Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities & Media Studies Launches Website, Speaker Series

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies (DHMS) initiative of the Humanities Institute officially launched its new website last week. According to this website, “DHMS seeks to engage the UConn community in explorations and exchange about all aspects related to the digital humanities and media studies, particularly as they pertain to knowledge production in the humanities.” DHMS was founded in 2016 and began its work under the directorship of Anke Finger, professor of German Studies at the University of Connecticut (UConn).  In 2019 Yohei Igarashi, associate professor of English at UConn, became its new director. This initiative, which also offers a Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities and Media Studies, is a unique interdisciplinary resource at UConn as it brings together faculty and students already working in either or both fields of digital humanities and media studies.

DHMS has also launched a speaker series this year beginning with three invited guests. On October 2nd, UCHI played host to Annette Vee from University of Pittsburgh for a talked entitled Algorithmic Writers and Implications for Literacy, co-sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and the Neag School of Education’s Reading and Language Arts Center. DHMS is also co-sponsoring talks by Nancy Baym of Microsoft and Hal Roberts of The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society in the Winter and Spring of 2020, respectively, 

For more information or to subscribe to the DHMS mailing list, please contact Yohei Igarashi.

DHMS speakers poster

UCHI Co-Sponsors Annette Vee Lecture on Algorithmic Writers

Annette Vee headshotThe Digital Humanities & Media Studies initiative of the The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) will co-sponsor a lecture by Annette Vee, associate professor of English at University of Pittsburg, entitled “Algorithmic Writers and Implications for Literacy.” Her talk will take place on Wednesday, October 2 at 2 PM in the UCHI Conference Room (Babbidge Library, 4th Floor). Annette Vee is also the director of the Composition Program at Pitt, and is involved in various initiatives that connect the humanities, digital media, and computation. She is also the author of Coding Literacy: How Computer Programming Is Changing Writing (MIT Press, 2017). Other co-sponsors of this event are the Aetna Chair of Writing and the Neag School of Eductation’s Reading and Language Arts Center. Below you will find the abstract for Vee’s talk.


“Algorithmic Writers and Implications for Literacy”

Writing today is inextricable from computation: we write on and for computers. But computers are no longer just word processors or distributors of our writing. Algorithms, which enter our lives through computers and crowd our writing spaces, affect what we write, who reads it, and how. Algorithms read our emails in order to write our emails. They correct our grammar, they can summarize and simplify texts, and they choose what we read online. If you write on or with computers (and you do), your algorithmic coauthors influence what you write and how you write it. Algorithms are more active agents than pencils or coffeeshops—other materialities that affect our writing processes—and they have complex relationships to the humans who produce and use them. What is literacy when it’s learned, performed, and subjected to algorithmic writers? And how should literacy be taught in the context of ubiquitous algorithmic writing? In this talk, Annette Vee will describe contemporary scenes of algorithmic writing, place them in the history of literacy and computation, and present some implications and applications for literacy learning now.

President Herbst’s Legacy Heralds a Bright Future for UCHI

As the larger UConn community says farewell to President Susan Herbst, who served as its 15th president from 2011 to 2019, we at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) would like to add to the chorus of  well-wishers. President Herbst was an advocate for the humanities and arts on campus, which is exemplified by her initiative to establish the Susan Herbst and Douglas Hughes Family Scholarship in the Humanities, awarded annually to incoming undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who show academic achievement and financial need. UCHI was honored to be a part of Herbst’s commitment to building a stronger core of humanities scholarship and outreach at UConn. Evidence of this commitment can be seen in the remarkable grow and productivity of UCHI since 2011. Some of the key accomplishments of UCHI under the Herbst administration include:

The Humility and Conviction in Public Life initiative from 2015 to 2019, which was funded by UConn and a $6,000,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation. HCLP engaged in multiple research projects, educational opportunities, and regional outreach programs with the goal of promoting intellectual humility and investigating how humility promotes more constructive and meaningful public dialogues. HCPL also supported several residential fellowships and funded 22 cross-disciplinary projects at UConn and from around the world, all with the aim of exploring the meaning of public discourse and developing strategies to encourage better-informed public debates.

The New England Humanities Consortium, which was established in 2018 with the support of a $100,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, promotes collaborative research, intellectual exchange, and educational programing for faculty and students at 11 schools in New England. UCHI serves as the executive hub of NEHC, which along with sponsoring numerous cross-campus events, funding research, supporting the public humanities in the region, has supported  the Faculty of Color Working Group, an innovative group seeking to encourage and nurture diversity in New England.

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies initiative, which since 2016 has been bringing UConn faculty and students in the humanities and media studies together in a unique interdisciplinary environment. DHMS supports a plethora of projects, including research into the history of Hartford and Connecticut, and various online resources such as the African Film Database.

Increased funding for faculty and graduate research fellowships. Year-long residential fellowships provide scholars with the opportunity to pursue advanced work in the arts and humanities. Since 2011 generous funding from UConn has supported 40 dissertation fellowships for UConn graduate students, over 50 fellowships for UConn faculty from multiple departments and disciplines, and over 30 visiting fellowships for scholars from 26 different institutions from around the world.

During Herbst’s tenure, UCHI emerged as a leading hub of collaborative scholarship at the regional, national, and international stage. Dr. Herbst’s commitment to the humanities and UCHI’s success is echoed in incoming president Thomas Katsouleas’ belief in the importance of the humanities to addressing “societal grand challenges.” We join the greater UConn community to thank President Herbst and wish her the best as she returns to academia, and we look forward to the start of a new chapter at the Humanities Institute.


Photo Credit: Nasya Al-Saidy (Top) and Peter Morenus/UConn Photo (Bottom)

Building a 3D Human Rights Platform Witness Testimony and Spatial History in South Africa, talk by Dr. Angel Nieves

Associate  Professor of  Africana  Studies & Digital  Humanites,  Hamilton  College

April 28, 12:30-2pm

Humanities Institute, Austin 301

How do we map violence, resistance, and freedom across space and time? Dr. Angel David Nieves will discuss the considerations and challenges in the design and development of a digital platform for human rights and historical recovery work for use in communities not only in South Africa, but across the African Diaspora.

Supported by funding from the Department of History; Digital Media & Design Department, UCHI, and UConn Global Affairs



Remediating Flusser, a visualized introduction to the forthcoming multimodal e-book “ReMEDIAting Flusser, From the Print-Text to the Image-Flood.

The above serves as a visualized introduction to the forthcoming multimodal e-book “ReMEDIAting Flusser: From the Print-Text to the Image-Flood. A Digital Humanities Project.” Created with support from the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut.

Anke Finger is an Associate Professor of German at UConn and a core Faculty member of the The Public Discourse Project: Balancing Humility and Conviction in Public Life.