Graduate Student Caucus

As part of our Cultural Analytics conference, we have invited 9 graduate students (5 from external institutions and 4 from the University of Chicago) to participate in each day’s discussion.  Further, at the end of the conference, they will present a report/response to the conference’s papers, which will then elicit a response from the speakers and other conference participants.  We see the training and engagement with graduate students as vital to the development and expansion of the digital humanities and “cultural analytics,” in particular.

Hannah Alpert-Abrams is a PhD student in the program in comparative literature at UT Austin. Her work focuses on the contemporary repurposing of texts and narratives from early colonial and pre-colonial Mexico in literary, archival, and digital contexts. She is the digital scholarship Graduate Research Assistant at the LLILAS Benson Latin American Collection, where she works primarily with the Primeros Libros digital facsimile collection of early Mexican printed books.

Drayton Benner is an advanced PhD candidate in Northwest Semitic Philology in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department under Dennis Pardee, and he is presently on the academic job market. In addition to his graduate work on the Hebrew Bible, Northwest Semitics, and the ancient Near East, he has formal education and extensive industry experience in computer science and mathematics. He tries to unite his disparate interests as often as possible, both in his research and in his role as founder and president of Miklal Software Solutions. He has presented and published in venues devoted to the study of the Hebrew Bible, digital humanities, and computer science.

Merve Emre will receive her PhD in English from Yale University in May. Her articles have appeared or are forthcoming in American Literature, American Literary History, ELH, and Modern Drama. She is the managing editor of Post45 and co-editor of the “No Crisis” series at the Los Angeles Review of Books. In 2015-2016, she will be a visiting fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lauren Jackson is PhD student in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, with interests in cultural dialect, linguistics, and large-scale methods for tracking the spread of group-specific language to common vernacular in nineteenth and twentieth century US fiction.

Collin Jennings is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at New York University. In his dissertation, he examines literary and historiographical genres in which writers experimented with the language and figures of succession so as to exhibit new forms of ordering in response to constitutional crises in Enlightenment Britain. His work on the Networked Corpus digital platform has appeared in Literary and Linguistic Computing and is set to appear in ELH. In both of these projects, he explores how the affordances of new media have inflected our methods of attending to the past.

Sarah Kunjummen is in her third year of graduate work in English at the University of Chicago. She works primarily on sixteenth and seventeenth century literature, and is interested in Early Modern religious cultures, utopianism, letters and letter-writing manuals, and the eighteenth-century culture of sensibility; her introduction to digital humanities techniques came through a class on network analysis with Hoyt Long and Richard So. She and her colleague Jonathan Schroeder are currently planning a series of university-sponsored macroanalysis workshops aimed at graduate students in the humanities for the 2015-2016 school year.

Laura McGrath is a doctoral candidate in English Literature at Michigan State University, where she also serves as the Lead Graduate Researcher and Project Manager of the Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition Lab. Laura studies American modernism and media theory; her dissertation, “Re-Making Modernism,” considers modernism as a vehicle for cultural distinction in the contemporary literary market. Her essay, “Only A Book,” on theories media change and Mark Z. Danielewski’s _House of Leaves_ is forthcoming in _Symbolism_. With a team of colleagues, she has developed “Digital Flânerie,” a literary GIS of 20th-century American expatriate literature, set in Paris.

Evan Nicoll-Johnson is a PhD candidate in the Asian Languages and Cultures department at UCLA. He is studying early medieval Chinese literature, historiography, and the history of the book in the manuscript era. Currently, he is working on a dissertation that discusses the relationship among medieval scholarly methods, theories of genre, and the circulation of knowledge in texts. This project uses topic modeling and citation analysis to identify and illustrate thematic and citational relationships throughout a large corpus of historiographic and literary works.

Jordan Sellers is a PhD Candidate in English Literature at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His dissertation traces the emergence of local historic preservation in Great Britain during the nineteenth century. His latest work in collection development tracks registers of literary prestige in fiction and poetry: from poems reviewed in elite periodicals to the bestselling novels and “pulp” magazines of the early twentieth century.