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Research Associates in Digital Humanities

Karen Leick, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Digital Humanities Initiative Heading link

Picture of post doc in digital humanities

Karen Leick’s primary research interests are literary modernism, digital humanities, and media studies. She has published a study of Gertrude Stein’s popular reception, Gertrude Stein and the Making of an American Celebrity (Routledge 2009), co-edited an essay collection about the FBI files of modernist writers and artists, Modernism on File: Writers, Artists and the FBI, 1920-1950 (Palgrave Macmillan 2008), and written many articles about the reception of modernism. Currently, she is working on a Digital Humanities project about American Poetry Anthologies from 1910-1950 and writing a biography, Mary Carolyn Davies: The Cowgirl Poet of Greenwich Village (under contract with SUNY Press). She teaches literature, professional writing, and first-year writing courses.

Alexis Guilbault, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Digital Humanities at the Institute for the Humanities and Main Library, 12/2021 – 12/2022 Heading link

Alexis Guilbault earned her PhD in U.S. History from Indiana University (IU) in 2021. Her research reveals a multiracial history of slavery in the Ohio River Valley from 1700 to the end of the U.S. Civil War in 1865. She features a wide variety enslaved people in her long history of bondage, including Black, Native, and white individuals that worked in Indigenous villages as family members, in Indiana as house “servants,” in factories and other industrial operations in cities like Louisville, and as convicts in all Ohio Valley states. She brings this knowledge as well as experience editing historical work at the Journal of American History and creating web content and instructional and educational materials at Indiana University Libraries to UIC.

Rachel Zein, Digital Humanities Graduate Research Associate Spring 2022 Heading link

Rachel Zein is a graduate student studying secondary English education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Their research considers how high school English curriculum might reconfigure the notion of student accountability in the classroom. As a graduate research assistant at the Institute, Rachel brings their experience as a co-editor of Literacies Across the Lifespan, a digital, peer-reviewed journal run by graduate students at UIC’s Center for Literacy, along with experience as a virtual adult ESL instructor.

Carla Barger, Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Initiative 2020-2021 Heading link

Carla Barger

Carla Barger attended the PhD program at SUNY Binghamton and is currently finishing coursework and teaching in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work has appeared in decomP magazinE, Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Light Ekphrastic, MidAmerica  and elsewhere. She has received the 2019 David Diamond Writing Prize from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature and the Malcolm Sedam Writing Award for Poetry from Miami University; she has been nominated for the AWP Intro Journals Project Award.

Carla uses digital tools to facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to writing that marries poetics and research in various fields.  At the Institute, her work will primarily focus on designing digital humanities workshops and consulting with students and faculty individually on their plans for digital projects. Carla can be reached at and will have an office in the Institute for the Humanities when the building is approved for reopening. Until then please welcome Carla virtually, and watch for announcements about workshops for faculty and students.

Hannah Huber, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Digital Humanities at the Institute for the Humanities and Main Library, 2019-2020 Heading link

Hannah Huber

Hannah Huber earned her doctorate in English from the University of South Carolina, and her dissertation utilized digital repositories to reveal how U.S. literature exposed an important shift in cultural sleep patterns at the onset of modernity. An excerpt from her dissertation, an essay on pathological restlessness in Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, was published in the Winter 2016 issue of Studies in American Literary Naturalism and awarded the Robert H. Elias Essay Prize by the International Theodore Dreiser Society. Her research specialties include nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. Literature, women’s and gender studies, digital humanities, and medicine and literature. She is currently working on an interdisciplinary, digital history website that will enable visitors to visualize trends in U.S. sleep culture. Such interactive tools will illuminate the chronological and geospatial developments of sleep terminology and cultural practices by bridging fictional representations of insomnia, historical sleep debates, and contemporary sleep science. In making these common threads more visible, Hannah’s website will underscore environmental and social factors that have historically affected individuals’ access to and quality of sleep, as well as the dangers that sleep deprivation continues to pose to marginalized populations.

The UIC Digital Humanities Initiative, a new collaboration between the Institute for the Humanities and the Library, is designed to expose faculty and students to research in digital humanities and new research methods in that field. This initiative is generously supported by a University of Illinois Presidential Grant to Celebrate the Impact of the Arts and the Humanities.