Abstracts

Monday, March 18, 2024

4:35 – 5:35 pm Transnational Borderlands Thinking and Knowledge-Making through Feminist Data Mapping

Sylvia Fernandez (University of Texas at San Antonio, USA), Niloufar Esmaeili (University of Texas at San Antonio, USA), and Kiri Avelar (University of California at Santa Barbara, USA)

Maps have long been understood to be embedded within structures of power that differentially privilege and oppress (Kelly & Bosse 2022). Feminist digital geographies, design justice, and data feminism have reinvigorated attention to mapping contexts by grounding feminist principles such as power through situated knowledge and intersectionality—particularly in relationship to systems of oppression—in maps and mapping (Elwood and Leszczynski 2018; Costanza-Chock 2018 and 2020; D’Ignazio and Klein 2016 and 2020). This panel explores applied pedagogy at the intersection of feminist data activism, borderlands culture and digital mapping to understand and put in theory and praxis digital humanities knowledge-making from transborderlands and transnational perspectives.  

Teaching Socially Responsible Feminist Mapping through TransBorder Data in the Humanities 

The first speaker presents the design, objectives and outcomes of an interdisciplinary course on borderlands digital humanities that enhance in the development of multilingual geohumanities datasets and visualizations to explore a series of thematical feminist cartographies through transnational, intersectional, antiracist, geographical and historical frameworks. The course explores and critically analyzes a selected group of border women’s literature texts, archival material, databased and digital projects of counterdata that address transborder gender-based and related violence and feminicides, and transnational feminist social movement and networks of solidarity. This course is supported by Mellon-Mozilla grant that is working collaboratively to revise courses related to socially responsible computing in the humanities and information science. 

Empowering Voices: The Cultural Impact of Iranian Women’s Digital Activism 

This presentation traces the cultural manifestations of digital activism of Iranian women in the aftermath of “Women Life Freedom” movement both inside Iran and within diasporic communities abroad. In an authoritarian society even minor forms of protests and critique are strictly controlled. Therefore, Iranian activists adopted digital activism as their main technique of resistance in 2022. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter (currently known as X) have contributed significantly to the circulation of voices of Iranian digital activists across the world. This phenomenon has demonstrated its influence in different cultural productions such as literature, cinema, and art, which are the focus of this study. 

Transnational Family Dance Lineages of the U.S./Mexico Bracero Program: Decolonizing Self (Portraiture) through Radical (Re)Mappings of Diasporic Selfhood 

 The third presenter engages in the (re)mapping of two Latinx artists’ transnational family dance lineages by drawing a connecting line from their contemporary practices in 2022, to performances that originate in the U.S./Mexico Bracero Program in 1942. The (re)mapping of the artists’ (physical) self-practice becomes a portal to their families, ancestors, and the diasporas to which they belong across the visual-spatial-temporal boundaries of Zacatecas in Mexico, and Washington, California, and Texas in the United States. Each distinct (re)mapping traces a different complexity of transnational diasporic selfhood and (re)maps the artists’ embodied genealogies (Cisneros 2019) through the U.S./Mexico Bracero Program.

Return to Monday schedule

5:45 – 6:45 pm – Artificial Intelligence: Praxis, Problems, and Play

Generative AI and Linguistic (In)justice

Laura Hensch (SUNY Buffalo, USA)

AI offers both benefits and concerns for writers, teachers, and writing centers pursuing linguistic justice. In my experience, some students who begin to enthusiastically free-write in Black English or other dialects become so frustrated by the autocorrections and red underlining from Google and Microsoft that they ultimately give up. Turning off these features altogether cuts off writers’ access to the parts of the technology that they do rely on; and while we can set a computer to British or American English standards, at this point there is no setting for Black English. Thus, it may be surprising that ChatGPT3.5 can write in Black English and multiple regional American dialects in a variety of registers. This development suggests some exciting possibilities for writing teachers and writing centers, such as providing instant models of a range of dialects in a variety of tones and genres; and potentially laying the groundwork for Black English settings in future autocorrect technologies. Yet there are also a number of concerns: given slightly different prompts, the quality varies greatly in the samples of Black English and regional dialects, such that some results are strong, but some reflect the corpus data’s racist or classist attitudes; the formulaic nature of ChatGPT’s output in any dialect, which may stifle innovation that is crucial to writers experimenting with voice; and the separation of English dialects into distinct large language models, reinforcing a dividing line that encourages code switching instead of code meshing. Thus, AI opens some promising new avenues for writing teachers and students, but it is also riddled with pitfalls (both obvious and hidden) that we must learn to navigate and critique if we are to use and shape this new technology in ethical ways that support linguistic justice rather than perpetuating injustice.

Return to Monday schedule

AI in Visual Art Education: Inspirations from Contemporary Artists

Borim Song (East Carolina University, USA) and Ahran Koo (California State University, USA)

In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI), a term coined by John McCarthy in 1956, has been continuously debated, as creating art pieces using an AI has become more common in our daily lives. However, we feel that visual art educators are not fully prepared for the use of AI in visual art education. This unpreparedness may be due to two obstacles. First, we have some level of fear regarding AI use in art education, as the use of machines as creative agency is new to us. The other barrier is our resistance to the premise that AI challenges traditional definitions of creativity and requires the reconstruction of how this important concept applies to arts education practices. The debate regarding whether creativity is solely a human’s possession or whether creativity can be practiced by AI has been an ongoing dialogue. As the notions and boundaries of creativity became blurred, more artists and scientists began exploring whether a computer can create art (Miller, 2019). This paper is an endeavor to respond to these concerns and unconfident responses related to digital humanities and AI in classrooms. We illuminate the implications of the work of contemporary artists who actively incorporate AI technologies into their practices, particularly for today’s art education. We highlight the work of two artists/artist groups: Patrick Tresset in Belgium and Shinseungback Kimyonghun in South Korea. Each artist/artist group has applied different approaches to the use of machine-learning algorithms and AI based on their genuine interest as artists and cultural creators. Their definition of the role of AI in creative art-making processes is distinctive on their own terms and centered on their artistic goals and missions. These artists’ focus is on intuitive processes, maintaining and developing their artistic curiosity and critical thinking, rather than the technologies themselves.

Return to Monday schedule

Who wrote it better? Analyzing human and generative AI journalistic reporting

Abby Cole (University of Texas at Dallas, USA)

Calling attention to the unique and valuable contributions of a human reporter is essential as journalism considers the integration of generative AI in the reporting process. This paper engages in a close reading of 5 articles co-authored and fully-authored by AI (from 2018-2023) to form a textual and discourse analysis focusing on the written output of AI to compare the writing styles of a computer and a human reporter. A literature review of feminist STS and journalism scholarship informs a critical media and feminist lens to argue for thoughtful consideration about the integration of automated labor practices and recognition of a journalist’s ability to negotiate objectivity, which pushes against the imagined neutrality in computers. Recognizing the influence of social responsibility theory within the field of journalism, I argue that journalism needs the human influence to ensure the execution of work that exhibits properly trained journalists, works against concerns with dis/misinformation, and supports the influence of lived experiences in shaping language as part of a larger communicative process. Drawing on posthumanism and media and communication theories, I maintain that the human is essential in shaping a productive communicative practice that advances society. Using James Carey’s ritual view of communication, Stuart Hall’s circuit of culture, and Donna Haraway’s concept of situated knowledges as frameworks, I am attentive to the influence of human experiences to more accurately inform through the contextualization and prioritization of information in a way that outperforms artificial intelligence. It is this specificity that calls for hierarchizing and honoring the role of the human in this form of journalism.

Return to Monday schedule

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

​12:15 – 1:15 pm – Humanidades digitales latinas y decolonialismo

Gabriela Baeza Ventura (University of Houston, USA), Montse Feu (Sam Houston State University, USA), and Paloma Vargas Montes (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico)

Descripción del panel:

Este panel ofrece una visión de las posibilidades que existen cuando se trabajan las humanidades digitales desde una perspectiva latina. Las tres presentaciones muestran el trabajo con archivos latinos en EEUU desde donde se recuperan documentos, voces, vidas. Esta actividad permite documentar la participación de la comunidad latina en la creación de nación.  

“Métodos decoloniales y las humanidades digitales latinas,” Gabriela Baeza Ventura, University of Houston

Esta presentación se centra en lo que está en juego en la realización de proyectos de humanidades digitales a través del lente de humanidades digitales latinx con el fin de crear métodos decoloniales que impugnen las narrativas coloniales. Los archivos institucionales se han apropiado del conocimiento, han etiquetado erróneamente y han descontextualizado las historias de la gente de color, perpetuando un trauma generacional que informa la representación de la gente Latinx en los Estados Unidos. Los proyectos digitales realizados por el Centro de humanidades digitales, como el Proyecto de literatura puertorriqueña (PLPR), tiene el potencial de crear una comprensión más inclusiva de la literatura y la historia. Además, la aplicación de herramientas digitales a archivos subrepresentados puede amplificar las complejas voces de historias y lenguas multiétnicas, ejemplificar las tensiones entre comunidades e instituciones formales, recuperar voces ancestrales y ofrecer la oportunidad de reescribir historias marginadas en el discurso nacional.

“Arte gráfico de los periódicos antifascistas en español” Montse Feu, Sam Houston State University 

El arte gráfico de los periódicos antifascistas en español de Nueva York, Frente Popular (1936-1939), España Libre (1939-1977) e Ibérica (1953-1974), denunciaron el fascismo español gracias a las noticias de redes de trabajadores en la resistencia. En particular, las ilustraciones recrearon una cultura visual de solidaridad, acción directa y conmemoración. Frente Popular y España Libre mantuvieron una política de publicación abierta al público que permitió a los trabajadores expresar su antifascismo. La acción directa de SHC creó una cultura de solidaridad y de activismo participatorio. Las imágenes examinadas aquí están curadas en el proyecto digital Fighting Fascist Spain – The Exhibits (FFSTE). Con una metodología interdisciplinaria y con el objetivo de la justicia histórica, FFSTE recupera la historia de la organización antifascista estadounidense, Sociedades Hispanas Confederadas, su activismo y la cultura impresa. 

“Indigenous Episteme of the Borderlands: el horizonte hermenéutico de sus metadatos” Paloma Vargas Montes, Tecnología de Monterrey

El proyecto Indigenous Episteme of the Borderlands parte del establecimiento de un corpus de documentos del Archivo General de Indias que describen la interacción entre los grupos indígenas y los europeos durante los siglos XVII y XVIII en el sureste de Texas y el noreste de México. Desde una perspectiva metodológica que integra la filología, la hermenéutica y la etnohistoria, el análisis de este corpus textual y sus potenciales visualizaciones plantea la creación de una matriz de metadatos cuyo horizonte hermenéutico abordan el territorio como región cultural, la movilidad de los grupos indígenas como parte de su cosmovisión y las transfiguraciones del imaginario de lo indígena durante el período colonial.

Return to Tuesday schedule

1:20 – 2:00 pm – Womanhood, Art, and Labor

Analysing the Depiction of Motherhood through Multimodal Networks: a Comparative Study about socially engaged engravers producing in Brazil in the 20th century

Barbara Romero Ferron (Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands; Western University, Canada) and Luana Medina Fortes (University of São Paulo, Brazil)

Feminist marxist thought has long been looking into motherhood as labor, defending its role in perpetrating patriarchal capitalism. That role has been examined, consciously or not, by many artists producing socially engaged art in the 20th century, as it has happened in Social Realist enthusiasts in Brazil. To analyze images produced by those artists through a data driven analysis that accounts for the depiction of motherhood, it is critical to understand how to best identify it in images. 

From previous research conducted by us, we have obtained a manually annotated and structured dataset consisting of 372 engravings of 57 Brazilian socially engaged engravers. Drawing upon this dataset, we aim to gain insights into how multimodal networks understand the concept of motherhood. Does the output of such networks, which can automatically label images, agree with human annotators for motherhood? Are there shared characteristics within engravings automatically tagged with motherhood? 

We used a pre-trained multimodal network for two main reasons: (1) multimodal networks combine multiple types of data, for example, text and images, and (2) the interest in working with a pre-trained model, as opposed to finetuning a preexistent model, as doing so grants insights into how these models have been trained and how they would understand motherhood. These models generate a probability score indicating the likelihood of a word’s association with an image and vice versa. We supplied the pre-trained model with our image corpus with the task of determining which engravings were most likely to represent motherhood. 

The preliminary results demonstrate how the model assigns high scores of similarity to engravings that portray children held by women. However, not all the engravings that were manually tagged as motherhood are given a high score by the model, for example, the engravings that depict women working while children are around.

We acknowledge that this field is rapidly evolving, and it is possible that at the time of this presentation, new models with varying levels of accuracy and different pretrained methods may offer fresh perspectives and impact the outcomes of this research.

Return to Tuesday schedule

Intersectional Play: Representation in Storytelling, Decolonization in Digital Games, and Black Women’s Cultural Labor Production

Diamond Beverly-Porter (Washington State University, USA)

Game studies have long since been interested in how players interact in and with the game and narrative elements. Playing dolls is one of the earliest examples of play. In the contemporary context of digital games dolls blend narrative, identity, community, and materiality within the digital context. Digital games are an extremely popular medium that encourages interactivity, play, and engagement with participants. The demographic of game players has been evolving from a traditionally male-dominated media form towards a decrease in the gender gap (Hartmann and Klimmt 2006).

Game studies often neglect the contributions that underrepresent black women and their play experiences. Black women’s cultural production has historically been disregarded and rendered invisible. I will be examining the Sims 4 and Grand Theft Auto (GTA) 5 roleplay servers, live streams, and Twitch playthroughs. Black players’ modifications to game content (mods) in the Sims 4 with Custom Content (CC) and adapting the gameplay to fit more culturally relevant narratives is rooted in doll play that occurs at the intersects of black women studies and game studies. Black cultural labor deserves recognition and is skilled work. Black cultural labor in the digital age, such as the game mods introduced in Sims 4, is rooted in decolonial and against white supremacy.

By examining how contemporary play in digital games intersects with black cultural labor and storytelling the aim is to illuminate the invisible labor of black women in games, map the historical connections between black women and technological innovation as community work and survival, as well as highlight the cultural labor that has historically been disregarded.

Works Cited

Hartmann, Tilo, and Christoph Klimmt. “Gender and Computer Games: Exploring Females’ Dislikes.” Wiley, 2006, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2006.00301.x. Accessed 28 Sept. 2023.

Return to Tuesday schedule

2:10 – 3:10 pm – Multilingual Praxis in DH

Adaptability is traditional: incorporating a digital toolkit in Anishinaabe language and cultural revitalization

Ellie Mitchell (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, Mount Pleasant, MI; Michigan State University, USA)

This presentation will explore how Anishinaabeg have incorporated digital tools such as livestreaming and intentional web design into culture and language revitalization efforts and the importance of continuing virtual offerings. Historical and ongoing policies of settler-colonial governments (namely the US and Canada), including boarding schools, has left American Indian languages and cultural practices in a critical state. Many Anishinaabe tribal governments, community organizations, businesses and individuals make efforts to revitalize traditional lifeways. But with an emphasis on in-person attendance, such programs may be inaccessible to their target participants. The pandemic forced a broad move to online offerings, thus expanding access to many tribal members. Access to culture and language is associated with an improved quality of life for Indigenous people; therefore, it is crucial that programs continue virtual or hybrid offerings, to allow continued access to vital programming.

Following the broad adoption, themes and techniques for Indigenization of virtual space emerged across communities and specialization (i.e. language classes, food sovereignty, material arts, dance, scholarly endeavors). Web design and visual content incorporates techniques of Indigenous interior design and architecture; virtual event organizers can use methods from tribal archivists to restrict access to sacred or privileged knowledge. Active cultural practitioners face unique challenges in protecting vulnerable community members, including minimizing lateral/intracommunity oppression, such as misogyny, anti-TwoSpirit sentiments, colorism, and tribal politics. External threats include white supremacy, exploitive/extractive researchers, and intrusive outsiders. This presentation will examine different techniques for maintaining a safe space and minimizing violence, drawn from the presenter’s own methods and those utilized by other practitioners.

Return to Tuesday schedule

Characterizing similarities between TenTen family corpora: revealing a hierarchy in multilingual digital tools

David Bordonaba-Plou (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain) and Laila M. Jreis-Navarro (Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain)

Español 

Existe una conexión cada vez más significativa entre las Humanidades Digitales (HD) y el multilingüismo que sitúa la lengua en el centro de la propia definición de la disciplina. Durante mucho tiempo, la disponibilidad de recursos y herramientas de alta calidad desarrollados para la lengua inglesa ha favorecido prácticas específicas en las HD que tienen poco en cuenta la diversidad cultural y lingüística. El análisis de las lenguas a partir de corpus digitales, conocido como lingüística de corpus, forma parte de las HD y habilita un entorno apto para los estudios comparativos. Para responder a la creciente necesidad de entornos digitales que permitan la investigación lingüística, Sketch Engine ha puesto a disposición de la comunidad académica un software con herramientas de análisis y diversos recursos, entre los cuales se cuenta la familia de corpus multilingües TenTen. La familia TenTen está constituida por 43 miembros, cada uno de los cuales presenta un corpus representativo de una lengua, desde la árabe hasta la china, pasando por lenguas mucho más minoritarias como la islandesa o la maorí.

En esta presentación, examinaremos las limitaciones de las herramientas digitales para facilitar la investigación interlingüística e intercultural desde una perspectiva humanística. Nuestro objetivo principal es establecer comparaciones entre los corpus TenTen, evaluando su grado de similitud. Para lograr este objetivo, hemos realizado un análisis de grupos (cluster analysis) en los 43 corpus de la familia TenTen utilizando un conjunto de parámetros que caracterizan la pertenencia a esta familia. Este análisis agrupa los corpus TenTen que presentan características similares, haciendo emerger una jerarquía implícita dentro de la familia multilingüe de corpus. Haciendo explícita esta jerarquía, buscamos señalar determinados obstáculos que dificultan el avance de los estudios que hacen uso de lenguas distintas al inglés.

English

There is an increasingly significant connection between the Digital Humanities (DH) and multilingualism that places language at the heart of the very definition of the discipline. For a long time, the availability of high-quality resources and tools developed for English has favored specific practices in the DH that pay little attention to cultural and linguistic diversity. The analysis of languages based on digital corpora, known as corpus linguistics, is part of the DH and provides a suitable environment for comparative studies. In response to the growing need for digital environments that enable linguistic research, Sketch Engine has made available to the academic community software with analysis tools and resources, including the multilingual TenTen corpus family. The TenTen family consists of 43 members, each of which presents a representative corpus of a language, ranging from Arabic to Chinese and including minority languages such as Icelandic and Maori. In this presentation, we will examine the limitations of digital tools to facilitate cross-linguistic and cross-cultural research from a humanistic perspective. Our main objective is to establish comparisons between the TenTen corpora, assessing their degree of similarity. To achieve this goal, we have performed a cluster analysis on the 43 corpora of the TenTen family using a set of parameters that characterize the membership of this family. This analysis groups TenTen corpora that present similar characteristics, making an implicit hierarchy emerge within the multilingual family of corpora. By making this hierarchy explicit, we seek to point out certain obstacles that hinder the progress of studies that make use of languages other than English.

Return to Tuesday schedule

Bridging the Gap for Digitally Disadvantaged Languages

Quinn Dombrowski (Stanford University, USA)

For the Latin alphabet used in English, the technical landscape has always “just worked”. To this day, reliably writing and reading digital text in other scripts can be a struggle — or simply impossible in writing systems that have not been added to the Unicode Standard. A new initiative, SILICON, will present its work to improve support for digitally-disadvantaged languages, ensuring that speakers of indigenous languages across the, for example, speakers of indigenous languages across the globe can text relatives in their home language, scholars of historical languages can accurately represent documents from the past in digital form.

The Unicode Standard, and the Unicode Consortium responsible for its development and upkeep, play a crucial role in the landscape of digital and digitized language. Since the 1980’s, this standard has been crafted by linguists, technologists, and speaker communities. As of 2023, it includes 161 scripts, with Indigenous scripts of America (including Mayan hieroglyphs), South and Southeast Asia overrepresented.

Even after a script has been accepted into Unicode, creating fonts (to display the text) and keyboard layouts (so users can write the text) can add a decade to a script’s timeline for digital inclusion. SILICON brings keyboard and font designers into the Unicode conversations earlier in the process, allowing them to work in parallel with the encoding effort. SILICON also serves as a pipeline for students with a commitment to linguistic diversity to enter the tech pipeline, through facilitating summer internships at the large tech companies with large tech companies that play an important role in implementing the Unicode Standard.

This presentation will contextualize SILICON within a 40-year history of work towards linguistic justice and representation in technology, shed light on the often-overlooked Unicode Consortium whose work underpins all modern digital text, and describe the successes and challenges of SILICON to date.

Return to Tuesday schedule

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

9:10 – 10:25 am – Text Analysis: Languages of Power & Resistance

Unleashing Diverse Voices of Colonialism: Topic Modeling Translated and Original Adventure Fiction in Semi-colonial China (1898-1919)

Xuezhao Li (Ohio State University, USA)

China’s Colonial History has long been dominated by the “semi-colonial” narrative in which putting China in the “colonized” position, scholars either accuse the Western imperial powers of their “colonial invasion” or argue for China’s agency due to the fact that it was not fully colonized. This narrative has stifled the diverse voices of colonialism in early twentieth-century China. Chinese people had ambiguous attitudes towards colonialism, which could form a spectrum ranging from opposition to advocacy. This study examines the complexities of China’s colonial experiences through the textual analysis of a largely overlooked fictional genre: modern Chinese adventure fiction. Between 1898 and 1919, there were around 200 adventure fiction translations and over 100 creations. These texts are overlooked in Literary Studies for lack of information about their authors/translators because they were mostly published in popular magazines/newspapers. Treated as pastime readings with low aesthetic value, they were scarcely canonized. However, this study argues that these works deserve more attention because their close connection with colonialist ideologies enables us to investigate an important question: how was colonialism appropriated in semi-colonial China with China’s transformation from a colonialist empire to a national state? And Digital Humanities provides useful tools to break through previous barriers and thus challenge the elitist literary narrative that downplays voices in popular literature. This study uses topic modeling to reveal the major topics in three data sets: Chinese adventure fiction, translated adventure fiction, and their originals. The different topic focuses of these data sets show not only how colonialist ideas were viewed differently in the West and modern China due to their different positions in the global colonial system, but also the diversity and ambiguities of modern Chinese colonialist voices. The result also presents China’s transcultural appropriation of Western colonialism.

Return to Wednesday schedule

Entre la censura, el vigilantismo, y la resistencia: Activismo K-Pop y Derechos Humanos en Colombia.

Andrés Lombana-Bermúdez and Sergio Rodríguez Gómez (Universidad Javeriana, Colombia)

Durante el Paro Nacional de 2021 en Colombia surgió una forma de protesta en Twitter (ahora llamada X) en la que los hashtags promovidos por el gobierno y grupos de orientación política de derecha —que buscaban estigmatizar a los manifestantes y justificar la represión violenta— fueron inundados por miles de trinos que contenían fotos y videos de artistas coreanos del género de música K-Pop. Esta acción colectiva, que hemos llamado “desborde de hashtags” (Lombana-Bermudez & Rodríguez Gómez, 2023), implicó la participación de fans del movimiento K-pop local y global, y también la de miembros de otros grupos sociales que se movilizaron para participar en la protesta digital. En esta presentación compartimos los resultados de un estudio exploratorio, interdisciplinario, y multi-método basado en el análisis de un corpus de 134144 tweets. Por medio del análisis de contenido multimodal, el análisis de redes sociales, las estadísticas descriptivas y la visualización de datos, nuestra investigación identifica y explica las tácticas de activismo digital utilizadas en la acción de protesta K-Pop y caracteriza sus redes y dinámicas en relación con la circulación de información. ¿Qué prácticas caracterizaron la protesta digital K-pop?, ¿Qué grupos sociales participaron en ella? ¿Qué tipo de redes locales y globales fueron constituidas durante el despliegue de la acción de protesta? En la presentación discutiremos los resultados de la investigación enfocándonos en el repertorio de tácticas de activismo digital utilizadas para controlar los flujos de información en Twitter, y en el análisis multinivel de las redes que se constituyeron durante la acción K-Pop. Además, reflexionaremos críticamente sobre la efectividad y las limitaciones de esta forma de protesta digital considerando su impacto en el ejercicio de los derechos humanos, particularmente el derecho a la libre expresión, y en el incremento de la polarización en Colombia.

Return to Wednesday schedule

The Language of Colonialism: A Study of the Speeches of the Viceroys of India

Gauri Jhangiani (Independent Scholar, Gurgaon, India)

In “The Postcolonial Studies Reader,” Bill Ashcroft says of the importance of language in colonialism: “The language itself implies certain assumptions about the world, a certain history, a certain way of seeing” (55). In the case of British rule in India, the imposition of language was a way of expressing and creating a power dynamic. This most significantly emerged through legal language—from documents such as the Doctrine of Lapse to laws leading to major incidents, such as the Partition of Bengal. Therefore, a critical examination of the Viceroy, as the official representative of the British Crown in India, is integral to understanding the impact of language on rule. It is in this context that my project, which utilises text analysis to examine the speeches of the Viceroy, serves as a means for exploring these questions further, becoming a crucial intervention at the intersection of postcolonial thinking and DH methodology. Using Python and the NLTK, I worked to analyse a corpus of 84 speeches made by 14 Governor-Generals who ruled India between 1880 and 1947, ultimately revealing that the Viceroys relied on the speeches to sustain an image of the British Raj’s strong, unshakeable rule amid a tumultuous period of growing Indian nationalism. Through my presentation, I will demonstrate how the Viceroys typically addressed economic and government bodies on topics such as the economy, health and the growing pressures of World War II, while simultaneously avoiding reference to events or individuals crucial to modern Indian history, such as the Partition of India and Mahatma Gandhi, aiming to display political stability for continued commercial support to the Empire. Ultimately, the project draws attention to how political language played a role in maintaining the British Empire’s façade of absolute power even as it began to crumble.

Return to Wednesday schedule

Computational Political Propaganda Detection on Twitter during Russia-Ukraine War: A Critical Discourse Analysis based Theoretical Framework

Husnain Raza (Presenting), Maria Ivana Lorenzetti, and Marco Rospocher (University of Verona, Italy)

Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) focuses on exploring the relationship between language and the social context by uncovering social structures, power relations that are constructed through the use of language (Mautner and Baker, 2009; Gramsci, 1999). Over the last decade, social media platforms have become a significant source of data and have transformed the landscape of information dissemination (Zhu et al, 2018), specifically during conflicts, and are used by politicians to influence public opinion. Language corpora are also studied now a days to discover and understand the use of language (Meyer, 2002; 2023) for presenting social structure and power relations through Corpus Assisted Discourse Analysis (Gillings, Mautner and Baker, 2023; Aluthman, 2018; Partington et al. 2013; Mautner, 2005). Our research hypothesizes that war time discourse by politicians on social media platforms incorporate propaganda and focuses on demystifying the social structures and power relations that attempts to influence public opinion through wartime discourse propaganda on social media also automating the whole process through machine learning approach. This presentation aims to present an approach to investigate political war propaganda tweets corpora from a critical discourse analysis prospect and automating the process to classify war propaganda tweets by Russian and Ukrainian politicians between January 2022 and March 2023. This research incorporates propaganda, critical, discourse and argumentation theory to adapt critical discourse analysis in corporation with corpus linguistics as a theoretical framework to study the language used by politicians in their tweets for presenting war ideologies, power relations, persuasion/manipulation and (re)contextualization. Further this research attempts to automate the process of detecting propaganda through machine learning models.

Return to Wednesday schedule

10:30 – 11:00 am – Project Showcase

Visualizing 400 Years of History of the Indigenous Native American -The Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia

Babiha Bakshi

This visual presentation explores the deep history of the Indigenous Native American Tribe, the Patawomeck, based in Stafford County, Virginia along the Potomac River. This study is a close examination of the histories and artifacts of the Patawomeck starting in the 1600s, revealing how the people were displaced from their native land because of the effects of colonialism and English encroachment on their traditional customs. After surveying the artifacts, analyzing the documents and transcriptions of the local history, and interacting with members of the tribe, I have stitched together a study that explores the following key topics of the experience of the Patawomeck Tribe: labor, politics and activism, and culture. Each topic represents a different aspect of tribal life and exposes the concepts and variations of tribes and their ancestors in the region over centuries of history. These stories have been visualized to answer the following questions: Where have they lived in concentrated communities within Virginia? What pushed them into areas where they are now? What were the living conditions (environmental, educational, class status) within these communities? How did they organize themselves to preserve their culture, and persevere through the colonizers’ efforts? The tribe has recently opened a museum to protect their culture and ensure that future generations will continue to learn about the legacy of the Patawomeck Indians. I am volunteering with the museum to develop digital storyboards related to the tribe’s history and artifacts for use during museum tours which will be given to elementary school children. My presentation will showcase these storyboards that visualize tribal life, culture, artifacts, labor and economic landscape.

Return to Wednesday schedule

VideoDreams and the Transmedia Novel+: Blurring the edges between literature, video games, music, programming, and digital archaeology

Fernando Montes Vera (Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Argentina; Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Argentina; Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible, Argentina)

We will embark on an exploration of a narrative evolution transcending conventional boundaries. The ongoing Global Paper Shortage underscores the significance of sustainable alternatives in the book industry. This presentation introduces VideoDreams (www.videodreams.ar), a project merging literature, video games, music, programming, and digital archaeology, contributing to the ongoing narrative renaissance.

Inspired by pioneering works like 17776 and Digital: A Love Story by Christine Love, VideoDreams is an ambitious Spanish language transmedia novel+ defying traditional storytelling boundaries:

  • Videogames: Interactive storytelling fosters reader immersion, offering dynamic narratives. Often underestimated by humanists, video games have transformed storytelling.
  • Original Soundtrack Album: A dedicated soundtrack enhances emotions and tells an augmented story.
  • Audiovisual Material: Visual media enriches storytelling, creating an immersive experience.
  • A Digital Archaeology of Defunct Websites: VideoDreams unearths hidden layers of the web, with which it is inextricably enmeshed.

Key Discussion Points:

  1. Blurring the Boundaries: VideoDreams seamlessly blends creative elements to craft a multi-dimensional narrative experience.
  2. Embracing Technology: The project highlights technology’s pivotal role, showcasing how coding invigorates narratives.
  3. Endless Possibilities: VideoDreams extends storytelling boundaries, liberating it from the printed page, offering a universe of narrative potential.
  4. Sustainability and the Global Paper Shortage: VideoDreams promotes sustainable alternatives, urging attendees to harness existing technology and explore transcreation.

Attendees will be walked through the intricate process of authoring a transmedia novel+:

  1. Initiating writing of the initial novel.
  2. Conducting research that leads to the discovery of visual clues, sounds, and videos, suggesting the need for the novel’s expansion.
  3. Experimenting with digital illustration, video, and music to enhance the novel’s immersive experience.
  4. Listening to the novel’s voice and embarking on a programming adventure to bring it to life in the desired form. 

Web is analog and soul is software.

Return to Wednesday schedule

‘Singing the Song of the Land You Are In’ – Digital Humanities and Post-Colonial Study of the Kyrgyz Manas

Anguelina Popova and James Plumtree (American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan)

Since the date of their first known transcription during a Tsarist Russian military reconnaissance in 1856, Kyrgyz oral verse narratives about the legendary hero Manas and their study have been impacted by Russian colonialism, technological limitations, and detrimental comparison with Western and classical literary models. This collected material is often inaccessible, buried in foreign archives or available in publications too expensive for residents of the 146th highest economy in the world. Scholarship, typically in Russian, uses unfamiliar terminology and concepts that judge Manas by remote criteria. Manas is consequently seen in Kyrgyzstan through these Russian-Soviet perspectives, and in the West it is unhelpfully considered as an antiquated a repository of customs and history, as a representation of a ‘people’, something not worthy of being examined, yet something in dire need of saving as it staggers towards extinction.

The Digital Humanities project of the Analysing Kyrgyz Narratives (AKYN) Research Group, based at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) is assisting local performers to show that Manas is currently very alive, rich, and full of individual virtuosity. By recording and making available contemporary performances, conscientiously avoiding previous judgmental assumptions and biases of Western and Russian colonial scholarship, AKYN has, with its preservation, celebration, and broadening access to cultural materials, challenged the cliched view of decline by showing the immense creativity, innovation, and individual artistry present in living Manas narration. The often obscured individual agency, local contexts, and overshadowed Kyrgyz viewpoints are being emphasised, with DH providing an online space for this ongoing cultural creativity to be engaged with, appreciated, and continued. 

Return to Wednesday schedule

Discovering Sukhareva: Neurodiversity, Minimal Computing, and the History of Autism

Ian P. Goodale (University of Texas at Austin, USA)

Discovering Sukhareva is a web-based project aimed at highlighting the history and scientific contributions of Grunya Sukhareva, a Soviet child psychiatrist who was the first person to identify symptoms of autism in published academic literature. Long ignored outside of Eastern Europe, Sukhareva’s work long predated the research into autism conducted by Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger, who published their first articles on the subject in the 1940s. This project aims both to help bring Sukhareva’s work the recognition it deserves and to highlight the importance of neurodiversity in the present day, using the historical inequity of her work remaining unknown as an opportunity to highlight the structures of inequality that continue to impact many on the autism spectrum.

The project utilizes a lightweight web framework to deliver its content, including the original text of Sukhareva’s landmark 1925 article in Russian and its German translation from 1926 as OCRed PDFs; computer translations of those articles into English; bibliographies of work about Sukhareva, neurodiversity, and the history of autism; and an interactive timeline that briefly breaks down Sukhareva’s work and the history of early published research on autism. It also contains curated links to contemporary books and sites promoting neurodiversity and an understanding of the history of autism.

The showcase will highlight both the site’s content and the technical aspects of its creation. The intentionally puts into practice principles of minimal computing, with a simple and easy-to-navigate layout that will load quickly and is easy to maintain, making the site more accessible to all regardless of their access to technological resources. Publishing the site on GitHub under an open source, copyleft license likewise makes the project broadly accessible and remixable, and contributes to an ecosystem of digital humanities projects that are truly free and open to all.

Return to Wednesday schedule

Digital Humanities as Memory Work: Memory Eternal as a Virtual Site of Mourning

Monique Tschofen (Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada)
Jolene Armstrong (Athabasca University, Canada)
Caitlin Fisher (York University, Toronto, Canada)
Kari Maaren (Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada)
Siobhan O’Flynn (University of Toronto, Canada)
Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof (Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada)
Kelly Egan (Trent University, Canada)
Angela Joosse (University of Toronto, Canada)
Lai-Tze Fan (University of Waterloo, Canada)

Named for the Ukrainian Orthodox prayer for the dead, our virtual reality Memory Eternal | Вічная Пам’ять: Book of Mourning, explores trauma and remembrance. Designed for the Oculus Quest 2, this feminist digital sandbox storytelling project by a group of nine women scholars from Canada reflects on grief at the personal and collective scales, elaborating on the losses of the pandemic and war. In a 7 minute video, our project showcase will explore the work’s forms and themes, providing an overview of the seventeen works which populate the digital space, and will contextualize it within overlapping frames of Digital Humanities and research creation, e-literature, and interactive documentary. Several members of the collective will be present for discussion and feedback.

Return to Wednesday schedule

Conservation Narratives Reimagined: Harnessing Digital Storytelling for Environmental Protection in the Global South

Olarotimi Ogungbemi (University of Texas at San Antonio, USA)

The expansive and continually advancing digital domain unfurls a rich, varied tapestry of tools and platforms that breathe life into storytelling, making narratives more relatable and impactful. In regions of the Global South, notably Africa, the story is layered with intricate ties between environmental issues and the historical as well as sociopolitical fabrics that shape the landscape. Here, digital storytelling morphs into a powerful instrument for environmental advocacy and education, resonating with the collective consciousness of communities.

In this paper, I delve deeper into the notion of Conservation Storytelling, envisioning it as a vibrant conduit through which communities can navigate, understand, and engage with narratives of environmental protection that are finely attuned to the African milieu. By embarking on a journey through various digital storytelling initiatives that have sprouted across the continent, my aim is to unearth the potency of these narratives in catalyzing community engagement, influencing policy advocacy, and fueling educational endeavors devoted to nurturing a culture of environmental protection and sustainability.

Drawing from a palette of case studies scattered across the African continent, we aim to illustrate how digital narratives can be meticulously crafted to echo the ethos of local communities, mirror indigenous knowledge, and challenge the tapestry of historical and contemporary environmental injustices that have left indelible marks on the land and its people. Further, my exploration extends into the potential of the digital realm as a fertile ground for cross-cultural dialogue. Here, the digital sphere morphs into an inclusive platform where a medley of voices from diverse cultural backgrounds can converge, contributing to a richer, multi-dimensional comprehension of environmental challenges and prospective solutions.

Through the lens of Conservation Storytelling, this exposition aspires to navigate towards a more engaged, informed, and action-oriented discourse on environmental protection in the Global South.

Return to Wednesday schedule

A Voice of Distress: A Computational Linguistic Exploration of “Political Depression” During COVID-19 Pandemic

Qilin Liu (University of British Columbia, Canada)

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted global mental health, giving rise to distinctive psychological responses. On Chinese social media, the term “political depression” has emerged as a means for individuals articulating a particular kind of psychological distress during the pandemic. By applying computational linguistic analysis of postings on the Chinese social media Weibo (January 2020 and February 2023), this research examines how “political depression” is circulated as a term denoting a new clinical condition that meets diagnostic criteria for depressive disorder. Drawing on a corpus of Weibo postings that included “political depression” as a keyword, the study addresses two core research questions:1. What emotional and somatic characteristics accompany expressions of “political depression”? 2. Do the linguistic features of “political depression” align with the studies of clinically defined Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)? A series of word segmentation, word co-occurrence network, sentiment analysis, and Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) analysis demonstrated the linguistic features of the corpus, including word frequency, word relationship, sentiment, and pronoun preferences. A strong negative emotion within the corpus has been found, transcending texts that occasionally incorporate positive emotion words. A list of somatic symptom words showed consistency with the embodiment of MDD in its diagnostic criteria. Furthermore, LIWC analysis highlighted a salient preference for first-person pronouns, particularly the singular form “I,” mirroring established patterns associated with MDD. This research underscores ‘political depression’ as a popular linguistic practice as well as a distinct depressive mental health status that parallels with clinically diagnosed depression among Chinese netizens during the COVIC-19 pandemic, which urges attention and further examination from professionals. This study demonstrates the significance of examining linguistic expressions within digital discourse to grasp the mental health implications of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Return to Wednesday schedule

The Blackspeare Project: Developing Post-Secondary Teaching Resources for Shakespeare Scholars

Hannah Bowling (Texas A&M University, USA)

In June of 2022, I began my foray into the world of open-access educational resources (OERs). My search began from an instructor’s standpoint: As a Brown woman in a predominantly white institution, teaching students in my research area, pre-modern to postmodern race construction in Shakespearean afterlives, seemed insurmountable. So I did what many educators do and took to the internet for help.

OERs dedicated to Shakespeare abound on the internet. My survey yielded a number of resources like the Folger and WikiEducator that targeted primary and secondary students. None seemed to exist for post-secondary contexts or adult learners. And thus, my DH project was born. Designed to meet the need of post-secondary educators like myself unsure of how to begin teaching Shakespeare and race, Blackspeare: A Pedagogical Tool for Teaching Shakespeare’s Afterlives in the Black Atlantic, takes the form of a teacher’s guide and tool. My methodology departs from that of WikiEducator or the Folger because my approach assumes the information that they make explicit (that Shakespeare has a lot to say on race, and so do those who adapt him!) and instead focuses on providing resources for educators to teach their students critical inquiry and textual analysis. 

Blackspeare began in January 2023 and has continued to grow since my initial 2022 review: thanks to a grant from Texas A&M’s Center of Digital Humanities Research (CoDHR) this summer, I was  to partner with other graduate students in developing much of the curriculum in Blackspeare. This OER represents a coalescence of my teaching experiences and materials as well as those of my peer-colleagues; the pilot edition will hopefully go live by August 2024.

Return to Wednesday schedule

11:10-12:10 pm – Digital Storytelling

Mexico City From Above: Mapping Archival Aerial Imagery for Bilingual Digital Storytelling

Jessica Mack (Rowan University, USA)

Aerial photography has historically been used as a technology of war, surveillance, and, later, the promotion of large development projects. Despite these original purposes, however, archival aerial imagery and digital mapping methods can also allow us to document historical processes that have been omitted from traditional archival sources, such as migrations, displacement, development, and land use patterns. This bilingual digital history project applies digital mapping and spatial history methods to aerial imagery of 1950s Mexico City to better understand the process of building a campus for the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The project’s spatial approach illuminates the institution’s shifting role in Mexico’s developing revolutionary state and demonstrates the ways in which new national priorities were inscribed upon the campus environment and its surroundings. Visualizing the campus building project from above allows users to explore the construction process and understand negotiations over campus space and the accelerated urban development of southern Mexico City catalyzed by the university. Georectification and mapping visualizations reveal the stories of communities that lived in this region before the campus was built. This presentation will discuss the use of digital methods and archival aerial images to build historical campus tours of universities using digital storytelling to highlight the social landscape of construction and the many publics both within and outside of the institution. The project provides tools for other researchers and students to study their own campuses in Mexico, the U.S., and elsewhere and reckon with questions of exclusion, displacement, and memorialization that are central to debates on many campuses today.

Return to Wednesday schedule

Transcending Boundaries via Digital Storytelling: A Case Study of Ghayath Almadhoun’s Poetry Films

Tianrui Ma (Indiana University, USA)

Ghayath Almadhoun, a contemporary Palestinian, Syrian, and Swedish poet, has earned global recognition for his profound examination of displacement, conflict, and the human condition through writing. Rooted in his personal refugee experiences and Middle East observations, his poetry delves into universal themes like identity, loss, and belonging amid upheaval. In 2009, Almadhoun ventured into digital storytelling through “poetry films” or “video poems.” So far, he has produced five poetry films that combine his poetic verses with visual elements, often in collaboration with filmmakers and artists. These poetry films add a new dimension to his work by blending spoken word, imagery, and music to create a multi-sensory experience for the audience. His use of multiple languages in these films, including Arabic, Swedish, and English, mirrors the complex nature of identity in an increasingly interconnected world.

Using Ghayath Almadhoun’s poetry films as a case study, this research aims to gain insights into how artists engage with the intricacies of the modern world and contribute to the ongoing dialogue on migration and settlement through digital storytelling. This study starts with a brief survey of the presentation of Arabic poetry in the digital realm, particularly on platforms like YouTube. It then dissects the interplay of words, imagery, and sound in Almadhoun’s poetry films, revealing how he transcends the boundaries between traditional poetry presentation and visual arts to foster cross-cultural understanding of the Palestinian and Syrian experiences. Furthermore, this research seeks to deepen our understanding of how individuals navigate their personal and collective histories in the global landscape and explore the potential of poetry films as a bridge for cultural empathy and social awareness.

Return to Wednesday schedule

Exploring Vernacular Arab Architecture in Educational Immersive Virtual Environments: The case of Sheikh Isa House in Bahrain.

Eiman Elgewely (Presenting) and Mohamed Ali (Virginia Tech, USA)

Sheikh Isa House, an iconic historic building in Muharraq, Bahrain, was chosen as the initial subject of this multi-phased study. Dating back to around 1800, this architectural gem once served as the residence of Bahrain’s ruler. Today, it is a revered tourist attraction intricately woven into the UNESCO Pearling Path—a 2.17-mile route connecting culturally significant sites. This path is a testament to the enduring legacy of the pearling cultural tradition and the profound interaction between the Bahraini people, their environment, and marine resources, which have indelibly shaped their cultural identity and economic prosperity.

The primary objective of “The Educational Virtual Model of Sheikh Isa House” (https://youtu.be/7RCayNLv1mo?si=cQI02-LroNqJBD5W) is to investigate the historically employed sustainable passive solar systems in vernacular heritage structures across the Arab world and the Middle East. The aim is to unearth effective, energy-efficient systems that seamlessly integrate into contemporary architectural designs and environments. Beyond architectural exploration, this research endeavor seeks to bridge the gap between architectural insights and the educational sphere. To achieve this, the project comprises an immersive, interactive, three-dimensional virtual reality (VR) educational application. This application allows students to explore and interact with the virtual model of Sheikh Isa House, imparting a profound understanding of the building’s dimensions, proportions, and structural intricacies. Moreover, the research extends beyond architecture into building performance simulations, offering insights into thermal comfort, daylighting, shadow analysis, and airflow dynamics.

The project also sheds light on the regional and sociocultural influences that have significantly shaped the construction and utilization of these structures, which adds a crucial layer of cultural awareness and understanding to architectural and design education, broadening students’ perspectives by introducing them to less-explored regions and cultures and contributing to curriculum diversification.

Return to Wednesday schedule

Friday, March 22, 2024

10:30-11:10 – Lightning Talks: Power and Advocacy on the Internet

#AdiosStarbucks: The Impact of Cross-Border Political Discourses within an Online Community and Their Influence on Consumer Behaviors Amidst Political Uncertainty.

Agarzelim Alvarez-Milán (Universidad Monterrey, Mexico)

The social media movement #AdiosStarbucks in Twitter (now X) constitutes an online community created by a consumer initiative in response to diverse actions against Mexico executed by Donald J. Trump during the first days of his presidency. This research investigates digital narratives and behaviors of consumers towards American brands in Mexico, following a significant shift in the political landscape in the United States. 

This study is primarily motivated by a managerial perspective, with specific focus on brand management approach. We analyze the online presence (and response) of four global and well-established American brands in Mexico, leaders in the fast food, coffee, soft drinks, and retail sectors. Using netnography methodology (Kozinets, 2018), we analyze more than 30,000 tweets using the #AdiosStarbucks hashtag and conducted ten semi-structured in-depth interviews. 

As part of the findings, this research uncovers three emerging consumer behaviors -nationalism, boycott, and cynicism- in four distinct segments of Twitter posters within the online community. Additional findings show that brand digital engagement -or disengagement- varies according to the response time and the credibility of brand messages in reaction to President Trump’s communications and stances, whether in social media or offline contexts. 

From a marketing management perspective, this research contributes to consumer engagement theory in online brand communities and suggest diverse managerial implications related with brand coping strategies in political volatile environments. On a more humanistic level, this study opens new perspectives regarding consumer identity and resistance through digital narratives and movements that may ultimately transcend the virtual realm and manifest in tangible consumer actions and behaviors. 

The impact of cross-border political discourses, their interpretation within digital communities, and their influence on consumer behaviors amidst political uncertainty, underscore the importance of studying this phenomenon from an interdisciplinary and a multicultural perspective.

Return to Friday schedule

Security Issues, Migration and the Japa-Syndrome in Nigeria: A Corpus-Assisted Critical Discourse Study of Social Media Posts

Ayo Osisanwo (Institute of English Studies, Leuphana University, Germany; University of Ibadan, Nigeria)

Security threats and economic issues in Nigeria have been connected to leadership challenge.  The surge in human security threat and economic hardship has heightened issues of migration, recently known as Japa, especially among young Nigerians, who recount their ordeal on different social media platforms. Social media spaces afford individuals the opportunity to convey their uncensored narratives, reeling out their experiences leading to their migration for different reasons.  Migration studies within the Nigerian context have been executed from sociological, psychological and literary perspectives, focusing mainly on the socio-economic implications of migrating from Nigeria to the West and other African countries; yet linguistic studies are rare on migration and the ­Japa-syndrome. This study, therefore, examines the issues of identity and ideology associated with migration and the Japa-syndrome as indexed by linguistic choices on the different social media posts.  Data were retrieved from 500 representative posts and reactions to same culled from two social media platforms: Twitter (now X) and Facebook.  Using a corpus-assisted critical discourse approach, this paper deploys the Sketch Engine corpus tool and Reisigl and Wodak’s (2009) discourse approach to critical discourse analysis for data analysis.  Initial observation reveals that search for greener pastures, safe haven, job security, better life for children, which were unearthed by different discourse strategies, are some of the main issues behind migration. This paper posits that despite the yearnings of many Nigerians to remain in their fatherland, the leadership challenge in the socio-political space in Nigeria has led to the unending urge to Japa.

Return to Friday schedule

Digital Intersectional Gender Responsive Approach to the Issue of Sexual Violence Against Women in the Global Pandemic

Farinaz Basmechi (University of Ottawa, Canada)

COVID-19, as a global crisis, exacerbated women’s situations all over the world, regardless of their geo-political contexts. In my presentation, I will focus on the issue of sexual violence against women (SVAW) in the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we can utilize digital humanities to highlight and ameliorate the problem with SVAW in the situation of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic, one of the deadliest global crises, mainly caused social and economic vulnerability in the global population. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many scholars have criticized the socio-political orders reigning the globe, concentrating on a global initiative and response to face the impacts of COVID-19. Although the necessity of global response and implementing positive biopolitics are promoted by some scholars, including Benjamin Bratton (2022), many others believe that such a viewpoint cannot protect individual human populations, and more specifically, it is unable to reduce women’s vulnerability in the situation of a crisis. Since gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual violence (SV) are social problems that largely target women, and more intensely marginalized women, during the situation of a global health crisis, a Digital Gender Responsive Intersectional (DGRI) perspective would be the most efficient choice of approach to counter sexual violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic alerted individuals and governments to the possibility of the global outbreak of more viruses in the future. Many women experienced a higher level of social and economic vulnerability during the pandemic, which resulted in a higher rate of GBV and SV against them. Although some approaches aim to decrease the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s lives, many failed to consider the issue of SVAW during the pandemic. The issue of SVAW during COVID-19 can be tackled with the DGRI approach through its focus on the role of digital literacy, education, awareness, supportive community and organization, women and minorities’ empowerment, and SV preventive policies.

Return to Friday schedule

#nativetiktok: Indigenous Comedy and Survivance in the Age of Social Media

Aaron Whitestar (University of Oklahoma, USA)

Recently, the Indigenous led online streaming show, the Reservation Dogs, has just finished its three-season arc. This show has helped to spawn numerous fan groups on social media and, with those fan groups, conversations surrounding not only the ways in which the social, legal, and political issues that Indian Country faces, but also the ways in which Indigenous storytelling is important to Indigenous communities. One aspect of this importance is Indigenous comedy and its connection with survivance—the ways in which Indigenous peoples communicate and navigate their own cultures with that of the Euro-American cultures in order to survive and resist. Reservation Dogs is a great example of Indigenous comedy, survivance, and digital storytelling.

However, the intersections of Indigenous comedy and survivance and digital storytelling can also be analyzed in social media posts from many Native content creators. #nativetiktok and #indigenoustiktok, for example, are a great search terms on tiktok to find Indigenous content creators that submit their videos ranging from the more serious topics that affects Indigenous—such as suicide awareness, alcoholism, and the other effects of colonialism—to the more humorous—such as how non-Natives stereotype Natives, tongue-in-cheek humor that affects Natives, and other creative endeavors.

For this presentation, I will analyze the rhetorics and discourse of Native content creators on social media platforms to show how they utilize their digital platforms to create comedy and the ways in which they express survivance.

Return to Friday schedule

A Corpus-based study of the Internet Fraud Language of the Afropolitan Nigerian youth

Victor Abonyi (University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria)

Internet fraud language (IFL), a coded register or antilanguage, is mostly deployed by the Afropolitan (urban youth) as part of social engineering scheming. Previous studies on internet fraud in Nigeria have examined the country’s cybercrime participation frequency, scammers’ modus operandi, scambaiting techniques, and the subcultural language practices of scammers of Yoruba extraction. However, not much attention has been paid to creating a corpus of the antilanguage of the Afropolitan Nigerian youth (ANy). This study is, therefore, designed to create a corpus of the lFL of the ANy to determine the linguistic typologies in the corpus and foreground the indigenous knowledge systems of these digital dissidents. Jacob Mey’s pragmatic theory of context and the social identity theory are adopted for the study, while the digital ethnographic design is used to mine data using the random and purposive sampling methodologies. Data were harvested from the social media Instagram and Twitter handles https://www.instagram.com/lasisielenu with over 4.5 million followers; while the lyrics of Naira Marley (Am I a Yahoo Boy); Olamide (Loading); Bella Shmurda (Cash App); Mohbad (KPK); Portable (Zazzou); Ruger (Asiwaju); PhynoFino (The Bag, For the Money); Flavour (Doings) were extracted from LyricsFind and Musixmatch. The following corpus linguistics tools/instruments were used: ELAN-6.5 and the Fieldworks Language Explorer (FLex 9.1.18.1.). The data was subjected to a corpus linguistics analysis. Lexical items enter into fresh linguistic relationships such as conversion and elaborations that result in dislocation and re-collocations. Resemanticisation/relexicalization occurs in the use of lexical items such as ‘picker’, ‘loader’, ‘mule’, ‘bomber’, and others. Word forms are often borrowed from the parent languages–English, Yoruba, Igbo, Urhobo, Edo, and Naija– and blended through clipping and related syntactic processes. Thus, the IFL corpus of the ANy is exclusionary, relying on innovations and elaborations by translanguaging with global languages and indigenous African language forms.

Return to Friday schedule

11:10 – 11:30 am Lightning Talks: Decolonization in practice

Decolonial Art Practices: Virtual Exhibition as a Teaching Tool

Alla Myzelev (SUNY at Geneseo, USA) and Ilene Sova (OCAD, Toronto, Canada)

In 2021, two professors working in different institutions and countries (the USA and Canada) began to think about launching a co-taught course, recognizing that the online teaching space allowed the unique experience of the borders between the countries to be eroded. They decided to do a collaborative teaching project anchored in decolonial approaches to art education.  

The learning outcomes for the class were centred on the creation of an online virtual reality exhibition titled “Looking Out while Looking In”. This included the paintings created by the studio students and the virtual space curated by the students in the Museum Studies Minor program.  The collaboration between the two groups created an existing way of connecting and processing what communities collectively experienced during the C19 pandemic. The artwork and the exhibition design by the emerging curators dealt with the issue of isolation and COVID-related lifestyle changes as they relate to equity and inclusion. 

This research/conference presentation seeks to contextualize our experience of teaching the international class and co-curating the show with the students in a non-hierarchial and student-centred format. We investigate the potential of such collaboration and online exhibitions as a tool that allows for decolonial pedagogies, accessibility and increased diversity. For instance, the experience of these two groups working in a diverse intercultural group provided valuable access to equity and inclusion in the arts. Through online interviews, conversational prompts, virtual studio visits, and inclusive critique design, students were able to reach a deeper understanding of personal narratives across cultures and across borders. 

Return to Friday schedule

Digitizing Colonized Heritage: Strategies and Challenges

Caroline T. Schroeder (University of Oklahoma, USA)

The field of Coptic Studies is built on colonized heritage. As a result of the antiquities trade and Global North scholarly engagements with or reactions to that trade, Coptic manuscripts are dispersed primarily throughout Global North repositories. The Coptic language is the last phase of the ancient Egyptian language family, and while not as prized as pharaonic artifacts, Coptic art and literature was nonetheless traded as commodities and antiquities. Coptic documents and manuscripts are essential for the study of multiple disciplines: history, biblical studies and religious studies, economic history, archaeology, linguistics. This lightning talk will discuss digital and computational methods for making this colonized heritage more accessible to researchers and to the heritage community of origin. I do not claim that these strategies are specifically anti-colonial, because while they address the legacy of colonialism, they do not and cannot fundamentally change core infrastructures of colonialism—the antiquities trade, the disparate resources between Global North and Global South institutions, and the specific complexities of religion, politics, and heritage studies on the ground inside Egypt. The strategies include metadata and visualization infrastructure to display fragmented, dispersed manuscript fragments in their original order; collaborations with the heritage community in the English-speaking diaspora and in Egypt (which also involves significant challenges); open-source language models; translation.

Return to Friday schedule

12:30 – 1:00 pm Lightning Talks: Humans & Algorithms: Discontents & Infrastructures

Misogyny Goes Viral: Understanding TikTok’s Algorithmic Influence on Andrew Tate’s Content

Sunday Ayodabo (University of Texas, USA)

This research investigates the role of TikTok’s algorithm in promoting and disseminating misogynistic content, with a focus on videos related to Andrew Tate. Through in-depth analysis of TikTok usage data, recommendation patterns, user perspectives gathered from surveys and engagement metrics, the study aims to uncover the specific mechanisms by which the TikTok algorithm amplifies certain videos over others. Of particular concern is the algorithm’s potential to aggressively promote misogynistic content to young male users during critical developmental phases. By tracing the paths through which Andrew Tate-related videos spread via the algorithm, this research sheds light on how correlations between engagement, and content topics enable the platform to push harmful misogynistic material. Drawing insights from Utilitarianism, which judges actions based on their consequences, and Deontology, which evaluates actions based on adherence to rules and duties, the research provides multilayered mapping of how algorithmic processes drive the viral circulation of misogyny online and the question of ethics. This study makes significant contributions by elucidating the real-world impacts of opaque social media algorithms. The findings provide much-needed insights into the effectiveness of TikTok’s current moderation policies while raising urgent questions about ethical corporate responsibility when algorithmic systems can cause social harms. Overall, this research advances public and scholarly conversations about reforming algorithms to prevent amplification of misogyny and other dangerous content.

Return to Friday schedule

Advances in Open Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Scholarly Information Retrieval in Digital Humanities Research

John Adebayo (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, USA)

Advances in technology continue to redirect humans’ activities on different landscapes; one of the products of these technological innovations is Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is applied in the process of the information lifecycle. Concurrently, the increase in the dominance and use of Artificial Intelligence has become a regular conversation in different platforms, including humanistic communities, as it reshapes humans’ engagement with technology. Specifically, while the connection between AI and scholarly activities is multifaceted and enshrined with possibilities, examining some of the challenges associated with its cognitive, responsible, and ethical use for academic purposes is necessary. Therefore, this study explores the implications of using Open AI services for scholarly information retrieval in Digital Humanities. The objective of this study focuses on assessing the use of an Open AI solution, ChatGPT, by information seekers to recommend strategies that enhance cognitive, contextual, and inclusive scholarly information retrieval among researchers in digital humanities.  

The study will use a literature-based research approach to explore the historical and theoretical views of information retrieval and different developmental phases in Open AI. Moreover, a comparative analysis among ChatGPT, search engines, and other language models (Bing and Google Bard) will be done. Consequently, the qualitative data will help generate thematic content highlighting some criticisms of using ChatGPT for scholarly information retrieval. While there are different dimensions to evaluating the use of Open AI for academic purposes, the study will focus on the cognitive, moral, legal, and ethical aspects and risks associated with using technological innovation in digital humanity research. While this study serves as the basis for exploring different stages in evaluating AI applications, the findings are expected to enhance collaborative efforts among researchers, developers, and policymakers to address the concerns, improve the transparency of AI models, and ensure responsible and ethical use in digital humanities research endeavors.

Return to Friday schedule

From “Hello World” to “Hello Mom”: The Transition of Human-AI Relationship

Nini Zhou (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA)

ChatGPT, launched on November 30, 2022, is a large language model-based chatbot developed by OpenAI and has been trendy all around the globe. With the widespread use of ChatGPT, not only do people begin to find romance in chatbots, they are also trying to find family love in chatbots. An interesting phenomenon has surfaced in China that women and girls began to treat ChatGPT as their maternal figures, i.e., mothers and grandmothers, to turn to for love and support. It is recognized that unlike the tough love that Chinese people got from their parents, love from chatbots aligns more closely with Western families, which incorporates support, encouragement, and forgiveness.

This research focuses on the development of the relationship between humans and AI. It seeks to address the following questions: Has chatbots such as ChatGPT made our relationships with AI more intimate and private? Does ChatGPT embody Western interpersonal values, and how might it influence Chinese values of interpersonal communication? This research aims to develop an understanding of the historical progression of the relationship between humans and Artificial Intelligence.

The primary method for this study is literature review and semi-structured interviews. Literature review would be used to discover the historical evolvement of the relationship between human and chatbots. Semi-structured interviews would be carried out with Chinese women who once have treated chatbots as their families. This research will be conducted between December 2023 and February 2024.

This research would contribute to our understanding of the evolvement of Human-AI interaction over time, how human establish private and intimate relations with AI, and how chatbots embody Western family values.

Return to Friday schedule

1:00 – 1:30 pm Lightning Talks: Navigating Femininity Across Space and Time

The Travels of Lady Nijo: Pilgrimage, Travel, and Tourism in 13th and 14th Century Japan

Daniel Fandino (Michigan State University, USA)

The Confessions of Lady Nijo is a work written around 1307 by Lady Nijo, a Japanese noblewomen turned Buddhist monk. The first three sections of the work describes her time at the imperial court of Emperor Go-Fukukasa. The last two sections chronicles her travels as a Buddhist monk after being expelled from the court in 1283. Nijo’s narrative provides a rare glimpse into pilgrimage, travel, and early tourism in Japan during the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The project explores Nijo’s life on the roads of Japan by tracing her travels from 1289 to 1304 through Leaflet Storymaps. The project examines the relationship between Nijo’s travels and pilgrimage routes and the evolution of the road system to the Edo era under the Tokugawa shogunate. Essays explore the development of tourism, the road network, and the experience of women traveling in premodern Japan.

Return to Friday schedule

Uncovering and Showcasing the Work of a 19th Century Botanist and Educator using Digital Humanities Tools

India Smith (Presenting), Erin Lane (Presenting), and Katie Sagal (Cornell College, USA)

Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps, one of the most influential botanists in the nineteenth century, grew to significance through her efficient leadership in the classroom as an educator, and through her widely successful writings on almost every scientific subject. Faced with alarmingly few resources for teaching botany, Phelps compiled her lesson plans, which reflected her unique, experimental style, into a single volume. Thus, her first textbook, Familiar Lectures on Botany (1829), was published to great acclaim. Her writing found an audience beyond scholars of botany, however, and became a powerful tool in providing scientific knowledge to the masses. Consequently, over the following years, numerous editions of the textbook were released. These editions reflect relentless demand for Phelps’s work, as well as Phelps’s ever-expanding knowledge of botany. In 1837, the publication of the fifth edition saw thorough revisions and numerous additions, indicating Phelps’s extended research. 

This presentation seeks to showcase findings on Hart Lincoln Phelps’ work, life, and that of her female contemporaries working in Botany in the 19th century. It will explain the findings as a result of research on the multiple editions of Familiar Lectures on Botany located in the Special Collections section at the University of Iowa library. To showcase the scholarship conducted on Hart Lincoln Phelps during the Cornell Summer Research Institute (CSRI) India Smith worked with Assistant Professor of English, Katie Sagal, and Digital Liberal Arts Coordinator, Erin Lane, to create an academic website to showcase her work with the wider academic community. Smith created a Google Site and learned skills to customize the aesthetics of the site using html tags. The presentation will also discuss the process of creating the site, obstacles, and successes of the process.

Return to Friday schedule

Reclaiming the Female Narrative: Recovering Women’s Voices in Global South Cold War Politics.

Adelina Tratarou (University of Miami, USA)

Between 1956 and 1959, female writers and poets hailing from Africa, the Caribbean, and South Asia received widespread acclaim through the Ghanaian press. This period marked a significant moment for women across the so-called Global South as their voices and perspectives were given a platform on the global stage. Engaging digital humanities tools and methodology to create a digital archive of the relevant issues from “The Daily Graphic” and “The Ghanaian Times,” my project shows how these publications gave women from all backgrounds space to voice their opinions on world affairs. Drawing from late nineteenth-century Middle Eastern paradigms of feminist scholarship and revolutionary movements and attempting to redefine “womanhood” in the postcolonial world order, their scholarship paved the way for Ghana’s exciting sociopolitical experimentation during its early years of independence from British colonial rule. As part of my research project, I am also mapping the movement of these women writers and the production and circulation of their work. This helps to showcase how Ghanaian and immigrant women writers have connected the global conversation about racism to discussions on gender. Exploring how the mobility of these writers encouraged the flow of their ideas beyond the Ghanaian borders, my paper argues that with their previously neglected publications in the early years of the Cold War, these writers influenced the direction and scope of global movements traditionally thought to have been shaped only by men, such as the global non-alignment movement.

Return to Friday schedule

3:00-3:30 pm – Equity and Inclusion in Digital Access: Panel of Perspectives from North American College Professors in a Collaborative Online International Learning Community (Mexico, Canada and the U.S.)

Christina Acosta (California State University, Stanislaus) (Presenting)
Osama Butt (Wilfrid Laurier University)
Boris Tapia (Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Hidalgo & Universidad de Guanajuato)
Karina Galvan (Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Hidalgo & Universidad de Guanajuato)
Victoria Alva Lugo (Universidad La Salle México)
Olga Aida Escobedo López (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla Campus Cuetzalan)
María Isabel Rojas López (Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo en Pachuca, México)

This panel will address equity and inclusion in digital access from the perspective of seven college professors across North America. In Mexican, Canadian, and U.S. colleges and Universities, educators who took part in Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) projects will share their experience before, during, and after COIL experiences. COIL partners worked with up to three fellow educators to provide international learning experiences for their students. While some had extensive experience with digital learning modalities, others had less access and benefitted from digital tools/pedagogies being shared by those with more access due to intersections of power, be that politically, economically, or nationally.

Osama Butt (Wilfrid Laurier University)

While access to digital technologies is becoming global and is becoming the backbone of any present-day business or social infrastructure – effective use of these technologies is still not prevalent in many countries, esp. Developing countries.  We need to focus on how to to provide access to digital technologies that can be of “good use” to many countries/societies in improving their either personal or professional life.

Christina Acosta (California State University, Stanislaus)

I will be sharing about my background as an Ethnic Studies scholar who has equity and inclusion at the root of my pedagogy. I will share about my participation in the Digital Ethnic Futures Teaching Fellowship and learning digital tools such as Perusall that I was able to share with my colleague Olga Aida Escobedo Lopez and her students in Cuetzalan, Mexico in a Collaborative Online International Learning project. I will share my reasoning behind the equity and inclusion decision to find cost-free digital tools for students to engage with and how they had a positive effect on students’ learning from my perspective as an educator.

Boris Tapia and Karina Galvan (Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Hidalgo & Universidad de Guanajuato)

Digital competencies (DC) can be defined as the confident, critical, and creative use of Information and Communication Technologies to achieve goals related to work, learning, inclusion, and participation in society. DC is a transversal key competence that enables students to acquire other key competencies and also helps them to protect their information and personal data. This study investigates and maps the DC literacy of students who belong to the Division of Economic and Administrative Sciences of the Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico, through an online survey.

Victoria Alva Lugo (Universidad La Salle México)

Encourage legal scholars in the United States and Mexico to think internationally about the right to privacy in the digital era. Globalization and new technologies threaten the protection of the basic right to be left alone, and the right to privacy, of persons in both countries. The pandemic and post-pandemic period have further demonstrated the interrelatedness of privacy concerns in both countries and the need for uniform international legislation and legal systems to protect privacy in the digital era.

Olga Aida Escobedo López (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla Campus Cuetzalan)

Working in a small indigenous community in the north of Puebla State Mexico, I have been considering bringing my students opportunities to have an international experience to learn and use the English language. In this panel I will share the benefits and the challenges of the COIL project I carried out with my colleague Christina Acosta from California, USA, emphasizing digital inclusion from a cultural perspective to promote equity among diverse learner groups where the use of digital tools allowed our students to interact and reflect on multicultural realities present in society.

María Isabel Rojas López (Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo en Pachuca, México)

Based on the experience of three COIL courses between Mexico, Japan, and the USA at the Institute of Arts of the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo (UAEH), the presentation will focus on the limits of virtual collaboration, including its disadvantages in comparison to face-to-face internationalization models. The potential of the COIL model to create equal internationalization opportunities for students and academic communities with limited financial resources will be assessed by comparing the three courses.

Return to Friday schedule

3:00 – 4:00 pm – Rhetoric of Empire: Semantic Networks and Colonial Legacy in User Reviews of Themed Hotels in Las Vegas

Ayodele James Akinola (Michigan Technological University, USA) (Presenting)
Frank Onuh (University of Lethbridge, Canada)
Sunday Adegbenro (University of Kansas, USA)
Olarotimi Ogungbemi (University of Texas, San Antonio, USA)
Tunde Ope-Davies (Opeibi) (University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria)

In this study, we undertake an interdisciplinary exploration of the colonial narratives that may be latent in online reviews of selected themed hotels. Focused on three iconic hotels—Luxor, The Venetian, and Paris Las Vegas, we analyze about 24,000 online reviews collected from TripAdvisor of these establishments based on their diverse cultural imprints, historical colonial resonances, and contemporary relevance. The study leverages computational textual analysis, specifically employing semantic network analysis, to scrutinize the language patterns, recurring themes, and word associations manifest in these reviews. Our theoretical framework is an amalgamation of Kenneth Burke’s Dramatism, Homi Bhabha’s theory of Hybridity, and McCombs & Shaw’s Agenda-Setting Theory. This comprehensive approach enables us to examine how the rhetoric employed in these reviews either reinforces or challenges entrenched colonial legacies. We operate under the premise that language serves as more than a mere communication tool; it is a repository of historical implications and power dynamics that can discreetly perpetuate colonial ideologies. The research aims to demystify the complex, often subtle linguistic mechanisms that sustain colonial narratives by mapping the semantic networks within these user-generated reviews. In aligning our inquiry with anti-colonial and postcolonial frameworks, we pose critical questions about the role of digital platforms as modern extensions of social discourse and their potential to either uphold or dismantle oppressive systems. Furthermore, the study is committed to advancing anti-racist praxis by illuminating the ways in which racial stereotypes and biases may be perpetuated through this digital medium. Owing to its interdisciplinary design, the research not only contributes significantly to the field of digital humanities but also incorporates vital insights from communication, linguistics, and postcolonial studies. Consequently, the study holds the potential to transcend both political and disciplinary boundaries, providing a comprehensive understanding of how colonial legacies continue to be negotiated in the digital sphere.

Return to Friday schedule

4:15 – 5:15 pm – Poster Session

Digital Activism among Dalit-Bahujan Communities in India: Anti-Caste Discourses in Relations and Conflict

Tereza Menšíková (Masaryk University, Czech Republic)

The rise of social media greatly affected marginalized communities and social movements which struggle against discrimination and freedom of speech suppression. Access to digital technologies has enabled a new type of connection that would surpass the geographical, social, and cultural barriers among different communities in societies. Among those whose activism has been affected by globalization and access to the internet are also Dalit-Bahujan communities in India. Their socio-political activism emerged as a reaction to hundreds of years of caste inequality and discrimination in social, political, economic, and religious interactions. Drawing on the legacies of Jyotirao Phule, B. R. Ambedkar or Kanshi Ram, their strategies (though often very diverse) are primarily aimed at creating change in Indian society, and digital media is viewed as one of the means to achieve it.

In my paper, I focus on using digital technologies by activists coming mostly from Dalit-Bahujan and Ambedkarite Buddhist communities in India to explore the role of religion and Buddhism in their anti-caste discourse. The research is centred on analyzing data in the form of textual materials published on the major Dalit-Bahujan informational and news platform based in English – Round Table India: For an Informed Ambedkar Age. The corpus of online data consists of public textual contributions from 2010 to 2021 (around 2600 documents with metadata). Through computational text analysis methods such as word co-occurrence, word collocations, and LDA topic modelling, I have analyzed the major anti-caste framings and modelled the use of religion and Buddhism in activist writings. The paper seeks to not only present the possibilities of using computational methods in the textual production of marginalized communities but also address the possible problematic aspects that research of their digital activism brings with it.

A Digital Critical Disability Studies “Care Web”: Imagining a Disability Studies Collective Archive

Griffin Zimmerman (University of Arizona, USA)

This poster presentation will introduce the Disability Studies Collective Archive (DSCA), an open-access, community-constructed, relationality mapping project that broadly maps disability studies artifacts, including research, activism, community contributions, and art. The central goal of this project is to develop a dynamic network of disability scholarship that pays specific attention to the interdisciplinary genesis of Disability Studies by incorporating contributions from Black Feminist, Critical Race, Queer, and other scholarships of difference.

Building on examples set by existing node mapping projects like ConnectedPapers.com and eigenfactor.org, the DSCA melds bibliographic metadata, textual analysis, and categorization based on user-defined relationality that is then visualized through a distributed network, resulting in a nonlinear and non-hierarchical network. The project incorporates three interactive layers, a database, a distributed network analysis, and a user interface, to allow for an ever-evolving analysis of connections between source material. In particular, the user interface represents a key intervention to incorporate collaborative knowing-making by enabling annotation, tagging, and (re)classification of data points, alongside discussion forums.

This poster session will be designed to be collaborative and interactive, mirroring the experience that the finalized project envisions. Individuals will be invited to contribute to developing a relational network on the poster, contributing measures of relationality, annotations, connections, and extensions of core digital humanities sources. In this process, the poster presentation seeks to facilitate a collaborative dialogue about the nature and function of interdisciplinary scholarship and the ways digital humanities can diverge from traditional, hegemonic scholarly networks to enable new methodologies for facilitating ways of relating that respect the diversity of thought, perspective, and ways of knowing that permeate scholarship, activism, and art.

Translation Networks

Ali Bolcakan (Presenting) and Christi Merrill (University of Michigan, USA)

Our project, Translation Networks (http://www.translationnetworks.com), is intended for researchers, scholars, students, and educational staff and helps them extend, edit, and create connections between the sources found in the catalogs of archives, libraries, and museums. It combines the functionalities of reference management and diagramming/concept mapping software. 

With extensive multilingual support, our software allows users to customize and add, change, and correct critical information and metadata for existing and new records—for example, the name of the translator, the language translated from or into, its relationship to other translations, or to the source it is translated from. Furthermore, our interface allows users to create custom collections, and two-dimensional diagrams/concept maps to visualize work non-linearly. 

Our focus from the inception has been on making links between translated materials and their sources across languages since most records do not make this specific information available to users. 

We have been working on achieving AA ADA compliance for the site for the past year, specifically focusing on supporting users with low or no vision. Starting in the fall, we will add more robust interpretive frameworks for collection and concept map features. We will also improve the ability to work across even more writing systems.

Our next goal is to tackle the name authority issue for transnational and multilingual research. For example, the city of Istanbul, depending on the language of the source, can be represented as Κωνσταντινούπολις, قسطنطينيه, Պոլիս, קושטה‎ , and so on. Most of the time, old records found in archives and library catalogs will be a) not linked to other related records correctly, if at all; b) would be transliterated and cataloged erroneously or are outdated; and c) missing crucial metadata. Any research project that spans languages and/or time periods will encounter similar issues and will see them extend to the names of contributors, titles, dates, etc.

Pandemic Storytelling across Cultural Contexts: Comparing Covid Self-Portraits from Korea, Singapore, Columbia, and the U.S. in Digital Archives

Natalie Phillips (Michigan State University, USA)
Soohyun Cho (Michigan State University, USA)
Sydney Logsdon (Michigan State University, USA)
Marine Avequin (Michigan State University, USA)
Gracie Rudolfi (Michigan State University, USA)
Natalie Liliensiek (Michigan State University, USA)
Neha Navathe (Michigan State University, USA)
Quynh Tong (Michigan State University, USA)
Lorraine Inman (Michigan State University, USA)
Carina Abbasov (Michigan State University, USA)

This talk draws on two digital archives of pandemic art and storytelling, Creativity in the Time of Covid-19, and Recording COVID-19 Through Art, to explore the shared experiences—and cultural specificity—reflected by the creation of self-portraits during Covid-19. All of the examples are adjoined by pandemic stories that contextualize the creative process. Drawing on both the art and their stories of creation, we look at four examples of self-portraiture created by artists in different countries, each connecting to social justice and mental health during the pandemic. Each example will be presented with quotes both in the original language and in English, as well as with QR codes that link to accessible versions of image descriptions for disability communities with visual impairments.  

Beginning in the U.S., Power Portrait and My Gaze depict the artist in their home at the start of the pandemic, touching on themes of mental health, body image, and gender identity during the intense period of self-reflection allowed during quarantine. They describe their artistic creation during the pandemic as occurring amidst “a drastic plunge in my mental health” and allowing them to tackle “gender struggle[s]” and come out as non-binary. This deep engagement with mental health is mirrored in 2021 Quarantine Series, a series of self-portraits and interior paintings created during a mandatory quarantine period in a Singapore hotel. These two portraits of isolation are set in contrast to our final two works, Mask Portraits and Mythika, both of which depict the artist in the context of their unique cultural community and national responses to the pandemic. Mask Portraits, from the Korean archive, tells stories of varied perspectives on masks, while Mythika exemplifies the use of pandemic art as an act of social justice, using masks to protest transphobia and the silencing of minorities in Colombia.

“Abortion Access Has Everything to Do with Access to Information”: A Digital Collection of Abortion Memories

April Urban (University of California Irvine, USA)

In recent years, digital humanists have promoted digital collection-building tools as a powerful means of documenting marginalized voices and sharing their histories with a wide audience. In June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, which overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wadedecision that ensured the right to abortion at the federal level; this resulted in the establishment of laws banning or restricting abortion in many states, including Indiana. In fall 2022, motivated by these events and their dangerous consequences for women and pregnant people, I created a digital collection showcasing the history of abortion access in Bloomington, Indiana and its surrounding areas. I digitized materials, such as mid twentieth-century oral history records and feminist pamphlets, from the Indiana University Archives. To organize and exhibit these materials, I used the open-source platform CollectionBuilder. 

This poster presentation will share the practice and theory behind this digital collection of abortion memories in southern Indiana. My poster will outline the workflows of digitization, metadata, and website organization. It will highlight the specific affordances of CollectionBuilder, including its modularity and streamlined approach to metadata. Theoretically, my poster considers how the practice of building a digital collection of archival materials converges with issues of knowledge, power, and the relation between past, present, and future. A collection focused on abortion access and motivated by the Dobbs decision highlights these issues in several ways. First, it reveals how sharing information can, on the one hand, facilitate empowerment and agency, and on the other hand, create risk for the marginalized. Second, the Dobbs decision reorients our perspective on documents representing pre-Roe abortion advocacy; this invites consideration of how digitized archival materials do not just preserve the past, but also resituate these documents within the present of digital space.

Digital Rights in the Era of Artificial Intelligence: Research Agenda on Privacy Literacy Among Selected Bipoc Graduate Students in the United States

John Adebayo (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, US)

Globally, technology plays fundamental roles in sustainable development championed by diverse facets of human endeavors. Advances in technology have enabled humanity to accomplish tasks that positively increased productivity using Artificial Intelligence (AI). Notwithstanding the values, rapid Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations are changing the digital environment where humans operate and restructuring their digital rights. With the capacity to gather, trail, store, and process a large quantity of people’s data, the autonomous decision-making capabilities of AI algorithms seem to be impacting almost every aspect of humanity. Although privacy of personal information and data are two of the central elements of digital rights, it appears many people are unaware of the value that data possesses in the digital age. Therefore, this study seeks to explore the perception of privacy literacy to understand digital rights in the era of Artificial Intelligence among selected graduate students who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) at selected universities in the United States of America. 

Using the privacy literacy conceptual framework by Hartman-Caverly and Chisholm (2023), six I’s that facilitate privacy considerations which focus on their benefits for human experience will be employed to examine participants’ awareness of restrictions on access and disclosure that humanity can negotiate about their privacies while using AI. While the use of AI by graduate students will be restricted to people’s activities on Google, YouTube, and Facebook, a mixed method will be employed for data collection from randomly selected participants in two universities to answer three research questions for the pilot study. The findings are expected to be valuable in validating the instruments and reveal the level of privacy literacy about digital rights among the participants as empirical bases for advocacy on the need for transparent, accountable, and responsible use of AI for humanistic endeavors. 

OCR for Coptic Literature: Digitizing an Under-resourced Historical Language Corpus

Lydia Bremer-McCollum and Caroline Schroeder (University of Oklahoma, USA)

The Coptic language is the last phase of the ancient Egyptian language family (a language family that also includes hieroglyphs). Although Coptic literature comes from late antique and medieval Egypt, most Coptic manuscripts now reside in Global North repositories, and almost always in fragments, with pages from the same codex in two, three, or more different archives. Many works have not been published even in print, or if published not in their entirety.  Digitization and then reassembly of literary works in the digital realm are processes essential for basic access to the literature, especially since this literature has been inaccessible to the heritage community of origin. As David Smith’s and Ryan Cordell’s working paper, “A Research Agenda for Historical and Multilingual Optical Character Recognition” argues, developing public infrastructures for historical language OCR is critical for humanities research. Although previous researchers have developed OCR for Coptic, software updates render models obsolete, requiring new development. This situation poses significant challenges for researchers with small teams or without significant engineering and programming support. This poster will outline processes and results of developing OCR for Coptic and will include lessons learned and best practices for other projects working in under-resourced historical languages.

Return to Friday schedule