Humanist Data Lab

I think generally in pop culture, we don’t tend to think of people who do humanities work as very technical people who would
engage with computers, but actually they’re all sorts of people in English
philosophy history art history, who are working with computers, starting even as early as the nineteen forties. The Humanist Data Lab is a place for scholars and for students to come together and work on research, together. There’s nothing like, you know,
trying to solve a tricky technical problem, or Humanity’s problem, all by yourself, it
can be kinda lonely. Here, you can roll your chair back, and you know ask others for help, or build on other people’s expertise. The data lab brings together different
humaneness, and people of different skills, working in different fields, and by
bringing them all together we’re able to communicate and share our knowledge. We’ve got all sorts of research going on in the lab. We’ve got one project that’s a chronology of the gay liberation movement in Canada, so we’re putting on
maps, and timelines so that we can see new patterns, things that would otherwise be very hard for us to get from a text. We’ve got folks working on a
digital edition of a 16th century manuscript. Careshier is a researcher here too, and she’s working on a sound archive of 1960s poetry. We’ve
also got lots of great graduate students, associated with the lab. Through their work we’re thinking
about things like scraping feminist blogs to look for patterns in feminist discourse, or developing games for Indigenous language acquisition, for example. Digital
humanities research is really just a branch of the humanities, and the
superpower of humanities, is really being able to understand the past and to
really understand how we got to where we are now, because unless you’re really informed, it’s hard to imagine a future that’s different from this present. And
definitely, you know, digital humanist are like other humanists, you know, interested in things like the
history of the book, the textual medium, or sort of saying, hey you know we’ve gotten really good at understanding the history of the book and how book mechanics work, let’s also extend our work so that we understand how computers work and those other sort of ways that we shared text and knowledge with each other. Certainly one of the long-term goals for the lab is really just to continue to work
together and to support all of the good digital-based work that happens at the
University. The lab is a FCCS-based laboratory and SCCS is certainly an
exciting place to work because we’ve got all sorts of digital work and scholarly
collaborations coming out of the faculty.

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