Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Data, Humanities, & Society Archived Symposium

On November 12, 2021, The University of Texas at Arlington hosted an online symposium, Data, Humanities, & Society. I was the lead organizer and emcee for this event where I explained why putting data in context is so important. This online symposium was sponsored in part by Humanities Texas—a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and one of fifty-six state and jurisdictional humanities councils in the U.S.

The brainchild of former UTA associate Dean Sonja Watson (now Dean of TCU college of Liberal Arts) who led the charge to apply for an external grant in the Fall of 2018, originally, this symposium was supposed to be an in-person workshop that introduced attendees to the digital humanities. After the onset of COVID, however, we decided to reconfigure the event and hold it online for safety precautions, but also to reach a larger audience of scholars and educators outside of Texas.

I guided the audience through an interactive discussion about how to use visualizations to interpret large bodies of data. The symposium also showcased projects by UTA students and faculty. To gain some practical experience, attendees had a chance to participate in an interactive training session and use Tableau Public to produce visualizations.

Texas A & M English Professor, Amy Earhart was the keynote speaker for this event where she offered practical tips for students and teachers looking to get started in DH. In her talk, she also addressed the idea that data is not neutral; so, those invested in data work should consider how even quantitative and qualitative data can contain inherit biases if not contextualized properly.

“Here,” I have provided a link to the archived video of the event that is separated into four parts: (1) What is data-driven research? (2) Data-driven research projects (3)Interactive demonstration with Tableau Public (4) symposium keynote featuring Amy Earhart.

Even though the event is now over, the archived video can serve as a gateway for those interested in DH and also underscores the importance of data driven research and data storytelling.

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