Providing resources and trai­ning in the practices and tools of the digital humanities

Digital Humanities classes in Spring 2018

Two Digital Humanities courses will be offered in Spring 2018 for students interested in learning about the field.

Whitney Sperrazza, DH postdoctoral researcher at the Hall Center, is teaching a course titled ‘Digital Approaches to Early Women Writers' (crosslisted as ENGL 301 and HUM 300). The class focuses on women writers in England between 1550 and 1700, and how these writers engaged with topics like gender, class, race, and power. Students will adopt emerging digital humanities practices for reading and analyzing texts. The class meets Tuesday/Thursday from 2:30pm - 3:45pm in Watson Library. Contact for more information.

Dhanashree Thorat, DH postdoctoral researcher in IDRH, is teaching a course titled ‘Methods in Digital Humanities’ (crosslisted as HUM 500, ENGL 590, and HON 492). The course introduces advanced undergraduate and graduate students to interdisciplinary methods and practices in DH, and explores topics such as data mining, digital mapping, data visualization, and digital cultural studies. The class meets on Mondays/Wednesdays from 3:00pm – 4:15pm in Watson Library. Please send queries to



Talk on Sexuality and Social Media by Dr. Vlad Strukov

Dr. Vlad Strukov (Associate Professor of Film and Digital Culture at the University of Leeds) is giving a talk on "The Trauma of Digital Coming Out: Sexuality and Social Media in the Russian Federation" on Nov 14 from 12pm - 1pm in Bailey 318. The talk will also discuss the opportunities and challenges of doing digital humanities based on the example of this topic/research.

Description: What does it mean to be gay in contemporary Russia? How do Russians come out, if at all? Can social media help people deal with the trauma of coming out online? In this informal talk, I will explore complex interactions between sexuality and social media in the Russian context by scrutinizing the concept of digital coming-out. By exploring how members of a few online communities use social media to construct their sexual identities and deal with traumatic experiences, I will demonstrated how traumas associated with digital coming-out are translated into activism and social awareness. The talk will also challenge some assumptions about using big data in research. I will discuss alternative modes of doing research in humanities digitally. 

Upcoming Talk (September 18) on HathiTrust Research Center: Strategic approaches to opening research opportunities on closed data

HathiTrust Research Center: Strategic approaches to opening research opportunities on closed data

Hall Center Seminar Room

Monday, September 18, 3:30pm 

Abstract: The HathiTrust Digital Library (HTDL) contains some 15.8 million volumes (over 5.5 billion pages). Unfortunately, roughly 10 million HTDL volumes are under copyright restrictions and cannot be shared with users. To overcome this problem, the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) is creating a set of "non-consumptive research" services to make these closed materials more open and thus more useful to scholars.  This talk introduces such non-consumptives services as "Data Capsules," "Extracted Features" and the "Bookworm + HathiTrust" tool. Each HTRC service is designed to open new points of access to otherwise closed data while still respecting all copyright limitations. Examples of real-world Digital Humanities research projects and services that have been using the HTRC data and resources will be highlighted. Future research ideas, building on recent grant-funded projects, will also be discussed.
Speaker Bio: J. Stephen Downie is the Associate Dean for Research and a Professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Downie is the Illinois Co-Director of the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC). Downie is the leader of the Hathitrust + Bookworm (HT+BW) text analysis project that is creating tools to visualize the evolution of term usage over time. Professor Downie represents the HTRC on the NOVEL(TM) text mining project and the Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis (SIMSSA) project, both funded by the SSHRC Partnership Grant programme. Professor Downie is also the Principal Investigator on the Workset Creation for Scholarly Analysis + Data Capsules (WCSA+DC) project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. All of these aforementioned projects share a common thread of striving to provide large-scale analytic access to copyright-restricted cultural data. Downie has been very active in the establishment of the Music Information Retrieval (MIR) community through his ongoing work with the International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) conferences. He was ISMIR's founding President and now serves on the ISMIR board. Over the past year, Professor Downie has been working with Dunhuang Academy on the "Digital Dunhuang" project to help connect Digital Humanities scholars with the high-resolution digital materials capturing the Mogao Caves. Professor Downie holds a BA (Music Theory and Composition) along with a Master's and a PhD in Library and Information Science, all earned at the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

Python Text Analysis Workgroup

Download flyer as PDF.

Do you want to learn digital text analysis? Are you puzzled by terms like digital humanities and text mining? Then join the 2017-18 PYTHON TEXT ANALYSIS WORKGROUP! This workgroup is designed for anyone who wants to learn digital text analysis and integrate it into their research. In the Fall semester, we will work through a series of tutorials in the Python programming language to teach everyone the basics of digital text analysis. In the Spring semester, we will work together to develop more advanced projects. Participants may use their own computers, or they may use loaner Macbooks made available by the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities (IDRH). Everyone is welcome in this group; no prior programming experience is required. When: Every other Friday at 12pm. (8/25, 9/8, 9/22, 10/6, 10/20, 11/3, 11/17, and 12/1) Where: Watson 410A, the Digital Humanities Instruction Lab Who: the workgroup is coordinated by Jonathan P. Lamb, Assistant Professor of English and CRMDA Faculty Fellow

Studies in Digital Humanities: Enroll now for Fall 2017

Dhanashree Thorat, postdoctoral research in digital humanities, will teach an introductory course in digital humanities for graduate students and advanced undergraduates in Fall 2017. The course is cross-listed in Humanities, English, and Honors, and will meet Mon and Wed, 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM, in the Digital Humanities Lab, Watson 410A. See below for description and more details. Students may enroll now!

HUM 500 / ENG 590 / HNRS 492


Fall 2017
M/W 3:00—4:15 PM
Digital Humanities Lab, Watson Library 410A
Instructor: Dhanashree Thorat

This course introduces students to research possibilities and ongoing debates in the field of Digital Humanities. Students will examine how digital technologies and methodologies can enhance or suggest new modes of Humanities research. Course assignments will comprise of blog posts and mini projects conducted throughout the term. Required texts for the class will be from open-access DH texts available online.

No prior technical skills are expected. Students are only expected to bring a willingness to experiment and engage with digital tools. The course is open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students from all disciplines.

Dhanashree Thorat to join IDRH as postdoctoral researcher

We are thrilled to announce that Dhanashree Thorat will be joining IDRH as a digital humanities postdoctoral researcher beginning in August 2017. Dhanashree comes to KU from the University of Florida, where she recently completed her PhD in English on "Melancholic Citizenship: Inter-Ethnic Alliances in Post-9/11 America." In her role at KU, Dhanashree will teach an introductory digital humanities course, conduct original digital humanities research, consult on digital research projects, and help manage IDRH's continuing activities. Welcome, Dhanashree!

Dhanashree Thorat (Ph.D. in English, University of Florida, 2017) situates her research at the intersection of Digital Humanities, Postcolonial Studies, and Asian American Studies. Her work investigates the manner in which digital spaces, specifically digital archives and social media, codify hegemonic narratives of Muslims in the post-9/11 moment, and how Muslims use these same spaces to articulate political agency and intervene in mainstream conversations about their racialized bodies.

Dhanashree is a founding Executive Council member of the Center for Digital Humanities, Pune in India. She serves as the lead organizer for a biennial winter school on Digital Humanities, and advises the center on digital archival projects and DH curriculum development. She has written about her experiences with building DH networks in the Global South as a HASTAC Scholar (2015-2016), and is currently working as the issue editor for Asian Quarterly, a peer reviewed scholarly journal, for a special issue on ‘Digital Humanities in India’ to be published in 2017. At the University of Florida, she has served as co-convenor of the Digital Humanities Working Group, and was the lead co-ordinator for the first THATCamp Gainesville. She was also part of the committee that developed the Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate at UF. She has organized and led DH workshops on various topics including digital archiving, feminist digital humanities, and digital pedagogies.



Digital Jumpstart Workshops, March 2-3, 2017 - Registration now open

IDRH will host our annual Digital Jumpstart Workshops this year on Thursday and Friday, March 2nd-3rd. These free workshops are intended to provide faculty, staff, and graduate students with hands-on introductions to digital tools and practices in order to help you better manage your data, analyze text, work collaborative over long term projects, create digital editions, fund projects, and publish and disseminate your results. All skill levels, from beginner to seasoned digital humanist, are welcome.

More details....


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