Thursday, March 22, 2018

1:30-2:10 – Infrastructure for the Digital

Introducing the Oxford-BYU Syriac Corpus: An Archive for the Preservation of Syriac Texts

James Walters, Rochester College

The Syriac language is an ancient dialect of Aramaic, spoken widely throughout the Middle East in the 4th-7th centuries CE. Following this period, Syriac continued to be spoken primarily by Christian communities along the Silk Road, from the Mediterranean Sea to India and China. Moreover, Syriac survives today as a liturgical language for multiple ecclesiological bodies, and there are modern dialects spoken in Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq and diaspora communities around the world. Given the geographic and temporal range of the Syriac tradition, it is no surprise that there is a rather large corpus of Syriac texts produced between late antiquity and the late modern period; however, most of these texts remain unavailable to heritage communities of the Syriac tradition, either because the manuscripts are held in library collections in Europe or because of lack of access to critical editions available to scholars in research institutions.

The Oxford-BYU Syriac Corpus seeks, in part, to remedy this lack of availability of texts by creating an open access repository of Syriac texts. The current corpus consists of a collection of several hundred texts, which have been transcribed either from print editions or manuscripts by scholars and students at Oxford University and Brigham Young University, and these transcribed texts are in the process of being converted to TEI for use in the corpus. In the next stage of the project, we envision people from anywhere in the world being able to contribute to this corpus by transcribing texts and encoding them using training materials and templates that we will create. We hope that this corpus will serve as an enduring archive of the Syriac language, which will aide in the preservation of the Syriac heritage among global diaspora communities.

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Bringing Arabic-Language Scholarly Content Online: An Investigation

John Kiplinger and Anne Ray, JSTOR

Despite enormous advances in digitization techniques over the past decade, a tremendous volume of Arabic-language scholarly content remains available only in print form. The work of bringing these materials online has been slowed by a number of challenges: the technical challenge of digitizing Arabic script, the logistical challenge of securing distribution rights for content published in the Middle East and North Africa, and the financial challenge of finding a model to sustain the ongoing digital availability of this content once it has been scanned.

JSTOR, a not-for-profit digital library, is carrying out a year-long investigation of the work needed to digitize and preserve Arabic-language scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences. The project, which is partially supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will culminate in the release of a public white paper for librarians, publishers, and scholars in mid-2018.
This presentation will give researchers a view of this planning process, with special attention to two topics: first, the work to identify and prioritize a set of Arabic journals for a possible digitization project, placed in context with the landscape of scholarly communication in the Arab world, and second, our early findings from an exploration of the available digitization software packages and processes for Arabic content. Attendees will have a chance to respond to the findings, and the presenters especially hope that attendees will suggest potential partners and audiences who might benefit from this research.

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The Humanities Scholars Today: New Directions for Academic Libraries in Nigeria

Yetunde Zaid and Adebambo Oduwole, University of Lagos and Lagos State University, Nigeria

Traditionally, the humanists depend largely on archival materials, grey literature, field studies, interviews and other library documents to conduct research and disseminate knowledge to their audiences. The revolution in technology and the information age has brought changes to the conduct of research which allows humanists not only to research electronically, but also make their results available via the same means. Today’s humanities scholars are exploring differing modes of engagement, institutional models, technologies and discursive strategies. There is a major ‘discontinuity’ from the traditional method of information access and use due to significant digital cultural change in the past two decades. They now spend their time searching and accessing information using computers, the internet video-games, digital music players, video cams, tablets, cell phone, and all the other tools of the digital age. Today’s average humanities scholars spent less time reading in the library, but more time on the computer, including the use of the internet, e-mail, social media platforms, and instant messaging which have become an integral part of their lives. As a result of this ubiquitous environment, today’s humanities scholars think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors. These differences go farther and deeper than most librarians suspect or realized. Although academic libraries have provided services to humanities scholars for many years, the observed changes in digital culture and new scholarship models provide great opportunities for academic libraries to be more involved. This paper reviews traditional library services, briefly describes the digital culture and its attendant challenges as it relates to libraries, discuss few library project in support of service and research, and opportunities for better engagement and partnership between faculty members within the various institutions and globally. The paper concludes by proposing ways through which academic libraries can provide space, embrace and incorporate humanities scholars digital culture differences into mainstream library services.

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Digital Analysis of poetic themes in Mirza Ghalib

Syed Affan Aslam and Abdul Wahid Khan, Habib University

(See their research poster for further details)

We study Ghalib’s poetic themes using Network Analysis. The study is essentially based upon the work performed by Prof. Emerita Frances W. Pritchett, Columbia University who founded the site called Desertful of roses, which contains the Diwan of Ghalib. The method of data collection and cleaning we used is web-crawling. Our focused web-crawler extracted the couplets and their respective relatives using a particular technique. The nodes of our graph correspond to the verses and the links specify their kinship with other verses. The first investigation deals with the complexity of categorizing themes in Ghalib’s poetic corpus. We use our original measure named transitivity measure to find the participation of a couplet in the triangles found in Ghalib’s poetry. Using this measure, we conclude that the maximally transitive verses, which is to say that their participation in the triangles is maximal, in fact, are the popular themes of Ghalib’s poetry. The second measure we used was degree. We find hubs in Ghalib’s scale-free verses network, which are highly correlated with and influential than the other verses, and they adhere to power-law. It also answers our hypothetical sub-question with regard to the evolution of Ghalib’s poetry, for which conclude that there are some hub verses that would most likely to grow in terms of degree if Ghalib were alive today. We found negative assortavity in Ghalib, which implies that there is a sharing going on among the concepts on the basis of metaphors. A popular theme is most likely to connect to an unpopular theme because it is being used as a metaphor. We also propose a graph theoretic argument that shows that the Ghazals don’t seem to have a thematic interdependence among its couplets.

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3:00-3:40 – Pedagogy in/of the Digital

Mapping Lusofonia: Integrating GIS Instruction into Foreign Language Curricula

Pamela Espinosa de los Monteros, Ohio State University

Significant barriers of entry exist for humanities students and faculty attempting to integrate digital humanities (DH) into their departments and classrooms. Uneven institutional infrastructure and programmatic support places humanities faculty in the position of simultaneously learning DH methods themselves and incorporating DH into the curriculum. While they recognize the value and potential of exposing students to these methods, they often lack the technical expertise to design and implement the initial curriculum themselves, requiring them to look outside of their departments for collaborators. This lightning talk presents a case study of integrating geographic information systems (GIS) instruction into a traditional graduate foreign language course through a heterogeneous collaboration among area studies scholars and experts in GIS and copyright.

Our talk highlights the team-based approach we took to coalesce GIS instruction with the Lusophone course content taught in both English and Portuguese. During the course, students collaboratively created an ArcGIS Story Map on the African diaspora of Lisbon. The assignment introduced key GIS concepts through hands-on-tutorials designed for students to recognize the utility of geovisualization and location-based storytelling through a web-based mapping platform. We outline each team member’s role and review the timeline for instruction and student project development. More importantly, we discuss the successes and challenges we faced to blend and balance this instruction, to address the multilingual limitations of existing DH tools, and to design an exploratory assignment with specific disciplinary content. By sharing our experiences and lessons learned, we hope to promote discussion about scalable instructional design, library-faculty partnerships, student-centered curriculum design, and the existing barriers to introducing students to methods for global DH research.

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Toward a Rubric-Based Assessment of Global Digital Tools and Pedagogies: Taking a closer look at Mandarin Tone Learning Apps
Tuning in: A Digital Soundscape of Mandarin Chinese Tones

Yilang Zhao, Catherine Ryu, and Benjamin Fuhrman, MSU

Abstract coming soon

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Beyond the Classroom: Maps, Texts and Multimedia to Make Visible the Afro Presence in Argentina

Marisol Fila, University of Michigan

Driven by the question of why to include digital technology into the classroom, my talk discusses the use, the potentialities and the challenges of the platform Story Maps to create a digital project that serves as the final assignment for a lower division course. The course is designed to offer an interdisciplinary approach to the experiences and the contributions of Afro descendant communities to the building of the Argentine nation state. The proposed multidisciplinary and cross temporal methodology aims to contest the invisibility that these groups have been experiencing since the end of the nineteenth century, moment that is usually described as the time of their disappearance from the Argentine territory. For their final project, the students are required to reflect on what they have learnt throughout the course and to create a digital project in Story Maps. Story Maps allows to integrate maps with narrative text, images and multimedia content in a single project. By combining geography with audiovisual resources, the story narrated has the strength of not only bringing light to an invisible presence, as it happens in the case of Argentina, but to also locate it in a specific territory. In its final stage, the project is shared and discussed with Afro descendant groups from Argentina, with the objective of establishing connections and building bridges between American students and young members of the Afro Argentine organizations.

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Storytelling and Social Media: Tackling the Digital Divide

Autumn Painter and Marcy O’Neil, MSU

Is it possible to use social media and emerging technology to address social challenges? This past year, the Lab for Education and Advancement in Digital Research (LEADR) facilitated teaching students in the Globalization and Justice class from Michigan State University working with Three Sisters Education Fund (TSEF), a community-based organization in Benin, West Africa to create a series of 7 bilingual storybooks based on folktales. A major impetus for this project is that many of the local participants in Benin do not have access to computers, nor do they have books in the home outside of school notebooks. Over 35 people in Benin participated in this project, ranging in ages from 3 years to 85 years. TSEF anthropologists recorded and transcribed the stories from four different storytellers, while community members acted out or drew the scenes for the books. Many of the participants in the project were students and tutors in the TSEF program. The activities were concentrated in the neighborhoods of PK11 and Agassa-Godomey near the city of Cotonou.

Over the course of one semester the two groups communicated via WhatsApp to fill this gap in local language books. The students used technology including WhatsApp, Google Drive, Bloom software, and a WordPress site to collaborate on the project. Before creating the books, both sides took turns asking and answering questions about their daily lives and sharing the answers through text, photo, video, and audio messages. The final result was the self-publication of 7 books in Fongbe, Goun, and Mahi languages along with French or English as a second language. The students at Michigan State also created an accompanying website using WordPress to introduce the storytellers and the context of the stories for an English-speaking audience. All photos and illustrations were created in Benin, edited in the US, and routed back to Benin where our partners had final editing approval. In addition to creating the several bilingual storybooks, students also used the text of the stories to analyze thematic issues related to globalization and justice, giving them a unique experience in an academic setting. Many students in the class completed this project as part of their capstone in the Peace and Justice Studies minor at MSU.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

9:00-10:30 – Environmental DH Panel

Supporting Research, Public Engagement, and Learning Through Environmentally Focused Digital Humanities

Jamie Rogers, Florida International University

Florida International University (FIU) is uniquely positioned as a public research institution located in south Florida with a strong emphasis towards environmental and climate concerns. In support of its core values to take “responsibility as steward of the environment and as citizens of the world”, the university is home to a variety of interdisciplinary research centers within the School of Environment, Arts and Society (SEAS) such as the Institute of Water and Environment, Sea Level Solutions Center, and Southeast Environmental Research Center. The FIU Libraries have been able to forge partnerships with SEAS, the School of Communication + Journalism, as well as Department of History on a number of initiatives, including the exploration of new pedagogical practices as well as public engagement initiatives in environmentally focused digital humanities projects. Among our most notable collaborative projects, Fragile Habitat: Conversations for Miami’s Future was sponsored by the Humanities in the Public Square initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Fragile Habitat provided an opportunity for the university to partner with local museums and cultural heritage institutions and invite the public to participate and hear from nationally recognized scholars and local environmentalists as they examine the challenges of climate change through culture and history. The Libraries have also provided training and support for individual graduate research in digital humanities projects, such as Making Waves in Opa-Locka: History and Rising Seas. This project explores the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities like Opa-Locka. It is also an investigation into the history of the community in an attempt to find the origins of its residents’ socioeconomic troubles and how sea level rise may impact them in the future. This short presentation will describe these, and similar initiatives as well as the Libraries’ role in supporting digital humanities projects at FIU.

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#EcoDH: Global Environmental Digital Humanities

Amanda Starling Gould, libi rose striegl, Craig Dietrich, Ted Dawson, Max Symuleski, Duke University, UC Boulder, Occidental College, and Vanderbilt

We in digital humanities and media studies like to use environmental metaphors. We talk of “media ecologies” and hold conferences about “possible worlds.” Maxwell, Raundalen, and Vestberg have suggested that such metaphors of the environment obscure the relationship of digital media to the material world, enabling utopian discussions about virtual environments at the precise moment in which the real environment is in crisis. The emerging field of Ecocritical DH (EcoDH) seeks to maintain a focus on the material world within the digital humanities. Located at the nexus of environmental humanities and digital humanities, EcoDH mobilizes a range of tools and critical constructs, using digital methods to investigate environmental issues while reflecting on the ecological implications of those same digital methods. EcoDH thus offers new horizons for digital work while challenging digital humanities to investigate its own practices and metaphors.

Our panel features scholars and practitioners from various institutions and backgrounds discussing the existing place of, and future possibilities for, EcoDH. Ted Dawson will present the InfraVU project at Vanderbilt University, which creates immersive experiences of campus infrastructure normally hidden from view. Amanda Starling Gould will touch upon the “dirty digital humanities,” sustainable digital practice through permaculture, and the urgency of cross-disciplinary EcoDH. Craig Dietrich will discuss his work combining permaculture with network culture by creating software that drives non-hierarchical systems such as Scalar and ThoughtMesh. Max Symuleski will explore the political ecology of maintenance as it relates to digital objects, digital infrastructures, and life-cycles of computational hardware. libi will address media archaeological and techno-revitalization practices in relation to obsolescence and convenience culture.

To demonstrate EcoDH at its best, our presentation will be a hybrid intervention that puts into practice our theoretical intentions.

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11:00-12:15 – Creating Community

Colonial Pasts and Techno-Utopian Futures

Dhanashree Thorat, University of Kansas

In February 2016, Facebook’s Free Basics initiative was effectively banned in India by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for violating principles of net neutrality. The Free Basics initiative would purportedly have brought Internet access to a billion new Indian users. In its two-year campaign for Free Basics, Facebook touted the economic and social benefits of Internet access to underserved people, leveraged its virtual, corporate and state networks in favor of the campaign, and maligned Net Neutrality activists in India. Taking Facebook’s Free Basics initiative as my departure point, I trace the public, corporate, and state discourse around digital infrastructure development in India.

Grounding myself in postcolonial and decolonial thinking on Western modernity and postcolonial computing, I read digital infrastructures as historically situated and sociotechnical constructs that cannot be understood solely in terms of technological development. I argue that Free Basics can be situated in a larger postcolonial history of colonial nations bringing Western modernity to the poor and primitive peoples of the Global South. This initiative and the advertising campaign around it evoke paradigms of national development, modernization, and progressivism that are rooted in techno-utopian narratives. At this nexus of corporate and state interest in digital infrastructure lies a techno-utopian belief that social, political, and economic problems in the Global South can be resolved by technological advancement, and nation-wide issues of inequality and disparity will be ameliorated if underprivileged citizens have access to the Internet.

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Exploring Culture and Identity using Linked Open Data and the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA)

Taylor Wiley, Joshua Wells, Eric Kansa, Kelsey Noack Myers, and R. Carl DeMuth, Indiana University South Bend, Open Context, and Indiana University Bloomington

(View presentation slides here)

In the United States, the most common format for expressing an archaeological site number is the Smithsonian Trinomial. Trinomials are expressed as standard alphanumeric intelligent keys containing data pointing to a site’s state and county. Upon first glance of a Trinomial or other format of site number, it is difficult to know its spatial and cultural context. The Digital Index of North American Archaeology, Linking Sites and Literature (DINAA LSL) project uses Linked Open Data principles to link Trinomials to their greater contexts. The DINAA LSL cites literature containing Trinomials alongside citations and URLs. The sites are associated with their spatial, cultural and temporal contexts. Previous development on the DINAA LSL involved manual text mining of Trinomials from the most recent non-embargoed decade of American Antiquity hosted on JSTOR (2004 – 2013). Text mining was performed not only on the body text of the articles, but also on text, tables, and figures. This paper demonstrates how the use of Linked Open Data principles by DINAA LSL can put Trinomials into a greater geographical and cultural context. In turn, by putting site numbers into their wider context, it opens up the use of the DINAA LSL to explore archaeological communication of past ethnic identities, and especially indigenous identities, in North America from within the literature by providing a unique way to conduct initial library research into these identities. With these Trinomials linked to related literature, it is possible for users to start their research by creating queries related to cultural concepts, branching out to literature about archaeological sites. By linking Trinomials to their contexts within the archaeological literature, they are made less abstract. As such, Trinomials grow from mere markers of an archaeological site into a linked term gateway that can be used to investigate the cultures and identities of past peoples.

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Digital Community Engagement at SIUE: How a Regional University can have a Global Impact

Katherine Knowles and Benjamin Ostermeier, The IRIS Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

See the slides here for the presentation

The Interdisciplinary Research and Informatics Scholarship (IRIS) Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) partners digital humanities scholars with the public to mitigate the digital divide through cross-disciplinary initiatives that encourage innovative solutions to global problems. SIUE is located in Illinois near St. Louis–a diverse region of urban, suburban, and rural areas, divided along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. IRIS brings digital humanities programming to the region by embedding itself in the community through partnerships with local organizations, including the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities and the Madison County Regional Office of Education. Collaborating with these organizations, IRIS works with middle and high schools through projects such as Digital East St. Louis, Conversation Toward a Brighter Future, and the STEM meets Humanities initiative’s digital humanities clubs–all helping local youth develop independent perspectives and devise solutions to issues important to them. Students document their work through oral histories, podcasts, videos, photographs, and other digital formats that are shared online. These students have created everything from interactive area water quality maps to podcasts about the culture of their hometowns to digital stories about instances of intergenerational conflict in their schools and their proposed solutions. Despite SIUE’s status as a regional university, IRIS has managed to have a significant international impact. IRIS faculty and students have two ongoing projects in Nepal. In 2012, they started recording interviews with locals in the Manang region to document endangered languages on a multimedia atlas before they go extinct. Following the 2015 earthquakes, IRIS faculty quickly launched a second project: recording earthquake experiences of locals in their native languages to document and share them in a digital archive. Though small in scale compared to other digital humanities centers, IRIS’s commitment to challenging global issues locally and abroad demonstrate the significant impact smaller institutions can have.

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Partnering for Digital Publishing: Resurfacing At-Risk Works of the Small, Independent, Feminist Press

Jane Nichols, Oregon State University Libraries and Calyx Press

(View presentation slides here)

In this presentation we discuss a digital publishing partnership between OSU Libraries and Calyx Press, Inc. An international non-profit feminist press, Calyx brought many now-prominent authors to international attention, including the poet Sharon Olds and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska. Supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, this partnership aims to preserve Calyx Press titles and make them readily available in ebook formats. The project relies on the strengths of each partner, embodying how a comparatively well-resourced public institution serves to amplify an important community non-profit, preserving its rich contributions to feminism and women’s movements.

This project will bring twenty-plus out-of-print titles spanning 3 decades into wider circulation by converting them into ebooks with a Creative Commons license. This project aligns with similar efforts such as the digitization of the feminist magazine Spare Rib (1972-1993) by the British Library and JISC (a non-profit supporting digital technologies in research and education).

The large-scale digitization of feminist publications like these has the potential to attract new and returning generations of readers and scholars interested in 20th- and 21st-century feminist writing. Ideally we hope our digital collection will find new audiences and re-invigorate our long standing audience. Along the way, we have tussled with problematic questions of ownership, valuing the labor of creative workers, and digital rights. By sharing our experience thus far, we align with our feminist foresisters who were “contributing to the movement through the very act of producing a magazine” (Forster, 2016, p. 28). Sharing the complex concerns we’ve encountered along with our hopeful vision for aggregating and disseminating at-risk work of feminist authors and scholars, we are working to contribute to today’s digital feminist movement.

Denda, Kayo, and Lucy Vidal. “Academic libraries advancing transnational feminism.” (2013). Retrieved from http://library.ifla.org/47/1/084-denda-en.pdf

Enszer, Julie R. “Recovering Out of Print Queer Literature.” HuffPost. (02/13/2017). Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/recovering-out-of-print-queer-literature_us_5894903ee4b02bbb1816b969

Forster, Laurel. “Spreading the Word: feminist print cultures and the Women’s Liberation Movement.” Women’s History Review 25.5 (2016): 812-831.

Francica, Cynthia Alicia. Distant intimacies: queer literature and the visual in the US and Argentina. Diss. 2017. Retrieved from https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/bitstream/handle/2152/62072/FRANCICA-DISSERTATION-2015.pdf?sequence=1

Gilley, Jennifer. “Ghost in the Machine: Kitchen Table Press and the Third Wave Anthology That Vanished.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 38.3 (2017): 141-163.

Gilley, Jennifer. “This Book is an Action: A Case for the Study of Feminist Publishing.” International Journal of the Book 9.1 (2012).

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1:30-2:30 – Language and Meaning

Mercator of the Trap: Black Orality and the Naming of Place in the Hip Hop Soundscape

Melissa Brown, University of Maryland

The rise of hip hop music to mainstream has brought the Black oral art form to forefront of television, radio, and digital platforms. Numerous scholars have explored the role of place and space in rap music through methods of rhetorical, content, and geospatial analysis (Forman 2000; 2002, Sigler and Balaji 2013, Isoke 2014, French 2017). In this project we undertook a geospatial analysis to visualize the naming of place in rap lyrics. This project emerged as a collaborative effort to identify the soundscape of Atlanta in the post-industrial era. After working to generate initial queries, we use the Genius.com API to develop a list of songs from rap artists from specific urban centers in the United States. In addition to mapping locations named in songs, we produce a network analysis of rap artists and producers to visualize how sound travels through social and spatial connections. Our findings help generate a dialogue about hegemonic notions of place and the role of academic institutions in reifying dominant concepts of geography and mapmaking. We are argue Black Digital Humanities offer a lens to reconceptualize the dynamics of race, space, and place and provide a roadmap for future projects.

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Visualizing Claude McKay’s Black Atlantic

Amardeep Singh, Lehigh University

Here I will introduce my archive of Claude McKay’s early poetry, “Claude McKay’s Early Poetry: 1911-1922” (https://scalar.lehigh.edu/mckay/). The archive is the first full online archive of McKay’s major poetry, starting with his early Jamaican poetry, and continuing with poetry written in New York as well as London. McKay published many poems with underground leftist newspapers and magazines like the British “Workers Dreadnought”; these have often been left out of subsequent printings of his work.

The larger aim is to use Scalar’s visualization techniques to show relationships between the poems McKay published from his early years in Jamaica through 1922 that might not be otherwise apparent. While biographers and critics have suggested a strong divide between McKay’s more aesthetically-ambitious poetry and his more activist writing, this site shows that the two streams of McKay’s literary output overlapped to a considerable degree. Moreover, while there is a clear change in voice and style after he moves to the U.S., the concerns of McKay’s early Jamaican poetry in collections like “Constab Ballads” and “Songs from Jamaica” overlap with the themes of his later work more than has been generally acknowledged.

A key goal of this project is to use semantic tags to demonstrate the relationships between McKay’s early poems in the context of his personal experience: 1) as a migrant nostalgic for his childhood life in rural Jamaica, 2) as a person with radical political beliefs, 3) as a gay man, and 4) as a minority poet aspiring to acceptance and critical respect in the overwhelmingly white literary culture of Anglo-American modernism.

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Urban Language Topographies: Cites as Sites of Language Maintenance

Michelle McSweeney, Columbia University

In 2014, the United Nations found that over 54% of the world’s population lived in cities, making urban areas “superdiverse” cultural and linguistic centers. Yet, mass urbanization is a driving force behind language loss as residents shift to using lingua francas in search of better social and economic opportunities. However, learning a lingua franca does not necessarily mean forgetting other languages. This project seeks to understand how communities of speakers maintain their languages by establishing sites of language use (i.e., community centers, cafés, libraries, etc.) in both formal and informal ways, and to what extent such sites promote language maintenance.

Some estimate that over 800 languages are spoken in New York City. Focusing on eight languages (Albanian, Armenian, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Mon-Khmer, and Persian), we combine census data with our database of institutions supporting language use and speaker interviews to determine if and how language-use sites outside of the home can affect its maintenance and transmission to the next generation. Though data analysis and GIS, we illustrate how languages are situated in the city and the relationship between where speakers live and where they gather.

Preliminary analysis shows that permanent and annual events may help to concentrate speaker communities into the “linguistic enclaves.” Census records from 1990-2016 show the Haitian Creole speaking community, formerly dispersed across the city, increasingly moving into one neighborhood. This neighborhood has been a center of Haitian culture since the 1980’s, when the Caribbean Day parade (a 36-hour Carnival celebration) was established. As the Haitian community has grown in New York City, it has also shifted to this area. We hypothesize that the visual presence of Haitian Creole in this neighborhood has a positive effect on attitudes towards language maintenance.

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3:00-4:15 – Mapping and the Geo-Spatial

West Hollywood Goes Global: Exploring Queer Identity on GeoCities

Sarah McTavish, University of Waterloo

In 1995, fledgling web hosting and development company GeoCities created “West Hollywood” as one of their first six thematically-organized “neighbourhoods.” This neighbourhood was designed to offer users, referred to as “Homesteaders,” a place for gay, lesbian, and transgendered (LGBTQ) people to create personal webpages. It would be one of the first large-scale LGBTQ-focused spaces on the World Wide Web. Closed in 2009 by Yahoo!, GeoCities lives on today in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

This paper explores the ways that this new platform for LGBTQ expression transcended its implicitly geographical “West Hollywood” designation, to become a global queer space. Users from all over the world situated themselves within the virtual neighbourhood, and interacted with each other through webrings, guest books, and reciprocal hyperlinking practices. Despite a number of national studies on LGBTQ identity and community on the internet, particularly in North America and Europe, there has been little historical scholarship on the effects of this large-scale convergence of new users on the Web. How did these Homesteaders navigate the cross-cultural interactions in order to mediate new identity labels and categories, both as individuals and as a community?

Using the West Hollywood neighbourhood as a case study, this paper employs network graphing using Gephi in order to visualize global interaction patterns, along with content-level analysis of language and self-narrative, based on topic classification and keyword frequency. I argue that, through a combination of distant and close reading techniques, we can see the impact of global virtual community on queer identity. This paper builds on the historiography of global sexuality and identity studies, as well as contributes to digital history methodology for performing research at multiple scales of analysis.

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Digital Tools, Grassroots Use: Open Source Mapping Communities and Global Knowledge Production

Ned Prutzer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Emergent modes of scholarship and activism have increasingly used digital mapping to foster more horizontal, equitable spatial knowledge production. Projects like Public Lab and the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI), as well as various projects associated with OpenStreetMap (OSM), teach communities how to map, capture, and preserve data about ineffective environmental and land rights policies, allowing communities to choose for themselves if and how they should do so. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) extends OSM’s crowdsourced model particularly to non-Western areas to not only improve safety of life and disaster response systems, but also recognize the spatial dimensions of gender and class inequities.

This 15-minute presentation expounds on the work of these communities. It draws from my own participation in them, ranging from internships to workshop participation, as well as analyses of their tools, platforms, and online interactions. These experiences will show how such non-expert collaborations, ones largely unanticipated when GPS functionalities were first made publicly available, are about encouraging users to think critically about data consumption, not just encouraging specific techniques or technological proficiencies. Given the charge of these communities, the presentation resonates with various symposium themes in considering open data within issues of social justice, indigeneity, disaster response, and environmental monitoring.

In discussing these groups as case studies associated with a discourse of “grassroots mapping,” I employ scholarship from the digital humanities and critical/cultural studies to historicize their ambitions within theoretical, governmental and technological frameworks. To do so, I will incorporate work from Kathleen Fitzpatrick, David Theo Goldberg, Henri Lefebvre, Eve Tuck, and Raymond Williams. I will also relate this research to my own institution – which hosted one of the earliest, if not the first, environmental advocacy initiatives online centered on Boneyard Creek – and discuss what possibilities grassroots mapping may hold for further work within this legacy.

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Migrant Segregation in Victorian England: Geo-Spatial Technologies and Individual-Level Data Harmonisation

James Perry, Lancaster University

Historians have increasingly made use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a key methodology in their historical research. For migration scholars, the ability to harmonise individual-level census data with geographical units offers detailed insights into the behaviours and composition of migrant communities. The behaviours of migrant communities were frequently criticised, as one contemporary noted, “They descend upon a street or a district, drive out the original inhabitants, open their own shops, set up their own businesses, and, by absolutely ignoring these, starve out all those who previously gained their livelihood in the invaded locality.” The visualisation and forms of analysis available in GIS environments enable spatial aspects of segregation to be measured and explored across time. The increased provision of digitised materials can be augmented when combined and manipulated in a geo-spatial environment, thereby creating enhanced datasets linked through a common geography. The Integrated Census Microdata (I-CeM) is a full count individual level dataset, which enables migrant communities to be assessed and analysed at aggregate and localised levels. Through the harmonisation and joining of the I-CeM data to various units of geography, migrant segregation is analysed from national down to individual household levels. Through the digitised decennial censuses, it is possible to ascertain how communities experienced change and continuity in the final decades of the nineteenth century, thereby revealing wholly original findings in the distribution and composition of the migrant population. It will be argued that the majority of the foreign-born population resided outside of London, rather than inside, and that migrant groups exhibited vastly different approaches in their interaction with the host society.

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