Digital Humanities

The digital humanities has opened new possibilities for interdisciplinary work and collaborative practice. This group brings together faculty, staff, and graduate students to explore new media and technology in the creation of humanities scholarship and in the development of new means to communicate research to colleagues, students, and the wider public.

Mary Case, University Librarian
Steve Jones, Communication
Benn Williams, Graduate College
Elizabeth Dolly Weber, French and Francophone Studies


Our Digital Scholarship, Our Networks, Our Corpus: Why are we giving it all away?

Joseph Tabbi, Department of English

Wednesday, 3/15 2:30 PM to Wednesday, 3/15 4:00 PM

In December of 2015, Open Humanities Press founder Gary Hall and his Coventry University colleague Janneka Adeema organized a conference titled, “Why Aren’t We Boycotting” The $17.7 million, capital venture funded, for-profit commercial corporation (not, as their url would suggest, affiliated with any university), now serves up some 16.9 million scholarly books and essays to its membership of over 46 million registered users (that is, well over ten times the number of jobs listed last year in actual academia, by the Modern Languages Association). Google, after patiently dragging out and then quietly settling federal law suits questioning the practice, continues to add to its store of more than 30 million books scanned from the freely available stock in lending libraries throughout the United States. JSTOR, while protecting copyright of its extensive holdings in all fields of the Humanities, makes our scholarship available, one work at a time to subscribers. The assumption is that users will know in advance which essays from which journals they wish to access, and the inability freely to search across journals and databases, or just to browse, tends to prevent the kind of essay to essay, text to text movement that was the promise of the internet.

As researchers in the Humanities conjure ever more innovative ways to deploy digital affordances, and commercial entities conjure false hopes for professional advancement, should we perhaps be thinking of ways, with the help of our own institutions and libraries, to access and store our own scholarship and have it linked seamlessly to the creative and critical writing that defines our work as part of a robust, collaborative and (not least) relational field of research?

Joseph Tabbi is the author of Nobody Grew but the Business (2015) a literary biography of U.S. novelist William Gaddis. His edited Handbook of Electronic Literature is forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press in October 2017 and will be followed by two collections of essays from the electronic book review, which Tabbi founded in 1995.

February 22 2017 from 2:30 – 4:00

“Using Digital Writing Platforms and Text Mining to Facilitate and Improve Student Writing”

Speakers from the Language and Culture Learning Center:

Abigail Stahl – Postdoctoral Research Associate

Elizabeth Dolly Weber – Ph.D. French Basic Language Program & Director

Student writing can be very restricted in terms of variety of vocabulary.  How do we get students to focus on enriching their writing?  We present a writing wiki designed to enhance intermediate French writing (and applicable to English and other languages) by scaffolding the assignments in an engaging and effective way, and by focusing on enriching vocabulary. Our thematically-linked pair of wikis provide a step-by-step process including individualized research, creative production, revising, peer-editing, self-reflection.

Within the framework of the wiki, we explore the effectiveness of text mining tools in building vocabulary variety. We analyze students’ ability to identify high-frequency verbs using digital tools; appropriate synonyms use; reduction in commonly repeated verbs between drafts.

Contact: Benn Williams,

DHCS 2016: Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science
Nov. 11-13, 2016

Discipline and Doctrine

Interdisciplinary Symposium hosted by the Art History Graduate Student Association at UIC

Keynote Lecture sponsored by Digital Humanities Working Group

Victoria H. F. Scott, Independent Scholar

“The Art History Guild Strikes Back!”

Victoria HF Scott specializes in American and European art after 1945, but she has broad interests and always has several projects ongoing. She is founder of The Art History Guild, and co-founder of the European Postwar and Contemporary Art Forum (EPCAF), and is on the board of Her book 1968 and the Betrayal of Art: Cultural Revolution, Television, Posters, and the Avant-Garde is scheduled to be published by AC Press later this year, and she is also editing an anthology with Noemi de Haro García and Jacopo Galimberti titled Maoism, Art, and the New Chinese World Order. Her most important current project is: “Make Art History Count! An Interactive Platform for Discipline-based Statistical Analysis.”

The symposium pairs the terms discipline and doctrine in order to explore current challenges to humanities scholarship.  Additional info at:

 Date(s): Thursday, 10/22 6:00 PM to Thursday, 10/22 7:00 PM

Address: Gallery 400, S Peoria Street

Location: Chicago

Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 12:00 PM
 Martin Paul Eve, PhD
Lecturer in English Literature, Lincoln University (UK)

“Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies, and the Future”

Open access, the notion that research work should be free to access and re-use, is a theoretically simple concept that has become mired in practical complexities and controversies. It is also, however, an aspect of contemporary research practice that is gaining worldwide traction and one that no contemporary scholar can afford to ignore, regardless of his or her discipline. In this talk, Dr. Martin Eve will set out the background to open access, the specific challenges faced by the humanities and the potential future solutions. What, exactly, do the terms “gold”, “green”, “libre” and “gratis” mean? How can OA be affordable for the humanities? What are the political motivations for its implementation? What is open licensing? And will open access really happen?

Dr. Martin Paul Eve is lecturer in English Literature at the University of Lincoln, UK specialising in contemporary American fiction and scholarly communications. Martin is the author of Pynchon and Philosophy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming November 2014). Martin edits the open access journal of Pynchon scholarship, Orbit. In addition, Martin is well-known for his work on open access, appearing before the UK House of Commons Select Committee BIS Inquiry into Open Access, writing for the British Academic Policy Series on the topic, being a steering-group member of the OAPEN-UK project, the Jisc National Monograph Strategy Group, the SCONUL Strategy Group on Academic Content and Communications, the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Access Steering Group and the HEFCE Open Access Monographs Expert Reference Panel and founding the Open Library of Humanities

Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 03:00 PM
Joe Tabbi
UIC English Department

“Relocating the Literary: In Networks, Knowledge Bases, Global Systems, Material and Mental Environments”
Abstract:  My talk considers ways that literary databases can make distributed collaborative encounters with scholarship more likely and better recognized – to the degree that nowadays inclusion in a database is the publishing event and the life of a scholarly work is defined through a trail of commentaries, ripostes, and (what is a sure sign of scholarly success) further work that is seen to be along similar lines. Citability alone, of course, is not in itself enough to ensure a change for the better in scholarly practices – no more than Aron Swartz’s recirculation en masse of JSTOR documents in the year 2011, or Kenneth Goldsmith’s 2013 “tribute” to Swartz (an unlikely crowd sourced “printout of the Internet”) have had a noticeable effect on the institution of peer reviewed journal publication. The talk considers Open Access, para-institutional, and even DIY alternatives to the current enclosures, both present (in JSTOR) and potential (in recent initiatives by Google and others).
Monday, November 10, 2014, 03:00 PM
Eric Jarosinski
A Civilization of Discontents. A Conversation with Nein.Quarterly about Social Media in the Golden Age of Crisis in the Humanities

Eric Jarosinski is a writer, speaker and #FailedIntellectual based in New York. An expert on modern German literature, culture and critical theory, he recently left academia to devote himself to his post as founding editor of Nein.Quarterly, a critically acclaimed, and non-existent, compendium of utopian negation.

Cited as some of the best writing on the web, @NeinQuarterly is quickly approaching 100,000 followers on Twitter in over 100  countries. It also now appears in four-line print format, with its trademark scowl gracing the opinion pages of “Die Zeit,” Germany’s leading weekly newspaper.

Jarosinski and his work have been featured in numerous international publications, including “The New Yorker,” “The Paris Review,” The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,” “The Believer,” “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” “Der Spiegel,” “Neue Zuercher Zeitung,” “Wall Street Journal,” “Slate,” and “The Irish Times.”

His first book, Nein. A Manifesto, will be published in 2015.

The event is co-sponsored with the UIC Germanic Studies Department.

Monday, April 13, 2015, 03:00 PM
 Jen Wolfe, Digital Initiatives Librarian, The Newberry Library
“High-Impact Learning, One Page at a Time: Engaging Students and the Public with Digitized Manuscript Collections”
Collaborative manuscript transcription and other cultural heritage crowdsourcing projects invite the public to take an active role in exploring the past by making primary source documents more accessible. Learn how some institutions are incorporating these projects in the undergraduate classroom to engage students through digital tools and methods, collaborative learning, and authentic tasks.
Monday, April 20, 2015, 03:00 PM
Megan Bernal, Associate University Librarian for Information Technology and Discovery Services
DePaul University
Jim LeFager,  Systems & Applications Librarian
DePaul University
Diving into DH: Digital Humanities Certificate Program Support through Collaboration with Librarians & Archivists
The presentation provides a case study on how faculty interested in Digital Humanities-related tools and projects can leverage existing relationships and resources in the university library to develop hands-on digital scholarship skills in the classroom.
Thursday, April 30, 2015, 03:30 PM
Members of the library faculty will discuss projects, research, and support for UIC’s digital humanities community:

Sandy de Groote, Scholarly Communications Librarian: The goals of and our results thus far from a survey on the needs of UIC’s digital humanists

Tracy Seneca, Digital Services Librarian: A report from the recent Hathi Trust conference

Sonia Yaco, Special Collections Librarian: Building a collections to curriculum crosswalk

Scott Pitol, University Archivist: The newly-released digital exhibits on the history of UIC’s Circle Campus and Mayor Richard J. Daley

Carmen Caswell, Academic Resident in Data Management: Tour of the Digital Humanities Working Group website

No food or drink allowed at this event. Sorry!

Friday, December 6, 2013, 09:00 AM
A Feminist Digital Primer with Dr. Moya Bailey
 Dr. Moya Bailey, Digital Humanist, PhD in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Emory University and currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Penn State’s Africana Research Center

Join digital humanist Dr. Moya Bailey (PhD in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Emory University and currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Penn State’s Africana Research Center) for an introduction to the digital humanities and a hands on tutorial with digital tools to aid feminist research and teaching.

Sponsored by the UIC Digital Humanities Working Group and the UIC Gender and Women’s Studies Feminist Digital Humanities Workshop

Thursday, December 12, 2013, 10:00 AM
Guided tour and evaluation opportunity of History Moves

The DHWG is co-sponsoring a guided tour and evaluation opportunity of History Moves. This is a public history gallery “on wheels” that displays the underexplored histories of Chicago’s communities. The changing content of the gallery is produced through a curatorial collaboration between professional historians and community-based partners who work together to collect and interpret important parts of Chicago’s urban past. The History Moves team then places those stories, based on oral history interviews and archival research in UIC’s library, in an innovative and adaptable museum-quality venue. More than a two-dimensional traveling exhibition, History Moves is a three-dimensional modular gallery that allows for changing spatial configurations and secure display of artifacts, graphic materials, and digital technologies on a mobile platform.

The project’s leader seeks assessment (physical design, digital interactive spaces and curatorial process) by people outside of the core team. On December 12th, we would like to hold three one-hour sessions with groups of 8 or so people to walk through the gallery and interact with/engage the materials we have pulled together. The sessions  will run at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm and will be at UIC’s Innovation Center (1240 W Harrison St Chicago, IL 60607). For more information, contact Benn Williams, DHWG Secretary,

Monday, February 24, 2014, 03:00 PM
“Doing Digital Humanities in a Large, Urban Public University”

Dr. Stephen Brier, Senior Academic Technology Officer Professor, Ph.D.
Program in Urban Education Coordinator, Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Doctoral Certificate Program Co-Director, New Media Lab The Graduate School and University Center, CUNY

What is the Digital Humanities (DH) and what role should it play in
research, teaching, and learning in a large, urban public university like
UIC? This presentation will explore the evolution and maturation of DH work
in the U.S. over the past half dozen years, focusing on:

*       several foundational texts in the DH field;
*       the ways DH has begun to reshape and reimagine the forms and
presentation of academic research;
*       how DH has helped launch an emerging reconsideration of hoary
academic processes such as peer review and academic promotion decisions; and
*       the ways DH has begun to employ digital pedagogies to transform what
takes place inside and beyond traditional college classrooms
The talk will conclude with some practical suggestions faculty and graduate
students can undertake to help launch DH activities on campus.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 03:00 PM
Scott and Jill Rettberg, University of Bergen, Norway
Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice (ELMCIP)

Scott and Jill Rettberg, University of Bergen, Norway
Co-founders of Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice (ELMCIP)

ELMCIP is a collaborative research project funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) JRP for Creativity and Innovation. It involves seven European academic research partners and one non-academic partner who are investigating how creative communities of practitioners form within a transnational and transcultural context in a globalized and distributed communication environment. Focusing on the electronic literature community in Europe as a model of networked creativity and innovation in practice, ELMCIP is intended both to study the formation and interactions of that community and to further electronic literature research and practice in Europe.

Cosponsors: Department of Communication , UIC Library

Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 03:00 PM
Digital Humanities: Presentations
UIC faculty, staff, and graduate student presentations

Presentations by:

Joe Tabbi, English Dept

Tim Soriano, History Dept

Tracy Seneca & Sandy DeGroote, Digital Humanities Task Force, Library

Jim Sosnoski, Communication Dept, Emeritus

Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 03:00 PM
Steven E. Jones, Professor of English and Co-Director of the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities at Loyola University, Chicago.
“The Emergence of the Digital Humanities”
The Digital Humanities Working Group at the Institute for the Humanities is pleased to announce that its inaugural speaker will be Steven E. Jones, Professor of English and Co-Director of the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities at Loyola University Chicago. His research interests include Romantic-period literature, textual studies, digital humanities, the intersection of humanities research and computing. Based on his book-in-progress, his talk, entitled “The Emergence of the Digital Humanities,” will be 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 28th in the Institute (basement of Stevenson Hall).
Monday, October 15, 2012, 03:00 PM
Digital Humanities Working Group Gathering
Monday, October 15th, 3-5 pm at University Library, 1-470 Refreshments will be provided by the University Library.