Spring 2017 Events


Pitching a DH Project

Natalia Ermolaev
January 9 12:00–1:30 AM

Do you have a research idea or a collection of sources that would make a great digital humanities project? Do you want to build a digital tool that will foster humanistic inquiry? This workshop will cover the basics of what it takes to design and implement a DH project, and how to successfully pitch your project idea for a CDH grant.

We will discuss best practices for: formulating a DH research question, establishing project goals, choosing appropriate tools and resources, building a project team, creating a work plan, budgeting, and project management.

Members of the Princeton community with DH projects at any stage of development are welcome to attend. The workshop has been designed to assist those applying for the CDH project grant, and we will answer specific questions about the Project Prospectus and discuss expectations and responsibilities for the grant period.

About the instructor: Natalia Ermolaev is Asssitant Director at the CDH. She has a background in Russian literature, periodical studies, and Library and Information Science.


Marginalia in the Early Modern & Post-Modern Atlantic Worlds

February 6 9:00–12:00 PM

9:00-9:15 am: Greetings and Introductions. Tony Grafton, Earle Havens, Jean Bauer

9:15-10:15: “Archaeologies of Reading: Expanding the AOR Digital Corpus.” This session will discuss the evolution of AOR over the past several years from heavy digital infrastructural development, to further applications and broadening humanities content for wider user audiences. Earle Havens, Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University; Matthew Symonds, Jaap Geraerts, Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, University College London

10:45-12:15 pm: Panel discussions, Princeton Center for Digital Humanities, Winthrop, and Derrida teams.

10:45-11:15: “Constraints of the Archive”: This session will discuss the obstacles—material, legal, and intellectual—of working to digitize archives. Speakers will reflect on problems we came across (copyright issues, physical conditions for digitization) and their effects on the intellectual goals of the projects. Alexander Baron-Raiffe, Madeline McMahon, and Jean Bauer

11:15-11:45: “Documents to Data”: This session will reflect on the intellectual distinction between viewing texts as documents (as humanities scholars traditionally do) and seeing them as data (to facilitate digitally enhanced analysis). Speakers will reflect on questions like: what constitutes a moment of citation? What counts as an “annotation” (especially verbal vs. nonverbal vs. insertions)? What constitutes “raw” material, or, to what extent data is always already interpreted? Christian Flow, Katie Chenoweth, Alexander Baron-Raiffe, and Rebecca Munson

11:45-12:15 pm: “Thinking Relationally”: This session will explore the different ways of structuring relational databases and the very different routes that our projects took thanks, largely, to how they conceptualize the relationships among books, annotations, and people. Panelists will discuss the intellectual questions that shaped their data schemas and how they affect the user’s experience of the site. Tony Grafton, Katie Chenoweth, Jean Bauer

Organized by Anthony Grafton and Jean Bauer (Princeton) and Earle Havens (Johns Hopkins University)

Reading Group

Reading Group

Claude Willan
February 8 12:00–1:20 PM

During the academic year, the CDH’s Reading & Discussion group meets for lunch on select Wednesdays to discuss and debate issues in the rapidly changing field of digital humanities. All are invited to attend this interdisciplinary gathering of Princeton faculty, students, librarians, curators and technologists, who range from DH experts to newcomers to the field. In semesters past, our readings and discussions were clustered thematically around issues such as: archive, access, interface, and database.This year, the Reading Group is reconvening in Spring 2017 with a new set of articles and topics to discuss, which will be posted here as well as under the Community section of our site. 

At this meeting, our first for Spring 2017, we'll discuss two interviews published by the Los Angeles Review of Books in their series "The Digital in the Humanities," one with Franco Moretti and one with Marisa Parham.

Guest Lecture

Multidisciplinary Approaches in a Collaborative Digital Lab

Henry Yu
February 8 4:30–6:00 PM

"Away From the Lone Historian? Multidisciplinary Approaches in a Collaborative Digital Research Lab"

The rise of digital humanities labs has created opportunities for bringing together not just multidisciplinary research teams in the social sciences and humanities, but also created the potential to re-organize how social science research is structured by knowledge dissemination and archiving. A series of pilot approaches in migration research between 2008-2016, including the $1.17 million "Chinese Canadian Stories" project, brought together students, off-campus communities, and scholars to redefine approaches to the collaborative production and communication of knowledge. Dr. Henry Yu discusses how scholars, students, and community researchers at UBC have been using digital technology to help reshape what defines research and archival protocols. 

Henry Yu is an Associate Professor of History, and the Principal of St. John’s College, the University of British Columbia. He received his BA in History (Honors) from UBC and an MA and PhD in History from Princeton University. Prof. Yu’s research and teaching has been built around collaboration with local communities and civic society at multiple levels, in particular in the digital humanities. He is the author of Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America (Oxford, 2001) and was the Project Lead for the $1.17 million “Chinese Canadian Stories” public history, research and education project (2010-2012). His current research interests include the history of fascination with interracial sex, Chinese migrations and the development of the “Cantonese Pacific” in the 19th and 20th century, and historical and contemporary engagements between Chinese migrants and indigenous communities within the Pacific basin. He served as the Chair for the Advisory Council for the Province of British Columbia overseeing legacy projects following BC’s apology in 2014 for its history of anti-Chinese legislation. At UBC, Yu helped develop the Asian Canadian and Asian Migrations Studies program, which launched in Fall 2014, and helped design and write the university’s Strategic Plan for Equity and Diversity. Yu served on the Board of Managing Editors of the American Quarterly after it moved to Los Angeles (2003-2007) and again after it moved to Honolulu (2013-2016). He has also served the American Studies Association as an elected member of the Nominating Committee (2003-2005) and Council (2007-2010) as well as the President’s Executive Committee (2007-2010).

This event is being put on by the Program in American Studies.

Guest Lecture

Slavic DH: Samizdat and Alternative History

Ann Komaromi
February 13 4:30–6:00 PM

Alan Liu has written about the changing task for humanists: “Where once the job of literature and the arts was creativity, now, in an age of total innovation, I think it must be history.” Slavic scholars who treat the Soviet period may have a special perspective on history, its distortion and its recovery. Ann Komaromi will talk about how uncensored publication in “samizdat” facilitated the recovery of history in the Soviet Union. How might that work be related to our own mission as digital humanists? What might we recover of lost or marginalized history, and how could DH projects help bridge the divide between institutionalized history and grass-roots or citizen-led efforts?

Ann Komaromi is Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator at the Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto, as well as the coordinator of their Literature and Critical Theory Program.

Reading Group

Reading Group

Claude Willan
February 22 12:00–1:20 PM

Join us for lunch and for discussion of interviews with DH scholars Bethany Nowiskie and Laura Mandell.


Data Visualization II

Jean Bauer
Claude Willan
February 22 4:30–6:00 PM

We are surrounded by data visualizations.  The graphic display of information can be incredibly powerful. Last semester the CDH showed you how to start making your own data visualizations; join Jean Bauer and Claude Willan for this follow-up workshop and learn how to read data visualizations with a critical eye. Jean and Claude will present pro- and con- cases for a wide selection of examples and help you see how to unpick the strengths, weaknesses, and hidden arguments in visualizations of the kind we rely on every day.


Intro to R

Benjamin W. Hicks
March 1 4:30–6:00 PM

Need to do some statistical analysis? R is one of the standard tools in the library of data analytics. It is also an accessible language for non-programmers, with many built-in tools and packages for a wide variety of analyses.

In a digital humanities context, R is useful for web scraping, word frequency analysis, GIS, and other applications.

Join Ben Hicks, DH Developer, for a brief introduction to the basics of the language, its package management, and tools for its use (such as R Studio), along with some practical examples of textual analysis.

Please come with R installed from CRAN for your OS, if possible, along with R Studio.


Intro to Topic Modeling

Claude Willan
March 13 4:30–6:00 PM

Come learn about topic modeling: what it is, how to do it, and how to interpret the results. We'll use R Studio to see some sample scripts, run them on a sample corpus, and analyze the outputs together. CDH postdoc Claude Wilan will lead a gentle introduction.

Reading Group

Reading Group

Claude Willan
March 15 12:00–1:20 PM
This week we'll be talking about a hot topic in digital humanities: infrastructure.
Instead of our usual model of reading a set text, this week we're going to be watching a lecture by Deb Verhoeven, "Identifying the point of it all: Towards a Model of "Digital Infrapuncture".
You can watch the lecture here: 
If you'd like to read more, there's a list of resources at /http://patriksv.net/2016/10/humanities-infrastructure-resources/  and the Twitter hastag #dhinfra also makes for interesting reading.
Whether you're an old hand or new to dh and curious about it all, you are more than welcome to join us on Floor B of Firestone from 12:00 to 1:20. Lunch will be served!

Data Cleaning

Philip Gleissner
March 15 4:30–6:00 PM

Do you have messy data? Is the mess getting in the way of your analysis? Does Excel crash whenever you open *that* file? Don’t despair! Help is on the way. The Center for Digital Humanities graduate fellow Phil Gleissner is hosting a one-hour workshop to help you get past the mess in your data set and on to the analysis and visualizations you actually want to be doing. We will be using the open source data cleaning power tool, OpenRefine. This is a hands on workshop, so please bring your own laptop with OpenRefine pre-installed, if possible. (There are also excellent video tutorials available.  If you have difficulty installing OpenRefine come 30mins early and CDH staff will help you get up and running.) A sample (messy) data set will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own datasets for consultation.


Interactive Design

Xinyi Li
March 29 4:30–6:00 PM

This workshop will explore the meaning of interactivity and interface, and concentrate on learning principles and tools of designing an interactive project. After learning basic concepts, we’ll work together on a project in Design Sprint style, simulating the design process that translates an idea into prototypes and insights. You’ll have hands-on experience with interactive design methods and tools, from sketching flows and wireframes, to developing paper prototypes and testing.

*This workshop does not require prior knowledge of software and programming


Designing a Conference Poster

Xinyi Li
April 17 4:30–6:00 PM

Have you ever had to design a poster for a conference and didn't know where to begin? New to using a poster as a format for presenting your research? Join the CDH's in-house designer Xinyi Li for a workshop to get you started with successful principles, practices, tools, tips and tricks.

If possible, please come with Adobe Indesign (30 days free trial) installed in your laptop. If you have problems installing Indesign come 30 mins early, and CDH staff will help you.

Guest Lecture

The Future's Future: Augmented Reality, DH, and the Modernist Archive

April 19 12:00–1:20 PM

Eric White (Oxford Brookes), "The Future's Future is in the Past": Augmented Reality, Digital Humanities, and the Modernist Archive

Year of Data

Reading Group

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