DH Salons – Spring 2023

audience watching presentation in digital studio

The DH Salon series is a regular, informal presentation series bringing together digital humanities work across the Brown University campus.

Spring 2023 Schedule

Select Tuesdays at 3 p.m. on Zoom or in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the Rockefeller Library.

February 14 – Register here

“Using Scalar to Illuminate the Fragments Controversy”

  • Jonathan Fine, Lecturer in German Studies

The Fragments Controversy was the most significant theological conflagration of the German Enlightenment. This Scalar project is the first introduction to the controversy that pairs commentary with digital copies of the main texts. It features texts digitalized previously by European libraries as well as digitalizations especially commissioned for this project. It takes advantage of numerous features available to users of Scalar to display the many intertextual networks in operation. It additionally includes visualizations such as timelines and maps that show the longevity and wide dissemination of Lessing’s polemics.

Jonathan Fine is a lecturer in the German Studies Department at Brown. He studied German, comparative literature, and critical theory at New York University and the University of California, Irvine. He previously taught at Gettysburg College and Pacific Lutheran University and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Freie Universität Berlin.

February 28 – Register here

“Digital Herbarium Project (HerbUX)”

  • Patrick Rashleigh, Head of Digital Scholarship Technology Services
  • Rebecca Kartzinel, Lecturer in Biology, Interim Director of the Plant Environmental Center, Director of the Brown University Herbarium

The Herbarium User Experience (HerbUX) project is designing an interface to critical digitized herbarium collections with non-expert audiences (such as students, museum visitors, and the general public) in mind, for use in classrooms, museums, and other public spaces. This interface will be easy to use, encourage non-directed exploratory browsing, directly support pedagogical methodologies and learning outcomes, and be aesthetically engaging.

March 14 – Register here

“Unsettling Boundaries: Envisioning a Database for Caribbean Feminist Creative Writing from the 1990s”

  • Warren Harding, Diversity in Digital Publishing Postdoctoral Research Associate (2022–2023)

In this discussion, Warren Harding will share insights and progress on creating a digital database of Caribbean feminist creative writing from the 1990s. He will reflect on the central questions, structure, scope, and challenges to coordinating this collaborative project.

Warren Harding (he, him) is currently the Diversity in Digital Publishing Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University Digital Publications. He holds a Ph.D. in Africana Studies from Brown, and is working on his manuscript tentatively titled, “Migratorial Reading: Black Caribbean Women Writers and the Work of Literary Cultures.” In Fall 2023, Dr. Harding will begin his appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, General Literature, and Rhetoric at Binghamton University.

March 21 – Register here

“Interpretive Frameworks and Visualizations of Historical Vietnamese Texts and Drawings”

  • Cindy Nguyen, David Laidlaw, and Kailiang Fu

How do digital humanities and computational methods open up alternative interpretive frameworks for historical texts? This will be a conversation sharing how collaborative humanities visualization contributes towards critical and transparent research analysis and communication. As a case study, Nguyen, Fu, and Laidlaw examine a 1909-1910 multilingual visual encyclopedia of Vietnamese crafts, cultural practices, and technologies using a hybrid methodology of close reading, content analysis, and vector space models. As a focused case study, we conducted a layered analysis of visual-textual representations of gender and labor, with a focus on childbirth and female childcare. This project envisions decolonial interpretive frameworks that center historically marginalized agency, invisible authorship, and non-linear narrative forms.

Cindy Nguyen is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, San Diego in the departments of Literature and History. She specializes in the history of Southeast Asian print culture, digital humanities, and libraries. She was a Brown University Cogut International Humanities Fellow from 2019 – 2021. To learn more about her historical scholarship, teaching, and digital humanities work, see her website cindyanguyen.com.

David H. Laidlaw is a professor of computer science at Brown University. His research interests revolve around visualization and modeling applications of computer graphics and computer science to other scientific disciplines. He is working with researchers in, for example, archaeology, developmental neurobiology, evolutionary biology, medical imaging, neuropathology, orthopedics, art, cognitive science, remote sensing, and fluid mechanics to develop new computational applications and to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Kailiang (Kail) Fu is a senior at Brown studying Applied Math – CS and History. He is interested in Asian culture, data visualization, and virtual reality.

April 18 – Register here

“New Frameworks to Preserve and Present on Born-Digital Multimedia Art”

  • Ashley Champagne, Director of CDS
  • Patrick Rashleigh, Head of Digital Scholarship Technology Services
  • Cody Carvel, Digital Scholarship Technologist
  • John Cayley, Professor of Literary Arts
  • Hilary Wang, Digital Archivist
  • Andrew Majcher, Head of Digital Services and Records Management

This project is developing new frameworks for the long-term preservation and presentation of born-digital art with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Preserving born-digital work can be challenging because platforms, hardware, and software are often updated or replaced, changing and even degrading how the original art is displayed. Through “containerization” — a portable, low-cost method of preserving and presenting the code, operating system, and text for experimental, born-digital art — future readers will still be able to view, distribute, collaborate on, and experiment with the original work even if its infrastructure has been altered or discontinued. In this presentation, we’ll share a project update on the models we’re drafting to preserve innovative, experimental born-digital and born-computational art.

April 25 – RESCHEDULED – Register here

“Building GeoPACHA, A Collaborative Digital Platform for “Virtual” Survey in Archaeology”

  • Parker VanValkenburgh, Associate Professor of Anthropology

The Geospatial Platform for Andean Culture, History and Archaeology (GeoPACHA) — see geopacha.org — is a tool developed in collaboration with Dr. Steven Wernke of Vanderbilt, designed to facilitate the identification of archaeological sites and features over extensive areas of South America through “virtual survey” of satellite and historical aerial imagery. In this presentation, I will briefly discuss the project’s problem orientation and design, before moving on to reflect on how its implementation during the global pandemic created both new challenges and opportunities for collaborative research and pedagogy. While virtual archaeological survey is no replacement for conventional field-based methodologies, it offers new possibilities for collecting data at scale, while also scaling up international collaboration and student learning in ways that are nearly impossible to emulate in the excavation trench and the laboratory.

Parker VanValkenburg is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brown. His research and publications employ archaeological methods to address anthropological research questions, with a particular focus on the long-term impacts of colonialism and imperialism on Indigenous people and environments in Andean Peru. In this work, he draws amply on digital methodologies, including the tools of geographic information systems (GIS), to map and analyze social, political, and environmental change in space and time. He also applies a critical lens to the study of digital media and methodologies, asking not just how these techniques facilitate archaeological scholarship, but how digital mediation transforms the ways we work with collaborators, research subjects, students, and public audiences.

May 9 – Register here

Roundtable: “Artificial Intelligence in Humanities Research”

  • Lindsey Caplan, Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture
  • Holly Case, Professor of History
  • Kiri Miller, Professor of American Studies
  • Sydney Skybetter, Senior Lecturer in Theater and Performance Studies

New AI tools hold out the promise of new techniques for research, writing and presentations in the humanities, as well as new challenges to originality and ethics. A group of Brown faculty will consider some of the history and future of AI in the humanities.