Faculty & Staff Seminars

Critical Making Across the Divisions: A Tri-Co DH Seminar (Spring 2015)

What does “making”—whether DIY initiatives, Twitterbots and prototypes, arts fabrication and 3D printing, film and digital media, even lab experimentation—do for and to our scholarship and teaching? How do our materials and media frame us as scholars and teachers?

What is Critical Making?

This seminar considers the role of critical making (digital and otherwise) across the divisions, exploring the political, aesthetic, social, and cultural dimensions of our work. If critical making, as Roger Whitson (2014) writes, “gives us a material understanding of technological ideology,” how might a cross-disciplinary approach to our materials and modes of making broaden the stakes of our individual projects and methodologies?

From data mining to 3D printing; from sculpture and multimedia creativity to scientific and mathematical modeling; from digital adaptations of material texts and objects to gaming and virtual building—this seminar focuses on recent theories and practices that integrate active construction, creation, building and doing.  We will also explore modes of action, collaboration, emergent group dynamics and the creativity engendered by radical experiments in social organization.

The group will meet in six sessions over the spring semester to read and discuss; and experiment with technologies of critical making and construction. In addition, participants will join a session with possible visitors from Google X Innovation Lab; a visit to Philadelphia NextFab; and a workshop with scholars from Toronto’s Critical Maker Lab or Harvard’s metaLAB.

Find more information here or contact Laura McGrane (lmcgrane@haverford.edu).


The Art of Topic Modeling for Total Beginners: A Tri-Co DH Seminar in Critical Digital Studies (Spring 2015 – Fall 2015)

What is topic modeling?

Topic modeling lets you use ready-made probabilistic algorithms to quickly survey large sets of documents without having to read them all yourself. It can be a useful tool for creating a general impression of a large corpus as a prelude to further research and interpretive work. It can also help answer some specific questions about a large corpus.

This five-meeting workshop and seminar series

1) introduces the concept and teaches the practice of topic modeling and
2) opens a robust, critical, practice-based conversation about the possibilities, limits, and dangers of topic modeling – and of machine learning and computer-assisted humanities methods more broadly.

Participants will attend three meetings in Spring 2015 and two in Fall 2015, including two sessions taught by Dave Mimno ‘99 (assistant professor, Information Science, Cornell University).

Find more information here or contact Rachel Sagner Buurma (rbuurma1@swarthmore.edu).


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