Introducing the 2022–23 CDH Research Partnerships

The Center for Digital Humanities is excited to announce our 2022–23 Research Partnerships.

Through the newly redesigned Research Partnership grants, faculty will collaborate with Center for Digital Humanities staff on small-scale projects that integrate methods, sources or critique from the humanities, the data-driven or computational sciences, and/or design.

This year’s projects are “Visualizing Lenapehoking History in Princeton” (Jeffrey Himpele) and “Risk and Evolutionary Game Theory” (Lara Buchak).

headshots of Jeffrey Himpele and Lara Buchak

Jeffrey Himpele (Anthropology) and Lara Buchak (Philosophy) are the recipients of the 2022–23 CDH Research Partnership grants.

Visualizing Lenapehoking History in Princeton

For this project, the CDH will partner with the VizE Lab for Ethnographic Data Visualization, directed by Jeffrey D. Himpele (Anthropology), to create a series of interactive visualizations tracing the history of the land on which Princeton stands. The visualizations, which will include maps and visual stories, will disrupt conventional settler-focused narratives, emphasizing instead the presence of Native histories during the establishment of the University and the role of present-day Native communities in preserving the land. Over the course of the partnership term, the CDH will consult on software and other technical solutions to bring the visualizations to life. The visualizations will ultimately appear on the Princeton Indigenous Studies website.

Visualizing Lenapehoking History in Princeton represents the continuation of a collaboration between the CDH and the VizE Lab (Dept. of Anthropology) on early stages of the project. The project emerged from a course paper authored by Jiyoun Roh ’24 for “Indigenous Literatures,” taught by Professor Sarah Rivett.

“This project is intended to be a crucial site for decolonizing the self-understanding of our own campus community, which formed here on unceded Lenape land. And data visualization is the most fitting medium for surfacing and making intelligible the actual complexity of Princeton’s history. For instance, we will surface the native histories that are unseen in Euro-centric views of time and space by building charts and maps that portray the conflicts and co-presence of multiple cultures and histories. I’m especially excited about working with the CDH to create these as user-centered interactive data visualizations. By interacting with the visuals, members of the university community will be able pursue their own historical questions, visually explore relationships between culture, power and history, and focus on specific dynamics. In sum, readers of the site will be vital agents in creating a richer understanding of their university, and in new ways that go beyond default European terms.” –Jeffrey D. Himpele

Risk and Evolutionary Game Theory

Lara Buchak (Philosophy) will partner with the CDH to explore the concept of “risk-weighted expected utility,” developed in her earlier work, through game-theoretic simulations. Risk-weighted expected utility is a mathematical theory accounting for the idea that individuals can be rational while being either risk-avoidant or risk-inclined; the theory thus challenges the orthodox idea that rational individuals necessarily maximize expected utility. To test the theory, Buchak will work with the CDH to develop code for two simulations: one based on Skyrm’s “Divide the Dollar” simulation, which will examine the relationship between risk-avoidance and fairness—more specifically, whether risk-avoidant behavior causes people to prefer equal outcomes; and one that will engage with shifts in risk attitudes. Not only will the simulations shed light on Buchak’s theory; but her project promises to illuminate risk-inclined and risk-avoidant behavior in real-life scenarios. For instance, the simulations might help us to think about how to promote or discourage risk-avoidant or risk-inclined behavior in society.  

"In philosophy, game-theoretic simulations have been applied to explain many phenomena, such as moral norms, conventions, and, more recently, gender and racial disparities. But some of these simulations fail to account for how people actually respond to risk. My hope is that by incorporating the idea of risk-weighting, we will get more robust explanations, and also learn something about the nature of risk and our responses to it." –Lara Buchak

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