Thinking Digitally Institute

Hi all!

The Digital Humanities kicked off the summer by hosting its first ever Thinking Digitally Summer Institute. The DHC team and many other dedicated library staff members collaborated with humanities and social science faculty members to develop syllabi for Barnard’s Thinking Digitally requirement. The Institute took place on May 26th through May 28th over Zoom, with asynchronous tutorials available through Canvas. 

(Faculty and Staff discussed readings together over Zoom)

The faculty members came from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines, with different levels of experience and comfort with technology, so each person had unique perspectives to share during conversations about how to think digitally in the classroom. Faculty participated in discussions about what thinking digitally means and what digital pedagogy entails, they learned how to use digital humanities tools such as Hypothes.is, Twine, and Scalar, and they developed and scaffolded digital assignments. As they explored the capabilities of digital technologies for use in their classes, faculty members expressed feeling “liberated” by the productive frustration of being a student again and their experiences learning in the institute shaped the ways they viewed pedagogy, scaffolded their assignments, and developed syllabi. 

As a student, I enjoyed seeing the amount of work and caring that faculty members put into developing their courses. And at the same time, it was fun to watch their experiences as they became students again and explored an unfamiliar subject. Seeing the different ways in which faculty learned material, viewed pedagogy, and developed their courses made me want to take all of their classes.

All in all, the Thinking Digitally Institute was a week of growth, constant questioning, and reflection. Faculty members came in with big ideas, and while they expressed frustration at times, they were eager to grow and develop skills in order to expand the limits of pedagogy in the classroom. 

Thank you to all the faculty members who participated: Pamela Cobrin, Vrinda Condillac, Abosede A. George, Kim F. Hall, Elizabeth Hutchinson, Cecilia Brun Lie-Spahn, Maria Eugenia Lozano, Monica L. Miller, Laurie Postlewate, Wendy C. Schor-Haim, and Dugyu Ulla. 

A special thanks to all of the library staff who provided endless support during the Institute: Elana Altman, Rachel James, Sophia Junginger, Joscelyn Jurich, Marko Krkeljas, Vani Natarajan, Annabelle Tseng, and Diane Zhou.

And finally, thank you to the TDSI Organizing team: Jennifer Rosales, Melanie Hibbert, Alicia Peaker, Kaiama Glover, Miriam Neptune, Taylor Faires, Miranda Jones-Davidis, and Sondra Phifer.

Day of DH 2020

Hello all!

I hope everyone has navigated this confusing transition as well as possible and is in good health. We at the DHC have been settling into our new normal and are coming to you on the Day of Digital Humanities 2020 to talk about what exactly the Digital Humanities are. Below are some short responses from our team on what DH means to us.

Alicia Peaker, Digital Scholarship Librarian

For those of you who do not yet know Alicia Peaker she is the newest addition to our team and excited to meet everyone when we come back to campus:

“What initially drew me to Digital Humanities was an attention to human labor that made space for critiques of traditional models of academic labor that keep people isolated, in competition, and–especially in the humanities–in a battle to prove one’s worth. Many DH practitioners recognize that collaboration is a precondition of good work and that making invisible and emotional labor visible pushes back against these models. This is certainly not how all DH is practiced. But within DH I have found wonderful communities with whom to practice better and more sustainable and sustaining forms of academic work.”

Kaiama Glover, Faculty Director, Digital Humanities Center

“For me, digital humanities work has been a space from which to contest the existing borders of the academy – geocultural, disciplinary, and linguistic. The projects that most appeal to me, and those I’m willing to invest time and other resources into, are those that allow for sustained collaboration with interlocutors who might otherwise be bound by the constraints of non-proximity.”

Miriam Neptune, Director of Teaching, Learning and Digital Scholarship

via Tweet:

Miriam says: “Breaking through hierarchies. Self-reflexive critical making. Process journals and works in progress talks. Scratching it out, revising, re-imagining. And seizing the z00m moment to bring together collaborators who once would not be in the same “room”…”

Taylor Faires (me), Post-Baccalaureate Fellow

“The Digital Humanities, for me, is a playground in which we can bring critical humanist inquiry to the digital space. DH gives us a unique opportunity not only to play but to play responsibly and ethically while pushing the boundaries of academia .”

NYC DH Week Kickoff

It’s NYC DH Week, the week we’ve all been waiting for!

Monday was the kickoff for the week and there were various presentations from a large cohort of incredible digital humanists. Some of their projects are highlighted below.

“Who We Are”: Visualizing NYC by the Numbers

Who We Are at the Museum of the city of New York

It’s census season and “Who We Are” shows us why that’s important. The exhibit is currently housed in the Museum of the City of New York and features independent-yet-connected data visualizations about the population of New York using census data. What’s just as important as who’s represented is who isn’t. People are missing from the census, and it’s often minorities. This matters because the census is “how the 435 members of the House of Representatives are allocated among the states,” (Brookings). “Who We Are” explores this and other issues.

Visit the website to learn more!

Moving Saints of the Bronx

Website for Moving Saints of the Bronx

Fordham students in the Bronx worked within the class “Modern Latin American Art” to create an interactive website that depicted Catholic art and objects throughout the Latinx community in the Bronx. This project helps understand the “role of religious cult objects in anchoring diasporic communities from Latin America to a new homeland in urban New York.” The site itself was made on Omeka, an open source platform that we work with at the DHC.

Visit the website 

Contactrot and other Projects by Jonah Brucker

Contactrot from coin-operated.com

Jonah Brucker is an artist and a professor at CUNY Lehman College. Many of his projects focus on the intersection of technology and people. The one that I found the most fascinating was called ContactRot, a contact-list app created to mimic the human memory. When you stop calling or texting a person, the listing of the contact slowly fades away, losing letters or numbers of the contact until it is entirely deleted. The project looks at our over-reliance on technology to remember. “When these items begin to disappear, we ultimately lose touch with people to the point of being forced to contact them in other ways (e.g., real life) to get the data back,” (coin-operated.com).

Visit his website here to see Contactrot and other projects.


Don’t forget to check out NYC DH Week’s schedule to catch some workshops today and tomorrow!

A Month in Review

Greetings from the DHC! We’re now a little over a month into the semester and we’d like to look back on the cool things we’ve done so far!

DH Summer Institute Wrap Up

On September 19th, we held a reception for our Digital Humanities Summer Institute fellows who worked tirelessly this summer to pursue a wide array of research topics. For more information on their projects, check out their blog posts!

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Summer Institute a reality! (left to right) Miriam Neptune, Kimberly Springer, Madiha Zahrah Choksi, Janet Jakobsen, Pamela Phillips, Corinth Jackson, Katherynn Sandoval, Celia Naylor, and Martha Tenney.
Those are some handsome gift bags!

The reception was both a celebration of the Institute’s success and a time for fellows to present their work. I was wowed by all of the care and consideration the fellows put into making incredible digital projects regarding equity, representation, the archive, and so much more.

Resist to Exist Kashmir

On September 20th we had another event! In collaboration with the BCRW and Stand With Kashmir, the Barnard DHC held a screening of Khoon Diy Baraav (Blood Leaves Its Trail) along with a discussion that followed with Hafsa Kanjwal and Samia Shafi. We highly recommend watching the film and getting more informed about the occupation of Kashmir. We, at the DHC, are working on getting resources to learn more on our website!

Check out Stand With Kashmir to learn more!

Professor Kaiama L. Glover Lecture and Welcome Reception

Professor Glover spoke about her experience working on In the Same Boats, an online project that “trace[s] the movements of seminal cultural actors from the Caribbean and wider Americas, Africa, and Europe within the 20th century Afro-Atlantic world” (In The Same Boats)

On October 3rd, the DHC held a welcome reception for our new faculty director, Kaiama L. Glover. During this reception, Professor Glover talked about her own journey into the digital humanities, focusing on the importance of collaboration, experimentation, and not being afraid to mess up. Professor Glover ended with a hope that the DHC can reach out to and collaborate with not only those who understand and have worked with the digital humanities but also the “digi-curious and maybe even the digi-skeptical.”

Check out In the Same Boats as well as the In All My Dreams Book Club to see what Professor Glover has been working on!

Lunchtime Book Series

Image result for trick mirror

Finally, yesterday, we had our first lunchtime book series. In it, we talked about the first essay in Trick Mirror, “The I in Internet.” During our discussion, we talked about the dangers of an internet that is so capital-driven and the ethics of information in the digital age.

This book talk is part of a larger series of book talks that the DHC is hosting this semester. We’re encouraging students to reach out if they have an idea for our next book talk or if they’d like to lead a discussion! This is a totally open space for exploration and discussion and you do not have to have read the featured book in order to participate in the discussion.

If you’re interested in hosting a lunchtime book talk please reach out to Taylor Faires (tfaires@barnard.edu) for more information!

Taylor Faires, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow ’19-20

As promised, here’s an introduction! I’m Taylor Faires and I’m the new post-baccalaureate fellow for the Digital Humanities Center. I graduated from Barnard this May and I’m excited to be on campus again in a new capacity.

I’ve always been a huge fan of the humanities, collaborating with friends on writing songs, poetry, and plays. While at Barnard I was an active member of the student theatre community, serving as a board member for the Columbia University Players and performing in student productions. Despite my interest in theatre, however, I graduated with a combined major in Political Science and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. I finished up my time at Barnard with two major projects: my political science capstone project and an independent study project conducted in Southern Ecuador. Both of these projects looked at the intersections of power when it comes to development and humanitarian aid, paying close attention to conflicting narratives and their importance in how programs that are meant to help look on the ground and how people respond to it.

My previous focus on the construction of narratives and their importance in international and domestic policy led me to wonder about digital narratives. Memes are cool, but what are they saying about our culture? How are they shaping the way we think? The way we vote? Our media and how it shapes us has become an incredibly important topic for study in all of the social sciences. Why not, then, bring it to the humanities? It is these questions that guide my research project on internet and fan culture. Our media shapes us in ways that we are only beginning to explore, and I, for one, am excited to learn more!

In addition to my own research project, I’m here to help you with yours! Expect to hear from me with all sorts of cool tools I’ve found in my own research!

At the end of the day, I’m learning too. I want to learn how to use the many tools at the Digital Humanities Center and across Barnard can help me bridge the gap between so many of my interests. While I love the humanities, I also love science- with environmental science a field I hold near and dear to my heart. How do we bridge the gaps between academic disciplines towards a recognition that everything is connected. The success of The Lorax is relevant to climate change just like erosion patterns or the Green New Deal are. Young adult novels have a political agenda. Stories matter because everything is a story.

That’s all for today but tune into my DHC weekly blog to see musings on ethics, digital humanities, tools and tricks!

Summer Fellowship Stories: MTLC tour!

Summer Fellows sit around a long table in a room lined with bookshelves full of zines.
Our Summer Fellows get the FYI on DIY from Deputy Zine Librarian Jade Levine.

Yesterday, the DHC Summer Fellows convened for a tour of the Milstein Center, led by Miriam Neptune, Post-Bac Sylvia, and student worker Miranda. Our Fellows all have such diverse and interdisciplinary research interests and projects, we knew they would benefit from hearing what the Milstein’s many centers and departments have to offer. 

Continue reading “Summer Fellowship Stories: MTLC tour!”

Summer Barnard Inclusion Grant Fellow Corinth Jackson

Corinth Jackson (BC ‘20) is a rising senior at Barnard College majoring in Urban Studies with a Specialization in Architecture. This summer, Corinth is working with the Archives & Special Collections Department and Digital Humanities Center (DHC) to research Black student life at Barnard. Corinth has several goals for the project, but at the moment, she is attempting to collect all of the names of Black students on campus. She hopes to make information about Black Barnard students more accessible. Through the collection of archival information about students on campus gathered digitally and physically, she intends to use different mediums to display the information. Corinth hopes that this project will shed light on what being Black at Barnard means and hopes that each medium can serve as a resource for the Barnard community.

Corinth’s research is supported by a Barnard Inclusion Grant written by Barnard Archives and DHC staff. Her fellow fellows are Katherynn Sandoval ’21, Kimberly SpringerPam Phillips, and Celia Naylor

Awkwafina’s Wikipedia Page Created at Barnard

At a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon in April of 2013, now 6 years ago (wow!), BLAIS staff partnered with the Asian American Alliance, a student group on campus, to create and edit Wikipedia pages for various Asian Americans. Among the ten articles created on that April day was the page for rapper and breakthrough actress, Nora Lum, now known as Awkwafina.

Continue reading “Awkwafina’s Wikipedia Page Created at Barnard”