Introducing the Spring 2020 CDH Seed Grant Projects

The Center for Digital Humanities is pleased to announce the projects receiving spring 2020 Seed Grants. Seed Grants are awarded twice a year and support early-stage projects that have the potential to develop into CDH collaborations. Funds can also be used to organize new campus-wide initiatives.

Networks of Pain: How Chronic Pain is Shared and Shaped in the Twitter Arena

“Networks of Pain,” proposed by Elena Fratto (Slavic Languages and Literatures) and Dylan McGagh (William Alexander Fleet Fellow), will explore how Twitter users engage with the increasingly prominent issue of chronic pain. Fratto and McGagh will assemble a dataset comprising five months of tweets that use the ChronicPain hashtag. By applying digital tools, including topic modeling and network analysis, to analyze the dataset, they hope to identify which topics feature prominently in the social media discourse on chronic pain and to learn whether that discourse changes around the time of major medical conferences.

Digitizing the Syllabi of the School of Architecture

Gabriella Karl-Johnson (Princeton University Library) will use her grant to preserve and analyze course syllabi from the School of Architecture, which have been collected since 1963. After scanning the older syllabi, currently available only in hard copies, Karl-Johnson will apply optical character recognition and text analysis to the documents before making them available to the public via the Open Syllabus Project. Karl-Johnson explains that “the project can help to illuminate several generations of intellectual lineages” at the School of Architecture, which has been home to prominent faculty, and within the field of architecture as a whole.

The Her Book at Princeton Project

As part of the “Her Book at Princeton Project,” Emma Sarconi (Princeton University Library) is creating a database of women’s markings, such as inscriptions and bookplates, within Special Collections. Whereas the first stage of the project focused on the Robert H. Taylor Collection of Literature, the second, supported by the Seed Grant, will foreground collections established by women. Ultimately, Sarconoi writes, “the Her Book Project aims to facilitate a greater understanding of historic female book ownership on a larger, more comprehensive scale than before in an effort to correct current trends and test assumptions in the field of annotation studies.”

East Asian Studies Digital Humanities Working Group

Joshua Seufert (Princeton University Library) and Xin Wen (East Asian Studies and History) will use their grant to establish a new workshop bringing together students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines who are interested in the intersection of East Asian studies and digital humanities. The meetings, which will feature “lightning talks,” will provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about digital humanities methods and to connect over shared interests. Seufert and Wen also intend to develop an online presence for the workshop, including a mailing list and website.

Digital Artifacts from Hong Kong Anti-Extradition Bill Social Movements

For their project, Lillian Leung (Sociology) and Robin Lee (Sociology) will create an annotated dataset of posters and memes relating to 2019 protests in Hong Kong. Leung and Lee plan to analyze the dataset by identifying common language and motifs and also to build a pre-trained computer vision model that annotates such materials automatically. Moreover, Leung and Lee will extract data from crowd-sourced maps showing the political affiliations of Hong Kong businesses. Leung and Lee explain that unlike many popular media reports, which emphasize “rallies and protests on the streets,” their project will illuminate the internet as an “emerging battleground” for social movements.

South Asia DH Working Group

Amna Qayyum (History), Ellen Ambrosone (Princeton University Library), Wafa F. Isfahani (Princeton University Library), Meher Ali (History), and Niharika Yadav (History) will use their seed grant to build community among tri-state scholars and practitioners working at the intersection of South Asian Studies and Digital Humanities. After hosting its inaugural meeting on June 10, the South Asian DH Working Group will host a series of virtual events on the theme, “From Analog to Digital.” As the organizers explain, “each event will consider how we may reimagine or reframe traditional research questions into DH questions.”

Congratulations to all the recipients!

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