2019-2020

Graduate Colloquium Schedule

March 17, 2020 | 12:00-1:00 

(Not) “About Me”: Observing, Choosing, and Charting Demographic Data in the Food Blogosphere 

Emily Van Haren (PhD Candidate, English & Cultural Studies) 

This presentation reflects upon the demographic categories—including ‘gender,’ ‘age,’ ‘sexuality’ and ‘race/ethnicity’—that support my research into the diversity of an annual “Food Blog Awards” campaign. As examples of the column headings that organize my tabular data, these demographic categories help me to map the diversity of online food work; however, they also risk reducing that work to a narrow, researcher-defined representativeness. Exploring this ongoing problem and its implications for my research, I discuss the challenges and possibilities of using blog(ger)-supplied data—as found in the “About Me” pages of many food blogs—to orient my methodological decision-making around transparency, flexibility, and incompleteness. 

The Internet effect on written Arabic in Israel: Collecting loanwords and creating a spreadsheet for future work 

Rudaina Hamed (PhD Student, Department of Linguistics and Languages) 

A series of 20 slides represents the effect of 72 years of intensive contact between Hebrew and Arabic in the state of Israel. Websites created by Arabic speakers use language without editing, which results in texts that mix the L1 (Arabic) and L2 (Hebrew). Over many years, this linguistic phenomenon has increased, and website writers write words freely from the L2 in the L1 script. I have been collecting hundreds of loan words from these websites, which will be archived. This archive will then become a resource for researchers. It is unknown how the language will develop online over the next decade; however, it is clear that loan words used by these sites are affecting written Arabic. 

How can the Digital Humanities be used to study global disease outbreaks?

Katherine Eaton (PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology) 

As momentum for accessible and reproducible research increasingly drives more data online, new challenges emerge. In disease outbreak monitoring, DNA sequencing of patients has become an extraordinarily cost effective method, resulting in the rapid accumulation of large publicly available datasets. The human nature of this data, as being derived from human bodies, and synthesized by humans, raises ethical concerns about responsible reuse. Furthermore, the digital nature of this data, and the heterogeneity of the contextual online information, presents many barriers. This talk explores research niches that have opened in the STEM fields, and how the digital humanities are uniquely positioned to provide methodological and theoretical advancement.

March 31, 2020 | 12:00-1:00 

Sorting Early Modern Devotion: A question of categories raised by computer-assisted textual analysis of Edward Wettenhall’s Enter into thy Closet (1666) 

Jantina Ellens (PhD Candidate, English & Cultural Studies) 

Computer-assisted textual criticism relies on packages like tidyverse and tokenizers to clean and sort data. It demonstrates a prioritization of coherent and user-friendly outputs. A surprisingly similar motivation drives early modern devotionals to organize and categorize devotion. Edward Wettenhall’s popular Enter into Thy Closet(1666) arranges his instructions according to headings and subheadings to ensure the maximum efficiency of his method. My talk draws together studies of “conscientious sameness” in early modern devotion, cognitive theories of linguistic categorization, and the practical necessity of accurate sorting in digital humanities to explore the implications of sorting in the context of Wettenhall’s text. 

Are you online??  Presenting: The Internet Blackout Tracker (IBT)  Tracking Internet Blackouts Worldwide 

Helen Beny (PhD Student, Political Science) 

Digital authoritarianism is on the rise! Government leaders are shutting down the Internet in order to maintain control of information flows. While the reasons for an Internet Blackout (IB) differ based on the context, the intention is to stop all forms of communication. In attempts to study this form of repression, I have worked to develop a beta Internet Blackout Tracker (IBT) that accounts for IB’s worldwide through an interactive data visualization. The goal of this project is to present this growing phenomenon in an accessible format for a wide audience. 

Health Vulnerability to Extreme Heat Events in Hamilton 

Joann Varickanickal (MA Student, Geography & Earth Sciences) 

Climate change is expected to impact Canada through anincrease in the number and extent of extreme heat events (EHEs) (Paterson et al., 2012). This is concerning, as high temperatures can cause negative health impacts (Watts et al., 2015). Health vulnerability among immigrants is important to consider as Canada welcomes many immigrants every year (Hankivsky, 2014). This talk will explore the initial findings and next steps of my Masters research. The general impacts of EHEs on hospital admissions in Hamilton will be shared. There will also be a focused discussion to explore health vulnerability during EHEs among immigrants in Hamilton.