Digital History of Science
This working group will explore the intersections between the digital humanities and the history of science. Computers have transformed every aspect of our craft, from collection and curation to analysis and interpretation, and every aspect of our profession, from research and teaching to service and conferencing. We will read and discuss works that use digital tools to advance the history of science, and we will interrogate the meaning of this digital revolution for both the historical record and the historical profession.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2022 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EDT
Wednesday, October 12, 2022 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EDT
Wednesday, November 9, 2022 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST
Wednesday, December 14, 2022 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST
May 4, 2022
Daniel Hutchinson, Belmont Abbey College
Dr. Hutchinson will discuss the latest developments in generative art and their potential impact on the historical record and the historical profession.
April 6, 2022
Emily Merchant, UC Davis - "U. S. Demography in Transition"
Abstract: At the end of the 1970s, American demographers faced a crisis: population control had lost its moral legitimacy, and private sources of research funding were drying up. This paper examines how demography as a field responded to the crisis, using structural topic modeling to analyze oral history interviews spanning nearly forty years. It finds that demographers tapped a new source of funding, the National Institutes of Health, shifting their research focus to health disparities in the United States, and converted the Population Association of America from an interest group for people concerned with population growth to a professional organization for demographers.
*Please do not share, cite, or quote from the attached manuscript, which is currently under review
March 2, 2022
Stephen Weldon, University of Oklahoma, will describe his experiences working on the Isis CB (Current Bibliography) for the past sixteen years. He is kindly pre-circulating two papers in advance of his visit. The first paper details his work as a bibliographer and his innovations related to IsisCB Explore. The second paper details his experiences working on the IsisCB Pandemics Special Issue.
- Stephen P. Weldon, “Building Infrastructure in the Digital Age: Case Study of the Isis Bibliography of History of Science, 2002-2018,” Circumscribere: International Journal for the History of Science 21 (2018): 21–40. https://doi.org/10.23925/1980-7651.2018v21;p21-40
- Stephen P. Weldon, "On Open Peer Review in the IsisCB Pandemic Special Issue," History of Science Society Newsletter (July 2021): 29-30. https://cdn.ymaws.com/hssonline.org/resource/resmgr/newsletter_archive/hss-nl-2021-vol50-n3-july.pdf
February 2, 2022
E. Thomas Ewing (Virginia Tech), “The Frequency of This Occurrence was Greatly Exaggerated”: A Data in Social Context Study of the 1889-1890 Russian Influenza in New Haven
This paper examines the “Russian influenza” in New Haven, Connecticut, to explore computational humanities approaches to the history of medicine. Using newspapers and health reports, this case study applies methods such as text searching, close reading, data visualization, and statistical analysis to answer questions about the meaning of data in the context of a pandemic. The essay concludes with a reflection on the ways that studying historical pandemic during a pandemic has shaped the meaning and interpretation of epidemiological data.
December 1, 2021
Anna Guerrero, Marine Biological Laboratory and American Philosophical Society
Anna Guerrero is a PhD candidate in the Center for Biology and Society at Arizona State University. She’s usually studying history and philosophy of images in science, with a specific interest in fields that deal with entities invisible to the naked eye (like microbes). In this talk, she discusses how computational methods, particularly turning publication metadata and abstracts into networks (co-author, co-citation, keyword co-occurance) with VoS Viewer, can be used to investigate historical questions about the influence of scientists and their ideas. She will present these methods, the data they can produce, and the problems they can help solve through a case study investigating the influence of Günter Blobel and his idea of “protein topogenesis.”
November 3, 2021
Jaimie Murdock will discuss his paper, "The Origin of the Origin: Understanding Darwin’s Delay through his Reading Notebooks," which you'll find attached. The pre-print is also available at the following link:
Summary: There were 21 years between when Darwin first reported the Malthusian insight on natural selection and when The Origin of Species was published in 1859. In the intervening years, Darwin carefully recorded each book that he read in a set of reading notebooks. We reconstructed the contents of this library using digital collections and applied topic modeling to them to discern how Darwin selected the next book to read: was he motivated by deep dives or by massive breadth? We also compared the contents of these texts to the Origin and to several intermediate drafts. The computational models inform historical questions, providing novel evidence to support that Darwin's theory grew from the additional research time and was not held private out of fear of reprisal, but rather continuing to grow in response to newly published materials.
October 6, 2021
Ben Lee, "Compounded Mediation: A Data Archaeology of the Newspaper Navigator Dataset"
In this paper, Ben Lee examines the strengths and weaknesses of the Newspaper Navigator dataset that he developed while recently serving as Innovator-in-Residence at the Library of Congress. The attached paper has been accepted by Digital Humanities Quarterly and is scheduled to appear in a forthcoming issue. You can also access a pre-print on the Humanities Commons.
September 1, 2021
Abraham Gibson (UT San Antonio), "Digital Humanities in the Deepfake Era"
Author's note: "This chapter will appear in the forthcoming edited volume, Debates in the Digital Humanities 2022 (University of Minnesota Press, 2022). I am currently devleoping a larger DH project about deepfakes and the historical record, and I welcome suggestions and feedback." ~ AG
Abe Gibson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He co-edited a Focus Section on computational methods in the history and philosophy of science for Isis, and he coauthored an article contextualizing computational history in the same issue. Forthcoming chapters examine the challenges of interdisciplinary collaboration in the digital humanities and the significance of deepfakes for the historical profession.
Danielle Picard is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include the history of the human sciences (psychology), science communication, critical disability studies, and the digital humanities.
John Stewart is the Assistant Director of the Office of Digital Learning at the University of Oklahoma. John is the project manager for OU Create, a Domain of One’s Own Initiative that provides web hosting and web development training for all faculty, staff, and students at OU. He also designs gameful learning experiences to promote digital literacy and helps faculty integrate digital technologies into their teaching.
Paul Kelley Vieth is a Ph.D. student in the University of Oklahoma’s Department of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine focusing on 20th-century Latin American agricultural history. He received his M.A. from the University of Oklahoma in the History of Science. He also has bachelor’s degrees from the University of Oklahoma in International Security Studies with an emphasis on China, and History with a minor in the History of Science. His research interests include alternatives in sustainable agriculture, digital humanities and data visualization, and the democratization of information production and consumption.