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Saturday, February 29 • 1:00pm - 2:15pm
Building Communities of Practice: A Liberal Arts College Approach

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Chair: Mary Mahoney

Lyndsay Bratton, Christopher Steiner, Benjamin Beranek, and Danielle Egan, "Supporting Experimental Research in the Liberal Arts: The Digital Scholarship Fellows Program at Connecticut College"
One of the strengths of small liberal arts colleges is the potential for rich faculty-student research at the undergraduate level. Digital scholarship affords LACs significant opportunities to leverage these collaborations, developing students’ research and technology skill sets through experiential learning, and reaching new and broader audiences through online publishing.

Our joint program between the Library and the Office of the Dean of Faculty, currently in its second year, is rapidly building a community of practice in digital scholarship at Connecticut College. The program brings three faculty members together with staff from across the library’s departments, providing project funding, technical support and training, faculty stipends, and community. The program supports projects that promote faculty-student collaboration across the lifecycle of a digital research project through course assignments, independent studies, and summer research assistantships.

The second cohort’s projects span a range of topics across the humanities and social sciences from a digital archive of a hidden outsider art collection, “The Nut Museum,” to a behavioral economics mapping and data visualization project on within-society variation in social preferences, which has been thoughtfully integrated into a first-year seminar. Through discovering the affordances of digital scholarship together, these faculty are experimenting with new pathways for developing and sharing their research, as well as exciting ways to bring the diverse aspects of their research interests together in multidisciplinary projects. In this panel, the three faculty fellows and the director leading the program will present strategies for building an inclusive community of digital scholarship and pedagogy through campus partnerships and collaboration across the merged library organization. We will also discuss our developing workflows for bringing projects to fruition in a relatively resource-limited environment, while maintaining ethical standards for faculty-student research and building knowledge to empower faculty to move forward with their projects beyond the limits of the program.

Rama Co, Sofia Sperber, and Philippe Bungabong, 
"Politics by Other Magazines: The General-Interest Periodical in the Early Philippine Commonwealth” and “Chinatown Opera Houses at the Turn of the Century"
In 2018, Wesleyan University Library and Information Technology Services launched the Digital Scholarship Fellows Program, a fellowship program that offers a small cohort of students multifaceted skills-development opportunities for pursuing research in the digital humanities. The inaugural cohort is composed of Rama Co, a College of Letters (Great Books Program) and Philosophy major; Sofia Sperber, a Sociology and Environmental Studies major; and Philippe Bungabong, an Economics and Mathematics major. Despite concentrating in different fields, the inaugural Digital Scholarship Fellows are collaborating on two DH projects that combine the disciplines of history, art, politics, and economics.

Their first project, entitled “Politics by Other Magazines: The General-Interest Periodical in the Early Philippine Commonwealth”, examines the issues of Philippine Magazine, an English-language, general-interest periodical from the early Philippine Commonwealth (1934-1936), which served as the premier outlet for the publication of Filipino political and literary works during the Philippines’ period of transitional independence from American rule. The project aims to compare the political and non-political content within Philippine Magazine in order to identify potential cross-pollination between these modes of discourse.

The second project, entitled “Chinatown Opera Houses at the Turn of the Century,” looks at the rise and decline of Chinese theaters in the United States at the turn of the last century, and catalogue archival photographs, playbills, advertisements and sound recordings of the largely forgotten art. This project aims to provide a centralized digital archive for Chinese opera and its role in Chinese immigrants’ lives, especially with regards to building community and culture around the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

Optical character recognition, topic modeling, text mining, and GIS story-mapping are the primary techniques of data analysis in these projects. Ultimately, the Digital Scholarship Fellows hope to utilize modern technology in uncovering and understanding the complexities of the humanities.


Lyndsay Bratton

Connecticut College

Christopher Steiner

Connecticut College

Benjamin Beranek

Connecticut College

Danielle Egan

Connecticut College

Sofia Sperber

Wesleyan University

Rama Co

Wesleyan University

Philippe Bungabong

Wesleyan University

Saturday February 29, 2020 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
1823 Room

Attendees (7)