Group for Experimental Methods in Humanistic Research
at Columbia University

※ action

Ethnic Studies Rise and LorgiaFest

A public humanities effort to honor the extraordinary contributions of scholar Dr. Lorgia García Peña. “Ethnic Studies Rise” was conceived and brought to fruition by Raj Chetty (San Diego State University), Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann (Emerson College), and XP moderator Alex Gil (Columbia University).

※ workshop

Literary Modeling and Visualization

Bringing together researchers from different academic and national traditions, this workshop explores the limits and the possibilities of formal literary analysis.

※ talk

Decolonizing Data Regimes

In this age of datafication, the quantification of human bodies, behaviors, and interactions has raised myriad concerns about ethics and privacy. My talk takes a media archaeological approach to sift through those prehistories which have shaped our contemporary digital landscape. Specifically, I historicize trends toward datafication in the context of colonial communication networks in the Global South. The data regimes we see today are premised upon a colonial geography and a colonial rhetoric of technomodernity, and to decolonize digital platforms we must take a long historical view on data ethics grounded in the Global South. My talk articulates some of these possibilities for postcolonial data interventions for digital infrastructures.

※ talk

Practicing Palimpsestry in Seattle's Urban Landscape: Archives, Counter-mapping, and Public Scholarship

※ talk

An Analysis of Root Word Similarity in Esperanto

※ talk

Corpus-DB: a Textual Corpus Infrastructure for the Digital Humanities

※ talk

Media and Paranoia w/ Clemens Apprich (Leuphana University)

※ talk

"Just Digitization: Opportunities for Image Processing in Digital Humanities" with Melissa Terras

Most Digital Humanities activity revolves around text and textual processing, although there are more and more opportunities to use 2D and 3D imaging approaches applied to primary historical sources to enable their analysis. In this talk, Terras will talk about the research relationship between the computational and engineering sciences and the cultural heritage community, and provide an overview of various projects which have seen the adoption and adaption of digitisation techniques which require data processing and analysis.

※ workshop series

Introduction to Minimal Computing in the Humanities: Building an Exhibit of Primary Sources Using Wax

Alex Gil, Digital Scholarship Librarian at Columbia University Libraries, leads a workshop series on minimal computing techniques for building digital archives and exhibits of cultural artifacts.

※ workshop

Architectures of Knowledge: Lahore

The Knowledge Architectures workshop is an itinerant dialogue between scholars, activists, archivists, artists, librarians, and cultural organizations. We are pleased to host our second meeting on March 12-13, 2018 at the Centre for Governance and Policy, IT University of the Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan. In collaboration with Archives and Libraries Department, S & GAD, Government of the Punjab, and Punjab Information Technology Board.

※ talk

"Cabinet Logics: An Intellectual History of Book Furniture" with Shannon Mattern

While the physical properties of our reading materials, and our material engagements with them, have evolved over the millennia – and particularly within the past decade – we still rely on physical supports, furnishings, to scaffold our interactions with them.

※ talk

Public Library/Memory of the World with Marcell Mars

Marcell Mars—media scholar, software developer, free culture advocate, co-founder of Multimedia Institute (Zagreb)—will join us for an informal session on shadow libraries, amateur archives, and the challenges of distributed online infrastructure for more equitable access to knowledge globally.

※ fireside chat

Online Advocacy with the Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF is engaged in major legislative fights, beating back digital censorship bills disguised as intellectual property proposals, opposing attempts to force companies to spy on users, championing reform bills that rein in government surveillance, and much more.

※ mapathon

Puerto Rico Mapathon for Hurricane Relief

Following the recent hurricane, people around the world are using the [OpenStreetMap]( platform to give their time to hurricane relief efforts. The Red Cross in Puerto Rico has requested two tasks we can help with for their relief efforts. During the mapathon, we will teach people how to help with these efforts through mapping, and we will map together.

※ lecture

Using Data For Good: What does it mean?

This is the first event of the Startup Center on Data Ethics organized by Manan Ahmed, Bruce Kogat and Josh Whitford. The center is in a pilot year to develop both a context of discussion that will attract colleagues from different fields to discuss ethics in data, and seed research to advance our understanding of ethics in the new age of data sciences and computational social science.

※ reading circle

Literary Modeling and Visualization Lab

The Literary Modeling and Visualization Lab meets weekly to discuss recent scholarship in the field.

※ workshop

Indo-Ghuria: Continuities and Ruptures in 12th-13th-Century South and Central Asia

A collaboration between The MET, UC Irvine, and Columbia, this collective endeavor brings together historians, archeologists, and art-historians to explore, from multiple disciplinary perspectives, the shifting connections between South and Central Asia during the twelfth-thirteenth centuries. Although this timeframe has been historiographically emphasized primarily due to the Mongol campaigns of the 1220s in Central Asia, almost simultaneously South Asia (particularly northern India) also underwent momentous changes: the successful Ghurid campaigns of the 1190s not only introduced and consolidated Islam as a political system in the region, they effectively sutured the Indic and Persianate worlds in a new and enduring nexus of cultural, linguistic, socio-religious, and political relationships that were to reverberate for centuries into the modern day. This workshop will explore a meaningful cross-section of the twelfth-thirteenth-century historical moment/process. .

※ workshop

A History of Difference: Piety and Space in Early Modern West Asia

This conference brings together scholars working broadly in Ottoman and Mughal pasts to converse, consult, and present what ways of thinking and doing difference are recoverable to us. This workshop will take as its objective a grounded history of difference narrated in diverse textual and visual cultures. We aim to incorporate venues beyond the legal—histories, hagiographies, travel accounts, visual and material culture—into the discussions of the contemporary.

※ lecture

An Introduction to Topological Data Analysis for the Digital Humanities

Persistent homology is a powerful tool from the field of topological data analysis that can help you understand the shape of and extract features from your high-dimensional datasets. In this workshop, Dr. Rachel Levanger will offer a friendly introduction to the subject at the conceptual level and then work through some examples. No background in mathematics is assumed.

※ lecture

The Marriage of Philology and Media: Two 1960's Media Archeologies, w/ Jeffrey Schnapp (Harvard University)

Jeffrey Schnapp is the founder/faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard and faculty co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. At Harvard, he serves as Professor of Romance Literatures and Comparative Literature in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is on the teaching faculty in the Department of Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and is affiliated with the Critical Media Practice program in Visual and Environmental Studies.

※ lecture

Leigh Hunt, Textual Studies, and Digital Humanities

This lecture by Prof. Michael E. Sinatra, Université de Montréal, will investigate the complex politics of authorial revisions and reception history of Hunt’s 1850 and 1860 ‘autobiography', with specific references to the newspaper ‘The Examiner'.

※ lecture

The Various Tagore: The Making Of A Database

In this lecture, Prof. Sukanta Chaudhuri will present Bichitra, the Online Variorum of the works of Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore’s works in Bengali and English run to 36 large volumes. He revised them extensively before and after publication: there might be a dozen or more versions of a work to take into account.

※ lecture

Digital Amati: Structure and Interpretation of Classical String Instruments

Harry Mairson, professor of computer science, Brandeis University, and amateur violoncello maker, has conducted research on type systems in programming languages and their relation to problems in logic and complexity theory. In this lecture, he introduces the Digital Amati Project which explores the structure, interpretation, and making of stringed instruments, and how modern software can be used to represent historical practices of instrument design. The lecture discusses digital humanities tools, and the creative work done with them, and will be of interest to historians, musicologists, practitioners of digital humanities, and makers.

※ conference

Rediscovering Words and Worlds: Arabic Script Collections at Columbia University

The 3-day workshop is set to take place on February 16-18, 2017 at Columbia University. Professor Sabine Schmidtke from the Institute for Advanced Study will conduct a keynote lecture on Thursday, Feb. 16.

※ teach-in

Electronic Device Security at the Border

As part of our ongoing, "Technologies of Dissent" series (in partnership with the Electronic Frontiers Alliance), this teach-in will introduce you to best practices for securing your devices and protecting your online and offline privacy while crossing international borders. No prior experience is necessary. Event open to the public.

※ workshop

Advanced Text Analysis with SpaCy and Scikit-Learn

This workshop is an introduction to the Python module SpaCy, a new library for natural language processing written in Cython, and Scikit-Learn, a library for machine learning. It is intended for intermediate to advanced Python programmers who are familiar with natural language processing suites such as the NLTK, and who are ready to explore next-generation tools. We will cover advanced topics such as word embeddings, dependency parsing, and machine learning.

※ workshop

Version Control for Textual Criticism w/ Dennis Tenen and Pamela Smith

Join us for our regular "Version Control for Textual Criticism" workshop tomorrow (Friday, Jan 27th) from 2-4pm at Butler Studio (Butler 208b). We'll be learning the basics of Git version control system---a powerful way to organize and keep track of your documents, write collaboratively, engineer textual interfaces, and keep the labor of writing together visible. No prior experience is required.

※ workshop

Command Line Interfaces for Textual Criticism w/ Dennis Tenen and Pamela Smith

Command line interfaces are an essential building block of all computer-mediated research and design activity. It is also a good way to "dip your toes in" basic coding proficiency. No prior experience is necessary. Sitting is limited.

※ conference

the caribbean digital III

Over the course of this day of multiform panel presentations, we will engage critically with the digital as praxis, reflecting on the challenges and opportunities presented by the media technologies that evermore intensely reconfigure the social, historical, and geo-political contours of the Caribbean and its diasporas.

※ workshop

In the Same Boats: Toward an Intellectual Cartography of the Afro-Atlantic

This work of multimodal scholarship consists of a series of interactive maps that trace the movement of seminal intellectuals of Africa, the Caribbean and the wider Americas throughout the Atlantic world. The objective of this project is to chart the extent to which Caribbean, US-American, Latino, European, and African cultural actors have been in both punctual and sustained conversation with one another: attending the same conferences, publishing with the same journals and presses, active in the same political groups, elbow-to-elbow in the same Parisian cafés and on the same planes---literally and metaphorically in the same boats---as they circulate throughout the diverse spaces of the Americas, Africa, and Europe. By rendering visually the points of spatio-temporal and textual intersection among these figures, In the Same Boats will provide a rich, open-access platform from which to explore the emergence, so often overlapping, of key black Atlantic literary, cultural and political constructs.

※ encounter

Empowering Reason w/ Errikos Pitsos, CEO of

Join us for a talk about online democracy and deliberation with Errikos Pitsos, founder of, a platform for "empowering reason" and "where people with opposing views can meet and understand each other's thinking."

※ workshop

Architectures of Knowledge: Mumbai

We are so pleased you will be joining us for the upcoming workshop and meeting, Knowledge Architectures, in Mumbai from July 4th through July 6th at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

※ encounter

Johanna Drucker

How can we model temporal relations and chronologies without a standard Cartesian grid as the ground?

※ panel

Bodies Under Algorithm

Who sets the terms and conditions governing our digital lives?

※ mapathon

Nepal Mapathon for Earthquake Relief

Come help with relief efforts on the ground in Nepal by contributing your time to open-source mapping.

※ lecture

Barbara Herrnstein Smith

Since the 1940s, invocations of "close reading" (however understood) have figured centrally in controversies over new methodological developments in literary studies.

※ workshop

d3.js w/ Emily Fuhrman

At the root of complex interactive visualizations are simple, data-driven shapes. This workshop will provide a basic introduction to the D3.js JavaScript library, and will walk participants through the steps necessary to use data to control and customize the visual attributes of elements in a browser. Included will be an overview of JavaScript data types, an introduction to JSON, and a summary of the D3 enter-update-exit pattern: the building blocks from which to build scalable, dynamic visualizations for a range of contexts.

※ lecture

Rens Bod

The common wisdom that the humanities are moving towards science when they search for patterns is mistaken. Instead, the search for patterns has been a continuous line in the humanities from Antiquity onwards.

※ encounter

Eben Moglen

Universities were the freest places in human society to compute—and therefore to read, communicate and learn—from the beginning of computing until yesterday. They are no longer. Mostly, you did it to yourselves. Some of it is being done to you. In this post-Snowden talk, Eben Moglen, founder of the Software Freedom Law Center and Professor at Columbia Law School, will discuss what has happened, why you should not want to live this way one millisecond longer, and how you can begin to reclaim your technological freedom in order to safeguard your political liberty.

※ workshop

Bitcoin Basics w/ Ben Doernberg

Bitcoin and Dogecoin veteran Ben Doernberg will lead this entry-level workshop on the basics of bitcoin for writers, journalists, and the general public. After an overview of key concepts we'll go step-by-step through the process of installing a bitcoin wallet and receiving a payment, so please bring a laptop or smartphone! Next we'll cover best practices for buying, securing, and using bitcoin. The final portion of the workshop will be focused on journalism- and author-specific applications for bitcoin technology, including micropayments/tips/donations, paywalls and access controls, and more sophisticated use-cases on the horizon.

※ encounter

John MacFarlane

Workshop on pandoc, a tool for authoring academic documents using plain text, by its author John MacFarlane, chair of philosophy at University of California, Berkeley

※ lecture

Christiane Frey

The emergence of the discourse of modern science from a language of natural philosophy was not yet subject to the modern divide between 'poetic' and 'scientific' forms of knowledge.

※ lecture

Nadia Altschul

On the methodological assumptions of philology and some of its colonial underpinnings, as well as the connections between digital humanities and this core method in humanities research.

※ lecture

Chad Wellmon

We need a history and vision of the humanities capacious enough to see them not as a particular method or set of disciplines but as a disposition, as a way of engaging the world.

※ workshop

Jo Guldi

How do you summarize millions of books with a single tool?