University of Oregon

Why DH? Why DH Now?

The Digital Humanities Speaker Series 2017-18

poster for The Digital Humanities Speaker Series 2017-18

co-sponsored by the University of Oregon Libraries, the College of Arts and Sciences, Barbara and Carlise Moore Funds


“Low-Budget Electronic Archiving for Student and Community Engagement”

Siobhan Senier, Professor of English and Program Coordinator & Core Faculty in Women’s Studies, University of New Hampshire

Thursday, October 26, 3:30-5 P.M., Knight Library Browsing Room

This talk will showcase, a collaborative digital collection that engages Native American Studies, Environmental Humanities, and public history, with an emphasis on “low-budget” DH tools and projects. There is no doubt that DH can require great investments of time, money, and infrastructure; but it is also possible to pursue DH projects in the classroom and in collaboration with communities in ways that involve students and citizens genuinely in the co-production and dissemination of knowledge. DH remains, at least for this moment, one powerful arena for doing “history from below.”


“A Pre-History of Fake News: Virality, Authority, and Nineteenth-Century Newspapers”

Ryan Cordell, Assistant Professor of English, Northeastern University & Core founding faculty member in the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks

Thursday, November 9: 3:30-5 P.M., Knight Library Browsing Room

While "fake news" might seem born of Twitter and Facebook, the viral circulation of sensationalistic, bias-confirming stories is a much older phenomenon. In this talk Ryan Cordell will draw on the Viral Texts Project at Northeastern University to trace a pre-history of fake news in the popular science, anecdotes, trivia, and vignettes "going the rounds" of the nineteenth-century newspaper exchange system. Then as now, the circulation of fake news was driven in part by the affinities and biases of readers and in part by the technical affordances of the newspaper platform. Understanding fake news in any time period requires an understanding of both. As such, Cordell weaves into his talk a series of reflections on how experimental, experiential work in the humanities might aid humanities students and researchers in grappling with the social, technical, and political underpinnings of contemporary computational culture, virality, and fake news.


Gephi Workshop

Ryan Cordell, Assistant Professor of English, Northeastern University & Core founding faculty member in the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks

Friday, November 10, 10:00 A.M. - Noon, Knight Library 117

Professor Ryan Cordell will give a workshop on using Gephi, one of the leading visualization and exploration tools used by DH scholars.  Gephi is useful for creating graphs and network visualizations.  It’s open-source and free, and runs on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. The workshop will be open to the public, with RSVP (to be posted prior to the workshop).


"Chinese Railroad Workers in North America: A Collaborative Project"

Shelley Fisher Fishkin and Gordon H. Chang, Stanford University (joint talk)
Thursday, February 15, 2018, 3:30-5 P.M., Knight Library Browsing Room

"Seeing Absence, Listening to Silence: The Challenge of Reconstructing Chinese Railroad Workers' Lives”

Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Professor of English at Stanford University and Joseph S. Atha Professor in the Humanities

How do we reconstruct the lived experience of individuals who left no written records themselves? How do we fill in the broad gaps in the historical record when all we have are fragments?  This talk will give an overview of the multifaceted approaches to these questions that the transnational, multidisciplinary Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford is exploring to understand the lives of the 12,000 to 15,000 Chinese workers who built the first Transcontinental Railroad. These approaches include researching railroad archives, 19th-century newspapers, periodicals, photographs, and travelogues; employing historical archaeology; collecting oral history; and examining imaginative responses from the 20th and 21st centuries.

“History Without Documents: Multidisciplinarity and Digital Possibilities in Recovering the History of Chinese Railroad Workers in 19th-Century America”

Gordon H. Chang, Professor of American History and Olive H. Palmer Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University 

The complete absence of documents from the historical subjects makes the recovery of lived experience especially challenging.  Using approaches, materials, and methodologies beyond what is traditionally used offers new possibilities for historical study.

This event is free and open to the public. Accommodations for people with disabilities will be provided if requested in advance by calling 541-346-3056, or email

University of Oregon Libraries
1501 Kincaid Street Eugene, OR
T: (541) 346-3053
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