The Berkeley Digital Humanities Working Group (DHWG) is for more than just networking, we workshop student projects, provide hackspace opportunities, combine meetings with other working groups on campus, and run the annual DH Faire. This semester we meet every other Thursday from 11AM-12PM in the D-Lab Collaboratory 356 Barrows. We have a meeting this week on March 22nd, the DH Faire from April 2-9, and our end of the year gathering on April 26 remaining this semester. The schedule is participant driven, so it tends to change year by year depending on what people have going on. The group is currently coordinated by DH librarian Stacy Reardon from the University Library. Stacy is awesome and can help you find precious data, I mean a corpus to analyze. The soon to be Dr. Rebecca Levitan from the History of Art Department is another one of the group's coordinators. Rebecca is also an archeologist focusing on the ancient Mediterranean world and recently told us you could eat ancient honey (!) but you should probably let it be studied for its chemical and biological properties instead. Lastly, I, Janet Torres, am the third coordinator for the group. I am a doctoral candidate technically* in the department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. I enjoy trying to make transdisciplinary research more common and having academic conversations around cheese plates.

 This year the DHWG is focused on student projects. During the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters we workshopped projects at various stages of completion, from practicing conference presentations to bouncing around ideas for dissertation methods. Presented work spanned over nine countries, four languages, and six centuries. The project methods ranged from text analysis to network modeling to geospatial representation, on topics from the ivory trade in Scandinavia to higher education in California. The addition of Stacy Reardon to the coordination team has given presenters an excellent opportunity to get her expert feedback in a relaxed environment, with plenty of chocolate, fruit, and cheese to munch on. Having two students coordinating along with a librarian keeps the group centered on the needs of graduate students but with a door open to the many resources on campus. It also gives Rebecca and I time to work on small things like our dissertation work and commitments in other parts of campus. The mix of coordinators has also helped us stay true to our desire to keep the group multidisciplinary and open to the whole UC Berkeley community. With the D-Lab as our home, the IOKN2K (It’s Okay Not To Know) gospel is ever present, making discussion about hypothetical research ideas exciting rather than stressful, the chocolate and cheese help. Personally, I’ve been a member or coordinator for the group since 2015 and each semester I feel so thankful that I found a group full of hard working, intelligent, and really just lovely people on campus to talk shop with. If you are ever doubting your faith in humanity, hang out with some humanists you’ll perk right up, either from the over caffeination or the stimulating conversations.

 In fact, go to the fourth annual DH Faire, April 2-6. During DH Faire we celebrate the {broadly defined} digital humanities with the Berkeley community with lectures, panels, and a posters session. The groups pays to have student posters printed for free so the format is more accessible, it’s great if you want to test out a poster layout before a conference. You can register to present a poster here. (Pro-tip: the poster session will have free delicious food and drinks, vegan/vegetarian/omnivorous options, the keynote lecture will also have refreshments).

 

*I stole this emphasis from our group member Zach Bleemer, a fellow digital humanist who is technically in the Economics Department. Check out his project at http://uccliometric.org/

Author: 

Janet Torres

Janet is a PhD student in the department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning focusing on the mechanisms required to create resilient landscapes and adaptive societies. Their background is in urban & regional planning, hydrology, and international development. Their dissertation focuses on the planning and implementation roles of regions in the Republic of Cuba. This research integrates Geographic Information Systems (GIS), socio-economic analysis, and environmental science.