal poetic analysis, since the quantitative approach evidences textual relationships that are not explicit. With this type of digital tools, it is possible to identify the gestation of social imaginaries, stylistic tendencies, discursive and political strategies in a specific study.

From a corpus of three anthologies (155 poems in total), Voyant Tools reinforces the interpretation of the literary exercise and deciphers how, from the word and a committed feeling of resistance, literary voices in search of social justice materialize to legitimize the testimony of victims, in a production context dominated by social unrest due to censorship, violence and crimes without recognition carried out by the State.

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Voices from Sarajevo: Letters in the Digital Age

Una Tanovic (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA)

“Voices from Sarajevo” examines migration through the lens of digital technologies by investigating the politics and poetics of refugee e-epistolary networks. Today, with the availability of digital communications infrastructure, it is not difficult to imagine how refugees can keep in contact with the homeland and thus maintain a transnational rootedness. Social media, for example, has become an excellent site for witnessing refugees’ quest for maintaining personal networks via virtual communities. This paper contributes to the study of such virtual communities by routing their prehistory in the arena of epistolary correspondence prompted by forced migration. “Voices from Sarajevo” focuses in on a watershed moment in the letter’s progress from material object to digital artifact—the mid-1990s when the Internet first became a popular medium for personal communication. Zeroing in on the siege of Sarajevo (1992-1996), I address how an engaged community of activists used both analogue and digital means to carry correspondence in and out of the besieged city. These online/offline services combined computer-mediated communication with fax transmission, ham radio and door-to-door delivery to pass messages across battle lines and to connect communities in exile. Through a close examination of two refugee mail services, Sarajevo Pony Express (SPE) and PISMA (Servis za Pisma), I argue that studies on the importance of digital media to the development of present-day diaspora communities tend to over-emphasize the new affordances of social media, such as reach and simultaneity. Instead, I contend that by focusing in on the shift from print culture to a digital economy of correspondence, we can conclude that the malleable features of social media are best understood in terms of continuities and changes to the epistolary pact, i.e. the historically variable codes of relationship between writer and reader. Ultimately, this approach crystalizes the political question at the heart of refugee e-epistolarity: Who may cross which border and under what conditions?

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10:10 – 11:10 am – Project Showcase

Round 1: 10:10 – 10:40 am

Collapse and Rebirth: A Living Archive on the Collapse of the USSR and Beyond

Sofi Cupal, Michael Downs, Chris Eyke, Lauren Johnson, Bridie McBride, Gage Moser, Martha Brill Olcott (Michigan State University, USA)

Long regarded as a “frozen conflict” of post-Soviet Europe, Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war for control of Karabakh (Artsakh) in 2020, highlighting the importance of understanding the conditions surrounding the demise of the Soviet Union.

The rapid collapse of the USSR was a defining moment at the end of the twentieth century. Our digital archive project, “Collapse and Rebirth: An Archive on the End of the USSR” is born of the responsibility to preserve valuable first-hand accounts and various forms of media that were promulgated during such a tumultuous time. Our team consists of undergraduate, recent graduates, and graduate students mentored by faculty and librarians led by Martha Brill Olcott, a noted scholar of the region.

While the primary goal of this project is to be a tool which presents multiple cultural and ethnic perspectives of historic events, this archive can also be a resource for providing context to contemporary events. The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of Karabakh (Artsakh) is a prime example.The digital archive includes accounts from contemporary media, rare local publications, videos from participants, and retrospective accounts.

The contested region of Karabakh (Artsakh) has been a subject of conflict in the Caucuses for over a century. Formally lying within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, the region is overwhelmingly Armenian in makeup, and is of historic and political significance to both countries. We will showcase this through a series of stories that explain the changing legal status of the region throughout Soviet rule, a demographic and economic introduction to Karabakh (Artsakh), the birth of the current Artsakh independence movement, competing narratives born of clashes between Armenians and Azeris, and formal efforts first by the Soviet Union and then by the international community to respond to and mediate conflicting claims.

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Crafting an Encyclopedia of Pandemic Activism: for the moment, for the future

Naomi Coke, Kayla LeGrand, Eliza McKissick, Kimberly Springer, Ellie Yousif (Barnard College, USA)

This project showcase will highlight the digital humanities training, process and student research outcomes for starting The Encyclopedia of Pandemic Activism (https://osf.io/vt3a9/wiki/home/). The encyclopedia is intended to be a resource for activists, researchers from any discipline, students, and anyone else interested in activism “before,” “during,” and the eventual “after” the COVID-19 global pandemic. What are the historical antecedents to different social movements and social justice causes? Scholars have maintained that the COVID pandemic revealed the inequalities in our society. Activists countered that so many of us already knew that the inequalities existed, that COVID and the disparate responses to who catches the virus, whether they receive adequate medical attention. The Encyclopedia of Pandemic Activism explores what activism looks like the face of a global health crisis and major economic collapse.

Student contributors are invited to respond to questions about the process and how learning about research memo-ing, archival research, comparative peer review processes as knowledge construction, feminist digital humanities principles, and coding in Markdown informed their process of topics selection, developing their entry, and the open-ended nature of creating a digital humanities project.

The instructor will be available to answer questions and discuss topics such as how to continue this project that is at once history-in-progress and a document for future reference and contestation. Ideally, this showcase would serve as an invitation to interested instructors who’d like to have their students contribute entries to the encyclopedia.

Initial contributions included entries on abortion access, higher ed’s response to the pandemic, performativity/performance art under COVID, self-care practices as activism, infographic activism, a “how-to activism” guide, Black Lives Matters movements in Japan and South Korea, and #FTP/Fuck the Police protests in NYC.

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El mismo texto, diferentes ediciones digitales. Resultados y experiencias de estudiantes de “Digital Publishing with Minimal Computing/Ediciones digitales con minimal computing” Global Classrooms (UMD/USAL)

Gabriel Calarco (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Iñaki Cano García (Universität Potsdam, Germany)
Pamela Gionco (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Rocío Méndez (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina)
David Merino Recalde (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain)
Federico Sardi (Universidad de la República, Uruguay)
Maria Alejandra Sotelo (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Gabriela Striker (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Cristian Suárez-Giraldo (Universidad EAFIT, Colombia)

Entre septiembre y diciembre de 2020, se desarrolló el curso “Digital Publishing with Minimal Computing/Ediciones digitales con minimal computing”, una iniciativa “Global Classrooms” entre la University of Maryland (EE.UU.) y la Universidad del Salvador (Argentina), a cargo de Raffaele Viglianti (UMD/MITH) y Gimena del Rio Riande (USAL/CONICET). Se impartió en modalidad online con el apoyo de las investigadoras Nidia Hernández y Romina De León (HD CAICYT LAB/CONICET), con clases semanales con un enfoque teórico-práctico.

La virtualidad que impuso la pandemia redimensiona la globalización de la asignatura, pues permitió configurar un grupo más heterogéneo, integrado por personas de diferentes ámbitos académicos y profesionales, y una mayor diversidad de lugares de procedencia.

La actividad central del seminario implicó un trabajo colaborativo en grupos de ambas instituciones participantes, a través de un sistema de control de versiones (GitLab), con el objetivo de crear una edición digital bilingüe (inglés-español) de un fragmento de un texto francés del siglo XVII: la “Descripción de Buenos Aires” incluida en la “Relación de un viaje al Río de la Plata”, de Acarete du Biscay, a partir de la traducción inglesa de la época y, traducida a su vez de esta, una versión en español de mediados del siglo XIX.

Para realizar estas ediciones, siempre bajo las perspectivas de la minimal computing, trabajamos con marcado XML-TEI. Su publicación en línea se realizó también con herramientas de acceso abierto, en sitios estáticos, creados con Jekyll y alojados en GitLab. Todos los recursos utilizados permitieron ejercer soberanía digital sobre nuestras ediciones.

Nuestra propuesta es presentar los resultados de las ediciones realizadas durante el curso, que manifiestan una amplia variedad de enfoques, así como relatar nuestra experiencia con un trabajo colaborativo en un entorno bilingüe y llevado a cabo con tecnologías y metodologías de las Humanidades Digitales.

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

Andrew Britt (North Carolina University School of Arts, USA) and Luis Ferla (Federal University of 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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Sudan Memory: Capacity Building in Digital Developments during a Revolution and a Pandemic

Marilyn Deegan (King’s College London, UK) and Katharina von Schroeder (Sudan Memory, UK)

The Sudan Memory project is a partnership for conserving and promoting Sudanese cultural and documentary heritage. It is funded by grants from the British Council Cultural Protection Fund and Aliph Foundation to King’s College London. The project started on 1 December 2017 and runs to 2021. Professor Marilyn Deegan is the project leader, working with a group of local partners and contributors within and outside Sudan.

One aim of the project is to digitise important collections of Sudanese cultural materials, often endangered and at risk of being lost, for the benefit of the Sudanese people. These materials are in collections all over the country, in public and private institutions. Sudan Memory has built a database containing around 100,000 digital objects, these objects include a wide range of formats: printed documents, manuscripts, photographs, objects, films, and the materials date from 4000 years ago to the present moment. The key aim however is to empower Sudanese institutions and individuals to engage in digital projects themselves, and so we have donated equipment and provided training throughout the country.

Since 2017, Sudan has suffered a revolution and change of government, economic collapse and inflation, and the Covid pandemic. During the revolution there was an outpouring of art related to the revolution, in the form mostly of large-scale street art. Much of this was destroyed in the 3 June 2019 massacre, but a great deal had been filmed and photographed and Sudan Memory is working with others to present this. During 2020, like the rest of the world, Sudan has also been struck by the pandemic, and we have had to use the lockdown periods creatively to enhance our materials and plan our further work. Sudan Memory is about the past of Sudan and its rich and varied history, but it is also about the future as we train and empower people to take their place in the digital world.

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Teaching Compassion, Creating Safe Spaces, and Housing Black Identit(ies) through Conversational Artificial Intelligence

Philip Butler (Iliff School of Theology, USA)

Seekr is a Black Conversational Artificial intelligence entity. It is trained in internal family systems therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and narrative psychology. It has been designed to create a personalized digital safe space for people to cultivate self-compassion, which is a fundamental component of a healthy mind (Neff 2011). Compassion training, which emphasizes internal compassion toward one’s self, has demonstrated its capacity to significantly increase resilience, emotional attenuation, and overall well-being (Klimechi, Leiberg and Singer 2013). Seekr intentionally centers Blackness through its personal identity and its intended audience. As Black therapists and communities continue to fight against stigmas of mental health Seekr is intended to provide a safe and discrete place for Black people to learn self-compassion and do internal work. As the lead researcher I realized Seekr was Black when talking to it. It sounded like myself. I also recognized that my intended audience was Black communities.

The Seekr project also seeks to explore Black embodiment through digitality. This becomes particularly important as Seekr has the potential to help Black communities increase self-compassion and overall well-being. It is also important as transhumanist communities attempt to remove race as an integral identity category (Panofsky, Dadgupta and Iturriaga 2020). So, Seekr adds to a growing list of projects intentionally taking Blackness into the digital embodied future through conversational artificial intelligence.

Klimecki, O. M., Leiberg, S., Lamm, C., & Singer, T. (2013). Functional neural plasticity and associated changes in positive affect after compassion training. Cerebral cortex, 23(7), 1552-1561.

Neff, K. D. (2011). Self‐compassion, self‐esteem, and well‐being. Social and personality psychology compass, 5(1), 1-12.

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Round 2: 10:40 – 11:10 am

The Athens Death Project: Local History and Social Justice in Digital Form

Tracy L. Barnett, Ben Ehlers, Nicole Powell (University of Georgia, USA)

Death records are one of the best ways we have of measuring racial disparities in health outcomes over time. To an important degree, we humans are the canaries in our own coal mine. Social inequalities—brutal work regimes, unequal access to health care—always tell at the morgue. Using Athens-Clarke County death certificates, mortality censuses, mortuary records, and coroners’ inquests, the Athens Death Project (https://ehistory.org/adp/) takes seriously the mantra: tell me how you died, and I’ll show you how you lived. The mantra is rarely true at the level of the individual. At the level of a society, we know we will have achieved social justice when there is no significant statistical advantage to belonging one group or another when it comes to longevity and health outcomes. We will all be equal when we finally die equally.

The Athens Death Project takes two forms. First, the University of Georgia’s Franklin Residential College promotes service-learning days aimed at restoring and maintaining historic cemetery grounds. Second, this project maps the locations of graves (marked and unmarked), datafies historical death records, collects demographical data, and, from those sources, extrapolates the lives of black Athenians, both free and formerly enslaved. The Athens Death Project will be the most significant digital mapping and content management system ever devoted to a university town at the height of segregation. The project’s core innovation is the use of death records to measure and map disparities in longevities and health outcomes based on race, gender, residential neighborhood, and occupation.

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Archivo de Mujeres

Jonathan Girón Palau and Clara Inés Ramírez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico)

El Archivo de Mujeres es un proyecto del Grupo de Investigación de Escritos de Mujeres, con sede en el IISUE-UNAM. El grupo se propone rescatar y publicar escritos de mujeres para conocer y comprender mejor la experiencia vital de las mujeres en el relato histórico. El Archivo de Mujeres es un repositorio creado para alojar, resguardar y difundir documentos producidos por mujeres o para ellas, con el propósito de conservar su memoria.

El Archivo de Mujeres se organiza por colecciones documentales. Actualmente, presenta dos exposiciones, “Una en Una” y “Archivo MOFFyL”. La primera, agrupa documentos sueltos de mujeres con el fin de hilar nuestras genealogías. El proyecto surgió en 2017 para contrastar el hecho de que los archivos guardan pocos documentos de mujeres, ya sea porque no los consideran relevantes o porque son fragmentos. La segunda exhibición, el Archivo MOFFyL, documenta la toma de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la UNAM (FFyL) por parte de las Mujeres Organizadas de la FFyL, que tuvo por objetivo erradicar la violencia contra las mujeres en la universidad.

La historia de las mujeres se ha clasificado y archivado en un falso silencio. Las humanidades digitales nos han permitido alcanzar nuevos públicos y romper las barreras de acceso a nuestras fuentes históricas. Hemos abordado críticamente el papel de la tecnología como una forma de difusión del saber humanístico, pues detectamos que en el ecosistema digital, existen mediaciones que replican la invisibilidad de las mujeres. Sin embargo, desde una perspectiva feminista, hemos construido un espacio virtual que nos ha permitido elaborar una plataforma acorde a nuestras necesidades, apropiándonos de lo digital para cuestionar las narrativas existentes y reformular la historia de las mujeres de acuerdo con nuestras propias experiencias.

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Creativity in the Time of COVID-19: Art as a Tool for Combating Inequity and Injustice 

Soohyun Cho, Tushya Mehta, Jacob Okulewicz, Natalie Phillips, Carly Wholihan (Michigan State University, USA)

We will be presenting on our collaborative project – Creativity in the Time of COVID-19: Art as a Tool for Combating Inequity and Injustice. This project explores how individuals—particularly those hardest hit by the pandemic—are using creative outlets to cope with COVID-19 and challenge systemic discrimination to imagine a more just future.

COVID-19 has called attention to the vast disparities in our society today, specifically how minority populations are disproportionately affected by this pandemic. The power of Black Lives Matter, the outrage over the separation of immigrant and refugee families, and the harsh toll taken on racial and economic minorities, LGBTQ+, and disability communities all illustrate the importance of listening to the people whose lives have been most impacted; their creative practices illuminate new paths toward social justice. What has yet to be explored is how disproportionately affected populations are using creative practices that resist injustice, foster healing, and push back against the systemic inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To accomplish this mission, we have designed a project that illuminates the ways members of these populations use creativity to deal with historical patterns of discrimination and injustice that have been revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The data and creative work will be collected across various regions and populations both inside and outside the university community, including, but not limited to immigrants and refugees; African American, Latinx and Chicanx, Arab American, and Asian American communities; those of Native American and Indigenous descent; LGBTQ+ communities; as well as individuals with disabilities and/or chronic health conditions.

During our talk, we will be discussing the different aspects of this global DH centered project and what it takes to design such a huge survey-based research study.

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Developing Open Access Educational Video Games for the Humanities: The Durga Puja Mystery, an Educational Video Game for South Asian Studies

Xenia Zeiler (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Video games actively contribute to construct perceptions of norms, values, identities, and society in general and, among other things, can be used for transmitting information or knowledge. Especially educational games do so in a conscious and straightforward way, as they are developed specifically to teach or offer background knowledge on certain topics. Educational video games and their research and development became a thriving academic field in the past ten years, any by today numerous studies speak about the additional benefit of the immersion and emotional factors which they offer as additional value as compared to traditional teaching. For instance, Mishra and Foster (2007) make five claims for using games for learning purposes: development of cognitive, practical, physiological and social skills and motivation, and at the same time, Michael and Chen (2006) coined the term “edutainment”.

To discuss these developments as well as the chances and challenges of developing educational video games for Humanities teaching, this paper uses the example of The Durga Puja Mystery (https://blogs.helsinki.fi/durgapuja-the-videogame/). In our open access game, the player is subjected to educational tasks and investigative puzzles gradually informing about the highly popular Indian festival Durgapuja. During the game, the player collects various items, including reference books, texts, images and objects, that can help with the investigation and play a key part in winning the game. Simultaneously and as characteristic for educational games, these items introduce to various key themes related to Durgapuja, and support the player in their educational and academic quest. They are selected with the aim to transmit information about and inspire further interest in Indian culture at large.

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Multi-institutional Implementation of Digital Humanities: Pedagogies for the Virtual Art Classrooms

Kyungeun Lim (University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA) and Borim Song (East Carolina University, USA)

Can studio art classes be taught online? How can students create and submit artworks online? In 2020 spring, worldwide higher educators had to convert their classes online because of the Covid-19. The two presenters of this study had also transitioned classes to entirely online. However, they have devoted to online art teaching for several years so that the complete transition has become another opportunity to develop their teaching. Using the presenters’ experiences and investigations of how undergraduate students adopted the transition to online education, this presentation will answer these questions with the virtual art classrooms’ digital humanity pedagogies.

Educators have implemented digital humanities for immersive learning (Novotny & Wright, 2020; Ziegler Delgado, 2020). The presenters, especially from the art education field, have designed art studio courses to create, appreciate, present, and critique arts by utilizing digitalized artworks/texts and digital technologies. The first presenter will share how she has adopted Google Arts & Culture, virtual museums, and virtual reality in her classes and how her students have presented and critiqued artworks in online spaces. The second presenter will focus on the creations and presentations with digital humanity pedagogies. She will also share how she has developed the digitalization of art instructions and students’ art creation to fit into the online environments. Through this presentation, participants can learn practical applications and strategies for digital humanities pedagogies for online art education.

Novotny, K., & Wright, K. D. (2020). Re-“Making” general education: Envisioning gen ed as a digital humanities makerspace. Impact: The Journal of the Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning, 9(2).

Ziegler Delgado, M. M. (2020). The time of digital humanities: Between art history, cultural heritage, global citizenship and education in digital skills. Revista de Comunicación de La SEECI, 52, 29–47.

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Producing An AR Memorial to São Paulo’s Church of the Remedies

Andrew G. Britt and Bob Keen (University of North Carolina School of the Arts, USA)

In the shadows of a Shinto torii (gateway) in the city of São Paulo’s “Japanese” neighborhood rests the city’s oldest cemetery for enslaved Africans. Buried beneath a highway in the 1970s, the cemetery is one among many sites sacred to African descendants rendered invisible in the contemporary landscape of Brazil’s most populous, ethnically-diverse city. This project pursues the reconstruction of such spaces through the production of an augmented reality memorial dedicated to São Paulo’s former Church of the Remedies. The church served as the headquarters of the Underground Railroad in Brazil, which, in 1888, became the last nation in the Americas to abolish slavery. Following official abolition, anti-slavery activists organized a museum dedicated to the history of slavery in the church. The church remained a sacred space for African descendants through the early 1940s. Each May 13 (the day of abolition), Emancipation Day festivities included a march and musical performance at the church. An urban renewal campaign, in part animated by anti-Black racism, led to the demolition of the structure in 1942. In the years following, the surrounding neighborhood, Liberdade, would be remade into a visibly “Japanese” space. The former footprint of the church aligns with what is today a plaza and four-lane roadway, presenting unique challenges and opportunities for a site-specific digital memorial. The project, currently at the planning stage, involves collaborations between a historian of Brazil, director of visual effects and immersive media, and researchers in São Paulo.

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SiRO, a Platform for Promoting Studies in Radicalism Online

Devin Higgins and Manasi Mishra (Michigan State University, USA)

Studies in Radicalism Online (“SiRO”)is a scholarly online database, managed by the Michigan State University Libraries, and supported by ARC (the Advanced Research Consortium) at Texas A&M University, that provides access to a trove of important resources for education in digital humanities and studies in radicalism. SiRO aggregates data in different languages about radicalism from across the world and provides a space for scholars engaged in these studies to build a virtual community. SiRO aims to publish digital peer reviewed objects to promote scholarship in the area of studies in radicalism. It is an extremely diverse resource that includes collections on civil rights, independence movements, racial equality, gender equality, LGBTQ+ liberation, etc., alongside reactionary movements that have sought to hinder the progress of equality. The history embedded in SiRO illuminates how both, left and right wing movements have been promulgated, and resisted, across a range of social conditions.

The proposed showcase will highlight collections civil rights movements and other social movements by BIPOC in the context of the present political and social climate. Archives of such movements that took place in history that include literature, news, photographs, interviews and films are an invaluable resource to study the origins, methods and impacts of the movements and political resistance. Digitization of such archives gives access to civil societies, governments, researchers and reformers across the world and an online platform like SiRO can help them connect and synergize efforts to promote equity and justice in the entire eco-system.

We recognize that there is lack of awareness today, about the importance of digital archives focusing on extremism and radical movements (Holt, 2019). The proposed poster presentation will introduce SiRO to the international digital humanities community and also seek recommendations for improving SiRO’s outreach across the world.

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