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Abstracts and Bios

Resources and Visibility in Digital Humanities

--DAY 1--


Moderator, Jonathan Mekinda
-BIO: Jonathan Mekinda is an historian of architecture and design and an Associate Professor at the UIC School of Design, where he directs the design studies program and serves as Associate Director for Faculty Affairs. His research focuses on the historical development of modern architecture and design during the middle decades of the twentieth century, particularly in Italy and the United States. He has received grants and awards from numerous organizations, among them the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and his writing can be found in various journals and edited volumes, including Art Deco Chicago: Designing Modern America (2018); and Studi e ricerche di storia dell’architettura (2019). He is currently at work on two books: Building the “House of Man”: Design and the Modern Home in Milan, 1933-1957 and an edited volume on the history of Chicago design. He received his AB (Honors) in architectural studies from Brown University and his MA and PhD in the history of art from the University of Pennsylvania.

“Digital Chicago: A Professional Project from Amateur Makers," Davis Schneiderman
-ABSTRACT: This presentation will start at the beginning--how does a campus without a digital humanities infrastructure embark upon and enact a large-scale digital project? In doing so, Lake Forest College needed to assess what it could do as opposed to what it might do, and also build faculty capacity in what can “feel” like a field with a high-entry threshold. Rather than faculty worrying that they were not trained to work as digital humanists, Digital Chicago proved precisely the opposite.
-BIO: Davis Schneiderman is Krebs Provost and Dean of the Faculty and Profess of English at Lake Forest College. He is the author or editor of more than 10 books, including the largely blank novel BLANK and the novel Drain, a cli-fi dystopia story from Northwestern University Press. He was the Director of Digital Chicago, an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and he is currently working on Humanities 2020, a $1.1m partner-based grant from the same foundation.

"Dis/Placements: A People’s History of Uptown Project," Gayatri Reddy and Anna Guevarra
-ABSTRACT: The northside neighborhood of Uptown is best known for its thriving arts district at the turn of the last century. Less well known is Uptown’s concentration of radical poor people’s movements, and unlike many segregated neighborhoods in Chicago, it’s deep histories of multiracial solidarity. Dis/Placements: A People’s History of Uptown narrates these lesser-known histories of Uptown, tracing the long arc of urban renewal efforts that sought to displace the poor and communities of color in this neighborhood, as well as the active movements of residents who opposed displacement at every turn, and instead, willfully created space for themselves in Uptown. Through active collaborations with community activists, residents, and students, this project traces what community historian, Paul Siegel, calls “submerged traditions” of resistance that reveal Uptown for the anomaly it was in segregated Chicago. Dis/Placements draws on oral history narratives, archival research, and ethnographic analyses, to visibilize these struggles using a range of digital tools – from radical history walking tours to three-dimensional timelines, short documentaries to GIS storymaps, artwork to virtual reality platforms. The goal is to document, curate and visualize the texture of resilient lives in Uptown over the course of the last century for a broad audience. Today’s presentation is a small snapshot into this world. We look forward to your comments and suggestions!
-BIO: Anna Guevarra is Founding Director and Associate Professor of Global Asian Studies Program at UIC. Gayatri Reddy is Associate Professor in Gender & Women’s Studies and Anthropology at UIC

"The Digital First Museum," John Russick
-ABSTRACT: The Chicago History Museum has adopted a new identity; the digital first museum. Our vision is actually "a new attitude, a mindset, a commitment to a digital approach that is experimental, agile, iterative, collaborative, and responsive in order to engage the most people possible in a meaningful exchange with the Museum, the city, and history." Transitioning the oldest cultural institution in the city (founded in 1856) to be digital first is no small task. The challenges the museum faces are significant, and the goals are ambitious. Nevertheless, CHM is on a journey to become a new kind of history museum, which has implications for the way we develop projects, foster new collaborations, support the humanities, market the museum, expand our audiences, fundraise, and invest in technology and professional development. No initiative is a better example of this new digital first thinking than the Chicago00 project.
-BIO: As Senior Vice President, John oversees the departments of Collections and Curatorial Affairs, Exhibitions, Education, Communications, and the Museum’s Research Center. Since arriving in 1998, he has led the development of a host of temporary and permanent exhibitions and digital experiences for the Museum. His latest digital initiative, the Chicago00 Project, is a collection of interactive, augmented and virtual reality experiences that showcase the Museum’s film, photo, and sound archive, winning a MUSE award in 2018 and a Chicago Innovation award in 2019.


"Teaching Digital Culture," Carly Kocurek
-ABSTRACT: In this interactive workshop, "Teaching Digital Culture," participants will learn about digital tools for facilitating rich, multimodal analysis of online communities and cultural practices. Topics covered include: instructor safety in an age of targeted harassment; encouraging and supporting creative approaches to scholarly communication and analysis among students; and how to make space for improvisation and creativity so that we, as instructors, can be responsive to students' needs and strengths. This workshop is designed to be accessible to instructors of various experience levels and assumes no specific technical knowledge.
-BIO: Carly A. Kocurek is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities and Media Studies and Director of Humanities Graduate Programs at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She is the author of two books, Coin-Operated Americans: Rebooting Boyhood at the Video Game Arcade (University of Minnesota Press, 2015) and Brenda Laurel: Pioneering Games for Girls (Bloomsbury, 2017), and a practicing game designer. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Game Studies, The Journal of Popular Culture, Technical Communication Quarterly, and The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, among others. Her recent projects include a special issue of Feminist Media Histories on video game history; currently, she is pursuing a comprehensive study of the games for girls movement, supported by funding from the National Science Foundation.


Moderator, Kishonna Gray
-BIO: Dr. Kishonna L. Gray is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois - Chicago. She is an interdisciplinary, intersectional, digital media scholar whose areas of research include identity, performance and online environments, embodied deviance, cultural production, video games, and Black Cyberfeminism. Dr. Gray is the author of Intersectional Tech: Black Users in Digital Gaming (LSU Press, 2020). She is also the author of Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live (Routledge, 2014), and the co-editor of two volumes on culture and gaming: Feminism in Play (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018) and Woke Gaming (University of Washington Press, 2018). Dr. Gray has published in a variety of outlets across disciplines and has also featured in public outlets such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The New York Times. Follow Dr. Gray on Twitter @KishonnaGray

"From Gamification to Experimental Games," Patrick Jagoda
-ABSTRACT: Gamification, a term that derives from behavioral economics and design culture, is the use of game mechanics in traditionally non-game activities. This buzzword emerged only in the twenty-first century, but the idea of game-based behavior modification already appears as early as the 1940s in writing on business, marketing, psychology, and warfare. The category informs contemporary discussions about “serious games” and “games for change.” This presentation draws from my own collaborative game design projects on video games, alternate reality games, and analog games in order to outline an alternative approach to experimental games and games as experiments.
-BIO: Patrick Jagoda is Professor of English and Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Chicago. He is Executive Editor of Critical Inquiry and director of the Weston Game Lab. He is also co-founder of the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab and Transmedia Story Lab. His books include Network Aesthetics (2016), The Game Worlds of Jason Rohrer (2016), and Experimental Games (2020). He has co-directed games, including the orientation game the parasite (2017), the IndieCade-selected climate change game Terrarium (2019), and the COVID-19 game A Labyrinth (2020). He is the recipient of a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship.

"Using Games and Interactive Media to Transform Medicine," Samantha Bond
-ABSTRACT: In my presentation, I’ll be discussing some of the development principles behind the creation of games and interactive visual tools to address health literacy, patient autonomy, and medical communication. I’ll include a number of case studies from my students in the Biomedical Visualization graduate program here at UIC that show examples of how interactive design and game-based learning can bridge gaps in communication and empower patients in their healthcare.
-BIO: Sam Bond is a Certified Medical Illustrator, award-winning medical app developer, and faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she teaches serious game development to budding medical illustrators in the Biomedical Visualization graduate program. Sam’s experiences allow her to integrate the richness of fun gameplay experiences with precise medical accuracy.

"Where Wikipedia meets Minecraft: Collaborative game design as transmediated public history," Judith Pintar
-ABSTRACT: My presentation looks at the benefits of using transmedia approaches in the classroom. I will talk about a course I developed at the U of I called "Mapping Inequalities: Programming the Illinois Map." This undergraduate course teaches the programming language Inform 7, a "natural language" programming language used to create text-based interactive games and other narratives. At the same time, students read about and conduct individual research on Illinois minority histories. They must choose a narrative angle on their event, place or person, and produce an interactive simulation of that history. The "Illinois Map" project is imagined as a Wikipedia-meets-Minecraft crowd-sourced public history website. Like Wikipedia, moments in Illinois History are narrated and referenced and updated based on crowdsourced labor. Like Minecraft, it is imagined as a game world sandbox which allows people to create, individually or collaboratively, narrative games or stories which make that history immersive and interactive. The course also addresses the potential of fostering programming literacy through the digital humanities -- teaching programming through storytelling rather than through algebra, which adds a cognitive load which can be a significant, and unnecessary, barrier for some students.
-BIO: Judith Pintar is a Teaching Associate Professor, and the Acting Director of the BS Program in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the director of the U of I Provost's Investment for Growth project, "Games at Illinois: Playful Design for Transformative Education," through which she is spearheading the development of a suite of "game studies and design" degree programs at the U of I. She is the Project Coordinator of the Training in Digital Methods for Humanists program, an initiative of the Humanities Research Institute (formerly the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities), and she pursues her research and teaching interests in the digital humanities through the Electronic Literatures & Literacies Lab, an initiative of Informatics Programs at the University of Illinois.

"Games as Works," David Dubin
-ABSTRACT: How are the essential properties of a work of authorship or design preserved over transmediation? U.S. copyright law offers a view of authorship based on distinctions between expression and method, and (like current bibliographic models) between expressive choices and conceptual content. These views pose explanatory challenges for what makes any work of art, design, or authorship the particular work that it is. How exactly, then, does a work maintain its identity across a translation to a different medium?
-BIO: Dave Dubin is a Teaching Associate Professor at the University of Illinois School of Information Sciences. His teaching and research concern foundations of representation and description, and issues of expression and encoding in documents and digital information resources.


“Humans in the Digital Supply Chain,” Moya Bailey
-ABSTRACT: Workers negotiate dangerous conditions that impair their health to produce the products that Western consumers enjoy; the fruits of workers debilitating labor is used by consumers to fight for their own rights in the ableist infrastructure of the West. What might be possible if the supply chain was no longer imagined as linear? How might a new set of relations between consumers and laborers engender advocacy that would force corporate entities to change their policies such that they are accountable to both groups? Using a Black Feminist Disability Framework, I examine the impact of technological production on the humans in the supply chain.
-BIO: Moya Bailey is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and the program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern University. Her work focuses on marginalized groups’ use of digital media to promote social justice as acts of self-affirmation and health promotion, and she is interested in how race, gender, and sexuality are represented in media and medicine. Bailey currently curates the #transformDH Tumblr initiative in Digital Humanities. She is also the digital alchemist for the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network. She was an MLK Visiting Scholar at MIT for the 2020–2021 academic year.

--DAY 2--


Moderator, Teresa Helena Moreno
-BIO: Teresa Helena Moreno is a faculty member in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she works with undergraduate engagement and as a library liaison to the Department of Black Studies. Trained in feminist methodology, critical race theory, and interdisciplinary practice, her scholarship, pedagogical praxis, and administrative work are rooted in these approaches. She is currently researching the ways the information sciences misunderstands the diaspora and how it works with diasporic content and its impact on the production of knowledge.

“Decolonizing Data: A Community-Based Approach to Making Race Visible In the Age of Colorblind Mass Incarceration," Carolyn Randolph-Kato
-ABSTRACT: From 2016-2018, members of the Champaign County Racial Justice Task Force partnered with researchers, students, and community stakeholders at the University of Illinois to develop a prototype of the Champaign County Racial Justice Data Portal.  This presentation introduces the work of making race visible or decolonizing data that emerged during this project life cycle.  Specifically, this talk highlights the four pillars undergirding our community-based approach to data: 1) listening to generate a shared understanding of “the problem”;  2) reclaiming raw data; 3) reframing research questions and methods for equity and social justice; and 4) representing racialized data for diverse audiences.  This discussion concludes with key observations about the challenges and future directions for community-based research surrounding black data lives and the carceral system.
-BIO: Dr. Carolyn Randolph-Kato is Visiting Associate Director of Arts Impact Assessment in the College of Fine + Applied Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Carolyn is responsible for program-wide strategic planning and implementation, overseeing all operations outside of research management. She joined the college after leading the Training in Digital Methods for Humanists program hosted by the Humanities Research Institute (formerly IPRH). Carolyn also is co-founder of the Champaign County Racial Justice Data Portal.
Dr. Randolph-Kato earned a dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Communication & Cultural Studies from Indiana University at Bloomington (IN). She holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Communications & Media Studies from the University of Illinois.

"History Moves," Jennifer Brier
-ABSTRACT: History Moves is a public history project that seeks engage community members in the process of collecting and curating history. It was born of a collaboration between History and Design. Our current project is a living women’s history of HIV/AIDS in the United States. We have collected almost 40 oral history interviews from women in Chicago, Brooklyn and Raleigh-Durham. In November, we will launch a digital exhibition featuring the women’s powerful narratives, in both their audio and typographic forms. I will preview the exhibition during the presentation and discuss our team’s work within the digital humanities.
-BIO: Jennifer Brier is professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and History at UIC. She specializes in US sexuality and gender history, and public history. Brier wrote Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Response to the AIDS Crisis (UNC, 2009). She has curated numerous historical exhibitions, including Out in Chicago, for the Chicago History Museum, “Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics and Culture,” a traveling exhibition for the National Library of Medicine, and “I’m Still Surviving,” a transmedia living women’s history of HIV/AIDS. She was named the 2018 UIC Distinguished Scholar of the Year and was a 2019-2020 University of Illinois Public Voices Fellow.

"Community-Based Participatory Approaches to Centering Marginalized Voices in our Engagement with Health Information," Christina Harrington
-BIO: Christina N. Harrington, PhD. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Design at DePaul University and currently directs the Equity and Health Innovations Design Research Lab which looks to understand equitable approaches to community-based participatory design. She was recently awarded a Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research grant to understand health information seeking among lower-income Black elders.


"Teaching with Digital Archives,” Elizabeth Hopwood
-ABSTRACT: This workshop is designed for those new to Digital Humanities and will walk participants through creating and customizing a digital archive assignment using Omeka. This will include:
*An overview of digital archives
*Determining assignment outcomes and timeframes
*Overview of Omeka as a classroom tool
*Introduction to basic building blocks of Omeka and metadata
*Examples of three different Omeka assignments used in anthropology, history, and literature classes
*(if time allows) Time for participants to develop their own assignments tailored to their classes
-BIO: Dr. Elizabeth Hopwood is the Acting Director of the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities at Loyola University Chicago, where she also directs the MA Program in Digital Humanities and lectures in the English department.


Moderator, Janet Swatscheno
-BIO: Janet Swatscheno is the Digital Publishing Librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago Library. Before joining UIC, she was the Digital Publishing Specialist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Library of Congress Junior Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center.

"Digitizing Archaeology, Visualizing Commodity Chains: Chicago’s Charnley-Persky House Archaeological Project," Rebecca Graff
-ABSTRACT: Archaeological excavations at the Charnley-Persky House (1892), designed by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, revealed a rich historic midden adjacent to the structure. We recovered almost 28,000 artifacts, and identified over 150 individual brands of foods, toiletries, dinnerware, and other consumer products. Mapping the sites of manufacture or point of sale are of these products in relation to their final place of deposit via web exhibits provides a glimpse into the consumer habits of the men, women, and children who lived on Chicago's Gold Coast at the turn of the 20th Century.
-BIO: Rebecca S. Graff is an associate professor of anthropology at Lake Forest College. A historical archaeologist with research interests in the 19th- and 20th-century urban United States, she explores the relationship between temporality and modernity, memory and material culture, tourism, and nostalgic consumption through archaeological and archival research. Her book, Disposing of Modernity: The Archaeology of Garbage and Consumerism During Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair (University Press of Florida, 2020) focuses on the changing world of urban America at the turn of the twentieth century.

"History Harvests, Memory Labs, and Humanities Trucks: A Survey of Community Digitization Projects," Devin Hunter
-ABSTRACT: This discussion presents an overview of digital humanities projects that create and collect materials in collaboration with local communities. After introducing three examples—each developed in different contexts—this emerging trend is described in a longer history of community co-creation of local history. In conclusion, a few thoughts are offered about the promise and peril of such initiatives, as well as some preliminary points about what the future might hold for them.
-BIO:  Devin Hunter is an assistant professor of history at the University of Illinois Springfield. He holds a PhD in US and Public History from Loyola University Chicago. His research interests include urban history, the history of commemoration, and community-centered public history. He is currently working on two major public history projects: “The Mythic Mississippi,” a cultural heritage development effort in central and southwestern Illinois (with Helaine Silverman from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and “The Humanities Innovating New Knowledge (THINK),” a collaboration with colleagues from Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois Chicago that facilitates community-created exhibits that connect local history to contemporary issues of racial and social equality. His book manuscript, Diversity Showcase: Politics and Culture in Uptown Chicago, 1950-1980, is currently under press review, with an anticipated 2022 publication.

"Cinema from Inside Out: Digital Film Studies," Rini Bhattacharya Mehta
-BIO: Rini Bhattacharya Mehta is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and of Religion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an affiliate of National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Mehta works on the evolution and synthesis of modernity; nationalism, religious revival, cinema and the post-global nation state. Her book on Indian Cinema, Unruly Cinema: History, Politics, and Bollywood is forthcoming from University of Illinois Press in June 2020. She has published two co-edited anthologies: Bollywood and Globalization: Indian Popular Cinema, Nation, and Diaspora (Anthem Press, 2010) and Indian Partition in Literature and Films: History, Politics, Aesthetics (Routledge, 2014). One of the recipients of University of Illinois’s first Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Impact of the Arts and the Humanities, she is currently leading a Digital Humanities Project on Global Film History.


"Children’s Literature as Public History: Bridging Divides Within and Beyond the Academy," Sara Schwebel
-ABSTRACT: Historical novels that figure prominently in the K-12 curriculum are both ubiquitous and beloved, making them an ideal resource for teaching students to read like a historian, thinking critically about how stories about the past are told, and to what purpose. This lecture showcases a collaborative project that brought undergraduate and MLIS students together with staff at the Channel Islands National Park to build a deeply researched web resource and digital archive on Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960), a novel that celebrates the strength, resourcefulness, and environmental stewardship of a nineteenth-century Indigenous Californian, but that also rehearses a Vanishing Indian trope.
-BIO: Sara L. Schwebel is the director of the Center for Children’s Books at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her books include Child-Sized History: Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms (Vanderbilt, 2011), Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader’s Edition (University of California Press, 2016), and Dust Off the Gold Medal: Rediscovering Children’s Literature at the Newbery Centennial (Routledge, 2022), co-edited with Jocelyn Van Tuyl. With the Channel Islands National Park and a fantastic group of students, she co-edited a NPS web resource on Island of the Blue Dolphins and a digital archive on the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island.