Call for Participation, Upcoming Presentations and Training Opportunities

Here are some updates for the Rice Digital Humanities group:

Call for Participation

For the fall meetings of our group, we will explore current digital humanities research and/or teaching projects at Rice. Please let Lisa Spiro know by October 10 if you would be interested in giving a brief (15 minute) presentation about your digital humanities project or if you’d like to recommend a project to be included. Each session will feature two projects and will allow time for discussion.

Upcoming Presentations

Mark your calendars for three upcoming events of interest:

Training Opportunities

Looking to sharpen your DH skills?  Check out the following workshops and online resources:

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Keynote by Erez Lieberman Aiden (4/10, TX DH Conference at U of H)

On April 10, Rice’s own Dr. Erez Lieberman Aiden (also affiliated with the Baylor College of Medicine) will give a public keynote lecture as part of the Inaugural Texas Digital Humanities Conference hosted by the University of Houston. In “Quantitative Analysis of Culture,” he will discuss how computational methods can be used to analyze millions of digitized books to draw conclusions about large-scale trends in human culture.

Date: April 10, 2o14
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Great Hall, University of Houston Alumni Center
Reception to follow

Open to the public

See the flyer for more information.

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Project Based Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences (4/15)

Project Based Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Kyle Morrow Room, Fondren Library (3rd Floor)
Box lunches served at 11:30, session begins at noon

By incorporating projects into classes, instructors can provide real-world contexts for learning, motivate students, and help them develop both in-depth understanding of the subject matter and skills in problem solving, communication and collaboration. This session will focus on Rice humanities and social sciences courses that include innovative digital projects, such as building 3D models, analyzing digital texts, developing scholarly digital resources, or creating digital media. During this panel discussion, faculty from art history, anthropology, history, English and architecture will explore how they have incorporated projects into their courses and what the impact has been on learning.

This session features:

  • John Hopkins and Jeff Fleisher on “Virtual Reconstruction of Historical Cities” (ANTH 346/ ARCH 310/ ART 316/ COMP 316)

  • Caleb McDaniel on “Digital History Methods” (HIST 318)

  • Alida Metcalf and Farès El-Dahdah on “Rio De Janeiro: A Social and Architectural History” (ARCH 366/ HIST 366)

  • Kirsten Ostherr on “Medical Media Arts Lab” (ENGL 386/ FILM 381)

Each instructor or pair of instructors will make a brief presentation, followed by questions and discussion.

Box lunches will be served beginning at 11:30 in the lounge immediately outside the Kyle Morrow Room, and the program will begin at noon. If you would like a box lunch, please RSVP at by Monday, April 14 at 9 a.m. Thanks to the Humanities Research Center and the Center for Teaching Excellence for co-sponsoring this event, which is organized by Rice’s new digital humanities group.

Please contact Lisa Spiro at with any questions.

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Grant Writing in the (Digital) Humanities Workshop: 2/26

Grant Writing in the (Digital) Humanities
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
12 p.m.
Digital Media Commons, 129 Herring Hall

How might humanities scholars secure funding for their projects, particularly in the digital humanities? This workshop will explore where to look for funding, how to prepare a grant application, and what distinguishes successful applications. Panelists include Jason Rhody, Senior Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities (via desktop videoconferencing); Phyllis McBride, ‎Director, Office of Proposal Development at Rice University; and Katie Carpenter, Director, Foundation Relations. Bring your questions and funding ideas.

Lunch will be provided. Please register (and make your lunch choice) at by Monday, February 24.

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Upcoming Events: Talks, Grant Funding Workshop and TX DH Conference

February features a few exciting digital humanities events in the Houston area:

  • Monday, February 10, 2014, 4:30 PM  to 6:00 PM:  Peter Bol, Ephemera Lecture III – “Digital Humanities Projects for China Studies” (117  Humanities Building). Bol, the Charles H. Carswell Professor East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard, was the director of Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis and directs both the China Historical Geographic Information Systems project and the China Biographical Database project. As Harvard’s Vice Provost for Advances in Learning, he is responsible for HarvardX.
  • Wednesday, February 26, 2014, noon to 1 p.m. “Securing Grant Funding for Digital Humanities Projects.” This panel discussion features Jason Rhody from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities (via desktop video conferencing), Phyllis McBride from Rice’s Office of Proposal Development, and Katie Carpenter from the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations. Room TBA. Please sign up by February 24 so we can make sure you get a lunch.
  • Friday, February 28, 3:00-5:00 PM: Fred Gibbs, “Processes and Products in the Digital Humanities,”  University of Houston, AH 106. Gibbs, who is Assistant Professor of History University of New Mexico, studies the  intersection of natural philosophy, medicine, and the human body throughout the medieval and early modern periods.  His publications include “Critical Discourse in the Digital Humanities,” “The Hermeneutics of Data and Historical Writing,” and “A Conversation with Data: Prospecting Victorian Words and Ideas” (with Dan Cohen).

Also, abstracts for the Inaugural Texas Digital Humanities Conference are due on February 15. The conference will take place on April 10-12, 2014 at the University of Houston, Main Campus and features some great keynote speakers: Erez Lieberman Aiden (of Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, and Google Labs), Geoffrey Rockwell (Alberta), Tanya Clement (University of Texas at Austin), and Elijah Meeks (Stanford).

If you’d like to participate in the Rice Digital Humanities group, please fill out a survey to help define the group’s mission.

Finally, please sign up for the Rice Digital Humanities mailing list:


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Environmental Scan and Pecha Kucha

As each group prepares to do its pecha kucha in which you describe your project’s humanities innovation and offer a brief environmental scan, here are a few useful resources:

Have fun!


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Digital Humanities Talks at Rice in November

Don’t miss these upcoming lectures by leading thinkers (and doers) in digital humanities:

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Upcoming Events and Opportunities

I wanted to make you all aware of an exhibition, resource and event relevant to our class:

  • Don’t miss Lina Dib’s “Murmurations” at the Lawndale Art Center, which is located at 4912 Main Street. Lina will be visiting our class in a few weeks. I believe the exhibition closes on September 28.
  • Check out Mark Sample’s list of Digital Humanities sessions at MLA 2014. Even if you’re not going to MLA, it’s always intriguing to see the range of DH work in literary studies.
  • Consider participating in the University of Houston’s Digital Humanities Reading Group. The first meeting of the semester will take place on Monday 9/30 from 4:00-5:00 in Agnes Arnold 512. The group will discuss Christine Borgman’s important article “The Digital Future is Now: A Call to Action for the Humanities,”
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Wordle does not work with Google Chrome/Digital Humanities wording issue

Wordle is great, thanks Carolyn! I just tried it with a paper I wrote and found the diagram that it produced fascinating. I also wanted to remind everyone that you’ll need to install Java and use Safari as browser, or something other than Google Chrome.

Another comment on the DH wording issue: In my funding application process for the upcoming Digital Humanities Workshop at Rice (Apr. 5-7, open to the public, announcement forthcoming), I was told that by one computer scientist here that the word “digital” is overused and almost meaningless. I was tempted to change the title of my workshop to “Computational Approaches to the Humanities,” but decided against it.


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Digital Humanities in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, 2.18.2013

I follow William Pannapacker on twitter, and I was incredibly intrigued when I saw the title of his latest story: “Stop Calling it ‘Digital Humanities'”. Pannapacker’s controversial title did its work and drew me in, yet as I read through his 9 point plan for the Digital Humanities, I found my initial skepticism softening. Pannapacker’s article provides solid, tangible suggestions for ways that academics can bring the Digital Humanities to their institutions and firmly ensconce these new meta- and interdisciplinary efforts in higher education. And, arguably, many of the ideas Pannapacker suggests will pave the way for institutions of higher education to see the Humanities as scholarly pursuits that have the ability to evolve and change with new technologies and modes of discovery, which means that when the next generation of something like DH comes around, hopefully departments and scholars will have an easier time convincing their administrations of its pertinence.

What I still cannot get over is Pannapacker’s lead in: that changing the name of the Digital Humanities to the Digital Liberal Arts will somehow make scholars from other disciplines see it as less exclusive and “elitist”. I do not disagree with Pannapacker that this might be how others view DH, but it seems to me that the Digital Liberal Arts are going to have the same problem eventually. I think that in his suggestion of a title change that Pannapacker hits on something inherently problematic to the field of the Digital Humanities but that his cosmetic solution (point 1 of 9) is a superficial answer. I think that this comes down to the same problem our group had on Day 1, which is answering the question: “What is the Digital Humanities?”. Sure, if all humanists spin DH as is digital archives, then why would scholars other than humanists care about it? But through the technologies we are engaging with in this certification course: GIS Mapping, Text Encoding, Data Mining, Collaborative blogging etc. I just simply do not see how DH can be an exclusive Old Humanists Club. DH demands that humanists build bridges across campuses and interact with scholars in other fields. It asks scholars to ponder how someone else in another department might understand and benefit their project, which in my mind is the first step in breaking down academic work barriers. I think that what needs to happen, along with Pannapacker’s 8 other positive suggestions, is for DH scholars to really utilize these technologies in all aspects of their academic life. If we can get the scholarly community and students both recognizing that DH goes beyond scanning documents to make them accessible to more people on the internet, then subsequent scholars will see how DH really combines fields and disciplines to increase accessibility to academic work. Because, ultimately, just as I might need the computer scientist to build me a blogging platform, the computer scientist also needs my work in order to show off his/her designs.

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