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New Work in Digital Humanities
50 minutes | 24 days ago
Johanna Drucker, "Visualization and Interpretation: Humanistic Approaches to Display" (MIT Press, 2020)
In the several decades since scholars in the humanities have taken up computational tools, they have borrowed many techniques from other fields, including visualization methods to create charts, graphs, diagrams, maps, and other graphic displays of information. But are these visualizations actually adequate for the interpretive approach that distinguishes much of the work in the humanities? Information visualization, as practiced today, lacks the interpretive frameworks required for humanities-oriented methodologies. In Visualization and Interpretation, Johanna Drucker continues her interrogation of visual epistemology in the digital humanities, reorienting the creation of digital tools within humanities contexts.Johanna Drucker is Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor in the Department of Information Studies at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.Luca Scholz is Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Manchester (UK). His research focuses on European and spatial history. He tweets at @DrLucaScholz.
62 minutes | a month ago
Nimisha Barton, "Reproductive Citizens: Gender, Immigration, and the State in Modern France, 1880–1945" (Cornell UP, 2020)
On today’s New Books in History, we sit down with Dr. Nimisha Barton to discuss her new book, Reproductive Citizens: Gender, Immigration, and the State in Modern France (Cornell University Press, 2020). This conversation is a perfect supplemental teaching tool to assign a class reading Reproductive Citizens as is the impressive digital appendices that Dr. Barton created to accompany her work. Building on the massive amount of primary and secondary source material that Dr. Barton examined during research, she built a digital repository and archive for students and researchers to use. Included in these appendices are statistics on foreigners in France and descriptions of sources as well as methodologies. A testament to Dr. Barton’s commitment to diversity and accessibility in education, she provides this resource free to all in the hopes that students and researchers studying women, gender, sexuality, and/or migration can benefit from them. To learn more, please visit this website.About Reproductive Citizens: In the familiar tale of mass migration to France from 1880 onwards, we know very little about the hundreds of thousands of women who formed a critical part of those migration waves. In Reproductive Citizens, Nimisha Barton argues that their relative occlusion in the historical record hints at a larger and more problematic oversight: the role of sex and gender in shaping the experiences of migrants to France before the Second World War. Barton's compelling history of social citizenship demonstrates how, through the routine application of social policies, state and social actors worked separately towards a shared goal: repopulating France with immigrant families. Filled with voices gleaned from census reports, municipal statistics, naturalization dossiers, court cases, police files, and social worker registers, Reproductive Citizens shows how France welcomed foreign-born men and women, mobilizing naturalization, family law, social policy, and welfare assistance to ensure they would procreate, bearing French-assimilated children.Barton concludes that, in return for generous social provisions and refuge in dark times, immigrants joined the French nation through marriage and reproduction, breadwinning and child-rearing—in short, through families and family-making—which made them more French than even formal citizenship status could.Julia Gossard is an Assistant Professor of History, Utah State University.
79 minutes | 2 months ago
S. Burrows and G. Roe, "Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of 18th-Century Studies" (Liverpool UP, 2020)
Digitizing Enlightenment: Digital Humanities and the Transformation of 18th-Century Studies (Liverpool UP, 2020) explores how a set of inter-related digital projects are transforming our vision of the Enlightenment. The featured projects are some of the best known, well-funded and longest established research initiatives in the emerging area of ‘digital humanities’, a field that has, particularly since 2010, been attracting a rising tide of interest from professional academics, the media, funding councils, and the general public worldwide. Advocates and practitioners of the digital humanities argue that computational methods can fundamentally transform our ability to answer some of the ‘big questions’ that drive humanities research, allowing us to see patterns and relationships that were hitherto hard to discern, and to pinpoint, visualise, and analyse relevant data in efficient and powerful new ways.In the book’s opening section, leading scholars outline their own projects’ institutional and intellectual histories, the techniques and methodologies they specifically developed, the sometimes-painful lessons learned in the process, future trajectories for their research, and how their findings are revising previous understandings. A second section features chapters from early career scholars working at the intersection of digital methods and Enlightenment studies, an intellectual space largely forged by the projects featured in part one.Highlighting current and future research methods and directions for digital eighteenth-century studies, the book offers a monument to the current state of digital work, an overview of current findings, and a vision statement for future research.Simon Burrows is a Professor of History and Digital Humanities at Western Sydney University, Australia, where he is Leader of the Digital Humanities Research Group.Glenn Roe is Professor of French Literature and Digital Humanities in the Faculty of Letters at Sorbonne University, where he teaches into the UFR of French and Comparative Literature and is attached to the Centre d’étude de la langue et des littératures françaises (CELLF UMR 8599) and the LabEx OBVIL.Dr Alexandra Ortolja-Baird is a visiting researcher at the British Museum and teaches Digital Humanities at University College London.
43 minutes | 2 months ago
M. Wodziński and W. Spallek, "Historical Atlas of Hasidism" (Princeton UP, 2018)
The Historical Atlas of Hasidism (Princeton UP, 2018) is the first cartographic reference book on one of the modern era’s most vibrant and important mystical movements. Featuring seventy-four large-format maps and a wealth of illustrations, charts, and tables, this one-of-a-kind atlas charts Hasidism’s emergence and expansion; its dynasties, courts, and prayer houses; its spread to the New World; the crisis of the two world wars and the Holocaust; and Hasidism’s remarkable postwar rebirth.This spatial history of a movement that has often been understood as aterritorial combines painstaking source work, cartographic skill, and inventive visualisations to create a masterful contribution to the history of Hasidism and the history of religion more broadly.Marcin Wodziński is Professor of Jewish History and Literature, and head of the Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Wrocław (Poland).Waldemar Spallek is Assistant Professor of geographic information systems and cartography at the University of Wrocław (Poland).Luca Scholz is Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Manchester (UK). His research focuses on European and spatial history. He tweets at @DrLucaScholz.
43 minutes | 2 months ago
L. L. Paterson and I. N. Gregory, "Representations of Poverty and Place: Using Geographical Text Analysis to Understand Discourse" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)
Representations of Poverty and Place: Using Geographical Text Analysis to Understand Discourse (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) explores a novel methodological approach which combines analytical techniques from linguistics and geography to bring fresh insights to the study of poverty. Using Geographical Text Analysis, the authors - Laura Paterson and Ian N. Gregory - map the discursive construction of poverty in the UK and compares the results to what administrative data reveal. The analysis draws together qualitative and quantitative techniques from corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, Geographical Information Science, and the spatial humanities. By identifying the place-names that occur within close proximity to search terms associated with to poverty it shows how different newspapers use place to foreground different aspects of poverty (including employment, housing, money, and benefits), and how the London-centric nature of newspaper reporting dominates the discursive construction of UK poverty. This book demonstrates how interdisciplinary research methods can illuminate complex social issues and will appeal to researchers in a number of disciplines from sociology, geography and the spatial humanities, economics, linguistics, health, and public policy, in addition to policymakers and practitioners.
74 minutes | 3 months ago
Doug Specht, "Mapping Crisis: Participation, Datafication and Humanitarianism in the Age of Digital Mapping" (U London Press, 2020)
The digital age has thrown questions of representation, participation and humanitarianism back to the fore, as machine learning, algorithms and big data centres take over the process of mapping the subjugated and subaltern. Since the rise of Google Earth in 2005, there has been an explosion in the use of mapping tools to quantify and assess the needs of those in crisis, including those affected by climate change and the wider neo-liberal agenda. Yet, while there has been a huge upsurge in the data produced around these issues, the representation of people remains questionable. Some have argued that representation has diminished in humanitarian crises as people are increasingly reduced to data points. In turn, this data has become ever more difficult to analyse without vast computing power, leading to a dependency on the old colonial powers to refine the data collected from people in crisis, before selling it back to them.Mapping Crisis: Participation, Datafication and Humanitarianism in the Age of Digital Mapping (University of London Press, 2020) brings together critical perspectives on the role that mapping people, knowledges and data now plays in humanitarian work, both in cartographic terms and through data visualisations, and questions whether, as we map crises, it is the map itself that is in crisis.Doug Sprecht is a Chartered Geographer (CGeog. FRGS), a Senior Lecturer (SFHEA) and the Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Media and Communication at the University of Westminster. His research examines how knowledge is constructed and codified through digital and cartographic artefacts, focusing on development issues in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, where he has carried out extensive fieldwork. He also writes and researches on pedagogy, and is author of the Media and Communications Student Study Guide. He speaks and writes on topics of data ethics, development, education and mapping practices at conferences and invited lectures around the world. He is a member of the editorial board at Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, and the journal Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman. He is also Chair of the Environmental Network for Central America.Alexandra Ortolja-Baird is Lecturer in Early Modern European History at King’s College London
67 minutes | 3 months ago
Thomas S. Mullaney, "The Chinese Deathscape: Grave Reform in Modern China" (Stanford UP, 2019)
In the past decade alone, more than ten million corpses have been exhumed and reburied across the Chinese landscape. The campaign has transformed China's graveyards into sites of acute personal, social, political, and economic contestation.In The Chinese Deathscape. Grave Reform in Modern China, three historians of China, Jeffrey Snyder-Reinke, Christian Henriot, and Thomas S. Mullaney, chart out the history of China's rapidly shifting deathscape. Each essay grapples with a different dimension of grave relocation and burial reform in China over the past three centuries: from the phenomenon of "baby towers" in the Lower Yangzi region of late imperial China, to the histories of death in the city of Shanghai, and finally to the history of grave relocation during the contemporary period, examined by Mullaney, when both its scale and tempo increased dramatically. Rounding off these historical analyses, a colophon by platform developers David McClure and Glen Worthey speaks to new reading methodologies emerging from a format in which text and map move in concert to advance historical argumentation.The Chinese Deathscape is published as part of Stanford University Press’ digital project series which aims to confer the same level of academic credibility on digital projects as academic print books receive. Innovative yet unostentatious, this platform sets new standards for combining interactive, scalable spatial exhibits with academic long-form narrative.Thomas S. Mullaney is Professor of Chinese History at Stanford University and a Guggenheim Fellow. Among many other projects, he runs his own Youtube channel.Luca Scholz is Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Manchester (UK). His research focuses on European and spatial history. He tweets at @DrLucaScholz.
57 minutes | 3 months ago
D. Bilak and T. Nummedal, "Furnace and Fugue. A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s 'Atalanta fugiens' (1618)" (U Virginia Press, 2020)
In 1618, on the eve of the Thirty Years’ War, the German alchemist and physician Michael Maier published Atalanta fugiens, an intriguing and complex musical alchemical emblem book designed to engage the ear, eye, and intellect. The book unfolds as a series of fifty emblems, each of which contains an accompanying "fugue" music scored for three voices. Historians of alchemy have long understood this virtuoso work as an ambitious demonstration of the art’s literary potential and of the possibilities of the early modern printed book.Atalanta fugiens lends itself unusually well to today’s digital tools. Re-rendering Maier’s multimedia alchemical project as an enhanced online publication, Furnace and Fugue allows contemporary readers to hear, see, manipulate, and investigate Atalanta fugiens in ways that Maier perhaps imagined but that were impossible to fully realize before now. An interactive, layered digital edition provides accessibility and flexibility, presenting all the elements of the original book along with significant enhancements that allow for deep engagement by specialists and nonspecialists alike.Three short introductory essays invite readers to get acquainted with early modern alchemy, and Michael Maier. Eight extended interpretive essays explore Atalanta fugiens and its place in the history of music, science, print, and visual culture in early modern Europe. These interdisciplinary essays also include interactive features that clarify and/or advance the authors’ arguments while positioning Furnace and Fugue as an original, uniquely engaging contribution to our understanding of early modern culture.Drs. Bilak and Nummedal are the editors of this innovative digital edition of a seventeenth-century alchemical text that combines text, image, and music. Furnace & Fugue was developed by Brown University’s Mellon-supported Digital Publications Initiative, and published by the University of Virginia Press (2020) as an open-access edition.Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Social Science Research Institute at Brown University.Dr. Bilak is an academic and a goldsmith. She is the Creative Director of 12 Keys Consultancy & Design, LLC, and an Independent Scholar. She is an historian of early modern science Donna's research extends to the cross-cultural examination of jewellery, artisanal technologies, and meaning-making with materials. Dr. Nummedal is Professor of History and of Italian Studies at Brown University. She is the author of Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire (University of Chicago Press, 2007), Anna Zieglerin and the Lion’s Blood: Alchemy and End Times in Reformation Germany (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). With Janice Neri and John V. Calhoun, she published John Abbot and William Swainson: Art, Science, and Commerce in Nineteenth-Century Natural History.
61 minutes | 3 months ago
Brian Weatherson, "A History of Philosophy Journals. Volume 1: Evidence from Topic Modeling, 1876-2013" (2020)
Anglophone philosophy in the twentieth century was centered, to an unprecedented extent, around journals: periodical publications that aimed to present (one vision of) the best philosophical work of the moment. By looking at the trends across these journals, we can see important trends in philosophy itself.But looking at the journals is easier said than done. Most major journals have published thousands of articles. If we want to get a guide to philosophy as a whole, and not just to one particular vision of it, we need to look at several different journals. And that means we need to look at tens of thousands of articles. This is impossible for any human to do.A History of Philosophy Journals. Evidence from Topic Modeling, 1876-2013 (2020) examines the entirety of research articles published in twelve major English-language philosophy journals between 1876 and 2013, identifying 90 topics across the journals to retrace their fortunes over time.Accessible yet rigorous, cogent yet cautious, A History of Philosophy Journals is also a timely reflection on the strengths and limitations of topic modelling and the consequential choices involved in analysing and visualising data in the humanities.Brian Weatherson is the Marshall M. Weinberg Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.Luca Scholz is Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Manchester (UK). His research focuses on European and spatial history. He tweets at @DrLucaScholz.
55 minutes | 4 months ago
Martin Paul Eve, "Close Reading with Computers" (Stanford UP, 2019)
Most contemporary digital studies are interested in distant-reading paradigms for large-scale literary history. This book asks what happens when such telescopic techniques function as a microscope instead. The first monograph to bring a range of computational methods to bear on a single novel in a sustained fashion, it focuses on the award-winning and genre-bending Cloud Atlas (2004). Published in two very different versions worldwide without anyone taking much notice, David Mitchell's novel is ideal fodder for a textual-genetic publishing history, reflections on micro-tectonic shifts in language by authors who move between genres, and explorations of how we imagine people wrote in bygone eras. Though Close Reading with Computers (Stanford University Press, 2019) focuses on but one novel, it has a crucial exemplary function: author Martin Paul Eve demonstrates a set of methods and provides open-source software tools that others can use in their own literary-critical practices. In this way, the project serves as a bridge between users of digital methods and those engaged in more traditional literary-critical endeavors.Close Reading with Computers was the winner of the 2019 Philip Leverhulme Prize, sponsored by The Leverhulme Trust.Martin Paul Eve is Professor of Literature, Technology, and Publishing at Birkbeck College, University of London.Reading mentioned in the episode:-Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein, Data Feminism (MIT Press, 2020)-Lauren F. Klein, ‘Distant Reading After Moretti’-Andrew Piper, Enumerations: Data and Literary Study (University of Chicago Press 2018)-Ted Underwood, Distant Horizons: Digital Evidence and Literary Change (University of Chicago Press, 2019).Joanna Taylor is Presidential Academic Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on literary geographies and environmental histories in nineteenth-century Britain. She is on Twitter at @JoTayl0r0
54 minutes | 5 months ago
Bonus Episode: A Discussion with Dr. Brian Collins
Today I talked with Dr. Brian Collins, the creator of "A Very Square Peg." We talked about: How he discovered Eilser in a used bookstore in Ann Arbor How he didn't seem to be able to let go of Eisler once he'd found out about him How he researched Eisler, and how Eisler's life revealed itself to him How he decided to produce a podcast series about Eisler rather than writing a book about him What, after all his work, he thought about Eisler and his remarkable life I hope you enjoy the discussion!
54 minutes | 10 months ago
Neil Selwyn, "What is Digital Sociology?" (Polity, 2019)
The rise of digital technology is transforming the world in which we live. Our digitalized societies demand new ways of thinking about the social, and this short book introduces readers to an approach that can deliver this: digital sociology.In What is Digital Sociology (Polity, 2019), Neil Selwyn examines the concepts, tools and practices that sociologists are developing to analyze the intersections of the social and the digital. Blending theory and empirical examples, the five chapters highlight areas of inquiry where digital approaches are taking hold and shaping the discipline of sociology today. The book explores key topics such as digital race and digital labor, as well as the fast-changing nature of digital research methods and diversifying forms of digital scholarship.In this interview, Dr. Selwyn and I discuss the overarching question guiding this book: what is digital sociology? We go on to discuss how the classical figures in sociology wrote about, and engaged with, technology, the distinctiveness of contemporary digital sociology, key methodologies, and the research ethics related to digital sociological research. I highly recommend this book for students, professors, and anyone else interested in digital humanities, big data and computational methods, or science and technology studies. This would be a great book for both undergraduate and graduate courses related to digital media and social science.Dr. Neil Selwyn is a professor in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. His research and teaching focuses on the place of digital media in everyday life, and the sociology of technology (non)use in educational settings. Neil has written extensively on a number of issues, including digital exclusion, education technology policymaking and the student experience of technology-based learning. You can find him on Twitter @Neil_Selwyn.Krystina Millar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research interests include gender, sociology of the body, and sexuality. You can find her on Twitter at @KrystinaMillar.
38 minutes | 5 years ago
Eric T. Meyer and Ralph Schroeder, “Knowledge Machines: Digital Transformations of the Sciences and Humanities” (MIT Press, 2015)
By now it is incontrovertible that new technology has had an effect on how regular people get information. Whether in the form of an online newspaper or a Google search, new technology has allowed individuals to access masses of information faster than ever before. What, then, has been the effect of digital tools on research practices? In their new book Knowledge Machines: Digital Transformations of the Sciences and Humanities (MIT Press, 2015), Eric T. Meyer, Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, and Ralph Schroeder, Professor at the Oxford Internet Institute, explore how digital tools have transformed research. To do this, Meyer and Schroeder use case studies to examine how new technology has, and continues to, change research in various fields, and what this means for the future of e-research.
70 minutes | 8 years ago
Colin Gordon, “Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality” (Institute for Policy Studies, 2013)
Americans seem to be more concerned about economic inequality today than they have been in living memory. The Occupy Movement (“We are the 99%”) is only the most visible sign of this growing unease. But what are the dimensions of inequality in the United States? How have they changed over the past century? Are we living in a new Gilded Age in which the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer?In his “book” (it’s really an innovative website) Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality (Institute for Policy Studies, 2013), Colin Gordon sets out to answer these questions. Using an interesting array of charts, graphs, and videos, Gordon tells the story of inequality in the U.S. in modern times. Gordon shows that in recent decades the poor have been getting relatively poorer and the rich have been getting relatively richer. The “gap”–already considerable–is growing.In this interview we discuss growing inequality and the reasons behind it. We also touch on what is perhaps the most important question in the debate: does inequality as it is found in the U.S. really matter economically, spiritually, and politically?
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