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, April 12, 2023 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EDT
Roopika Risam, Dartmouth College
Abstract: TBD. Check back a week or two before the meeting date to access the pre-circulated paper and Zoom link.
Wednesday, May 10, 2023 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EDT
March 8, 2023
Sylvia Fernández Quintanilla, University of Texas at San Antonio
Abstract: In this talk I will present a current special issue, "Re-Envisioning Gender-Based Violence Policy in the Americas," I am coediting with Dr. Rachel Quinn for the Journal of Sexuality, Gender and Policy. This special issue brings together the work of scholars in women’s, gender and sexuality studies, digital humanities, social sciences and cultural studies who are studying violence against women across contexts and borders, by examining how shifting policy across these specific neoliberal contexts shapes the vulnerabilities of women in each location. In order to impact policy, we must shift how we view data on feminicidios as a global phenomenon. To that end, this work considers digital activism by feminists documenting feminicidios in order to build digital archives, public resources and data visualizations and make accessible expanding data that otherwise goes unseen.
February 8, 2023
John Stewart, University of Oklahoma
John Stewart is Assistant Director of the Office of Digital Learning at the University of Oklahoma. An expert in all things digital (and a founding co-organizer of the Digital History Working Group!), John will lead a discussion on the sudden rise of ChatGPT and its implications for historians of science.
January 11, 2023
Justin Madron, One Tree Planted (formerly University of Richmond)
Justin Madron will discuss the groundbreaking work of the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond, where he spent many years as Director.
November 9, 2022
Jennifer Guiliano, IUPUI
Pre-circulated paper: "Digital Source Criticism," chapter 5 in: Jennifer Guiliano, A Primer for Teaching Digital History (Duke University Press, 2022)
Abstract: Source Criticism explores how analog source criticism exercises in the history classroom translate with digital tools. Highlighting potential tools for use in the classroom, the chapter demonstrates the alignment between analog and digital history skill development.
October 12, 2022
Ted Underwood, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Prof. Underwood has graciously agreed to pre-circulate his recent co-authored paper, "Cohort Succession Explains Most Change in Literary Culture." which was published in Sociological Science earlier this year.
Abstract: Many aspects of behavior are guided by dispositions that are relatively durable once formed. Political opinions and phonology, for instance, change largely through cohort succession. But evidence for cohort effects has been scarce in artistic and intellectual history; researchers in those fields more commonly explain change as an immediate response to recent innovations and events. We test these conflicting theories of change in a corpus of 10,830 works of fiction from 1880 to 1999 and find that slightly more than half (54.7 percent) of the variance explained by time is explained better by an author’s year of birth than by a book’s year of publication. Writing practices do change across an author’s career. But the pace of change declines steeply with age. This finding suggests that existing histories of literary culture have a large blind spot: the early experiences that form cohorts are pivotal but leave few traces in the historical record.
September 14, 2022
Amanda Arceneaux, Brown University
Amanda Arceneaux is a PhD candidate in History at Brown University. She offers the following abstract: "This paper is my first take in articulating my methodology and process in developing a videogame for my history dissertation on early modern herbals and knowledge production systems. It looks at why my research lends itself well to an interactive digital format by discussing the historical research of my project and the digital evolution its underwent. The essay concludes by putting the project into the context of historical videogames and looking at examples from Level 2 that exemplify features of a scholarly videogame."
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.
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 an independent scholar affiliated with Vanderbilt University and a staff member at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Previously she was faculty 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.