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Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series Symposium

Fri May 31st 2024, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Wallenberg Hall, Room 433A

A day of papers and conversations to finalize the year-long Mellon-funded seminar series, "Data That Divides Us".

May 31st, Friday

Wallenberg Hall, Room 433A

9-10:30 am – Session 1: Data and Disciplinary Divides

Zephyr Frank (Gildred Professor of Latin American Studies, and Professor at Doerr School of Sustainability)

Marit MacArthur (Lecturer in and Associate Director of University Writing Program, University of California, Davis)

Teddy Roland (PhD Candidate in English at the University of California, Santa Barbara)

Chloé Brault (PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature, and Mellon-Sawyer Dissertation Fellow)

10:45 am-12:15 pm – Session 2: 19th-Century Data Legacies

Mark Algee-Hewitt (Associate Professor of English and Digital Humanities)

Nicole Coleman (Digital Research Architect, Libraries, and DH Fellows Program Director)

Bridget Algee-Hewitt (Senior Associate Director of the Research Institute, Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity)

Merve Tekgürler (PhD Candidate in History, MS Student in Symbolic Systems, and Senior DH Research Fellow)

1:30-3 pm - Session 3: Pre Modern Data and Computation

Elaine Treharne (Roberta Bowman Denning Professor in Humanities, and Senior Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education)

James Macksoud (PhD Candidate in Classics)

Catrin Haberfield (PhD Candidate in English)

JJ Lugardo (PhD Candidate in Classics)

3:15-4:30 pm – Session 4: Absent Data

Grant Parker (Associate Professor of Classics and African and African American Studies)

Nichole Nomura (CESTA Mellon-Sawyer Postdoctoral Fellow)

Matt Warner (PhD Candidate in English, and Mellon-Sawyer Dissertation Fellow)

Carmen Thong (PhD Candidate in English, and MA Student in Public Policy)

4:35-5:15 pm – General Response and Conversation

Giovanna Ceserani (Associate Professor of Classics and Faculty Director of CESTA)

Laura Stokes (Associate Professor of History)

5:30 – 6:15 pm - Reception


Session 1: Data and Disciplinary Divides: How does data differ across disciplines? In the humanities and, to some degree, in the social sciences, we often see data as an external methodology that we bring to our studies, as opposed to anecdotal or archival knowledge. How has the introduction of data transformed different disciplines? How does transdisciplinarity look for data methods in the humanities? Is inter- or trans-disciplinarity an appropriate framework for the kind of work we want to do?

Session 2: 19th-Century Data Legacies: The 19th century is frequently discussed as the century of statistics and the origins of quantification at scale. How do 19th-century sources, structures and uses of data shape our understanding still? What biases of this age of imperialism, colonialism and industrialization still pervade the collection or use of data? Can data be used by the humanities to overcome such legacies?

Session 3: Pre Modern Data and Computation: What are the stakes in working with pre modern data? Is it even meaningful to talk about data in a pre-modern context? What divides exist–disciplinary, chronological or medium related–and how might humanistic methods approach these?

Session 4: Absent Data: Is data ever complete? If gaps are inherent to any database, how do the humanities approach these, implicitly or explicitly? How do humanities practitioners deal with missing data and uncertainty and can our strategies of working with other kinds of information aid us in reconstructing or obviating the inevitable gaps in our data?


Chloé Brault; Matt Warner; Nichole Nomura; Giovanna Ceserani; Mark Algee-Hewitt; Grant Parker; Laura Stokes; Bridget Algee-Hewitt; Nicole Coleman; Zephyr Frank; JJ Lugardo; Marit MacArthur; James Macksoud; Merve Tekgürler; Carmen Thong; Elaine Treharne; Teddy Roland; Alice Staveley; Catrin Haberfield