“Digitizing the Ephemeral: Reconstructing Museum Exhibitions Attended by Jane Austen”

Professor Janine Barchas, University of Texas





Wednesday, April 19, 2017

4:30 PM



Professor Barchas will take us through the making of a major digital humanities project, the digital gallery What Jane Saw, which offers a room-by-room reconstruction of two public art spectacles witnessed by Jane Austen.  The site allows a modern visitor to walk through the Shakespeare Gallery as it looked in 1796 or tour the Sir Joshua Reynolds retrospective held in 1813.  Professor Barchas will give a curator’s tour of both digital exhibitions and explain the method and research behind the gallery and its historical reconstructions.  She will also discuss her team’s current work with Virtual Reality.



Refreshments served

Visualizing Knowledge Exhbition & Competition

Visualizing Knowledge Exhibition |Spring 2017

In May, Wesleyan is holding its first student exhibition to showcase examples of visual knowledge and data visualization from across the campus. If part of your work in class, in your research or thesis–or anywhere–involves knowledge visualization, this is an opportunity for you to share what you do and see how other students in different disciplines use images to make and show knowledge.

How do we visualize the knowledge that we construct, especially from complex data and research? How have you turned your data or research into visual knowledge meant to convey information or conclusions to your audience? Submit your work and let’s all see.

The criteria for inclusion will be that the work be about conveying or establishing information in a mainly non-verbal form and needs to be original by the student or group of students. The work can have been used in your recent course work or research work. Work from all disciplines is welcome, whether from natural science, social science, the humanities or the arts.

Examples of data visualization include:

  • Data Visualizations
  • Infographics
  • Photographs, microscopy, or spectroscopy
  • Illustrations
  • GIS mapping
  • 2D image maps, digital renderings
  • Digital 3D visualizations, 3D printing, or sculpture
  • interactive displays or programs

The best submissions will be creative, innovative and facilitate a particular understanding of a topic through data synthesis, and will be judged by their success at conveying knowledge in elegant and productive visualizations.

Submissions may be digital or physical, but must be mobile and displayable in campus spaces. The visualizations will be printed for presentation as posters where appropriate but we will also facilitate other media for displaying dynamic or 3D visualizations as well.

There will be awards and prizes for some of the best submissions. Top prize will be $250.

If you are interested please complete this form–the form— by Thursday April 20 (earlier is better)  to receive exhibition details and information on available resources.  The deadline for submissions of artifacts is May 1, 2017.  Please also include a written description or summary of your submission no longer than three sentences.

Accepted works will be publicly displayed in Reading Week, when judging will occur, and again during Reunion and Commencement Weekend.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Digital and Computational Knowledge Initiative, the Digital Design Studio, and the College of Integrative Sciences.


“Novel Analytics from James Joyce to the Bestseller Code”

Professor Matthew L. Jockers, University of Nebraska

Thursday, March 2 4:30 PM

Russell House

Refreshments provided


In a New Yorker article in 2014, Joshua Rothman asks, provocatively and rhetorically: “If you’re an English professor, how should you spend your time: producing [close] ‘readings’ of the literary works that you care about (art), or looking for the [distant] patterns that shape whole literary forms or periods (science)?” Rothman’s parentheticals, “art” and “science,” make for a good editorial hook, but they frame a misleading and false dichotomy.  The emerging debate in literary studies pitting traditional scholarly practices of close reading against digitally oriented methods of “distant” reading is a nonstarter. What gets disguised as an argument over method (close vs. distant) and discipline (art vs. science) is, in fact, an argument about interpretation and the ways that literary scholars collect and prioritize evidence. In this talk Jockers proposes a methodological reconciliation that understands large scale computational approaches to literature as entirely consistent with traditional practices of close reading.

Data, Computing and Journalism

Andrew B. Tran

Monday 2/13, 4:30 PM, Allbritton  103
Snacks and refreshments will be available

Increasingly, journalists are turning to tools that were once solely the domain of data analysts and computer scientists to create compelling visualizations and enhance their storytelling. Newsrooms are using accessible technology to process big and open data to assist in investigations, keep citizens informed, and help make institutions accountable— and they’re often following the tenets of data science, like making their work transparent and reproducible. It’s important, now more than ever, that data not be hidden by government agencies from the public so that it instead might be used to illuminate the truth. Andrew B. Tran

Andrew,  currently a Koeppel Journalism Fellow at the Center for the Study of Public Life is the senior data editor of Trend ct (http://trendct.org/about/ a CT Mirror affiliate).  He was a founding producer of The Boston Globe’s Data Desk where he used a variety of methods to visualize or tell stories with data. He also was an online producer at The Virginian-Pilot and a staff writer at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He’s a Metpro Fellow, a Chips Quinn Scholar, and a graduate of the University of Texas.

Gender and Power Dynamics in Elite Discourse: Evidence from the U.S. Supreme Court



Assistant Professor of Political Science and Sociology
University of Iowa

Do men talk over women even in elite settings? Whether it is the corporate board room or the kitchen table, gender dynamics affect the way men and women talk to one another. One would hope women who hold public office do not face similar biases, but this study shows, even on the Supreme Court women are spoken too differently than men. Using R, Python and a high-performance computing cluster, we obtained the text and audio from over 500,000 utterances during oral arguments from 1982-2014.  Ultimately, we show male Justices and attorneys display verbal and non-verbal dominance towards female Justices.
This study is part of a larger research agenda that emphasizes the importance of elite non-verbal behavior, such as changes in vocal pitch. Unlike other time series, vocal pitch is incredibly stable at short intervals, meaning it can be extracted using a windowed autocorrelation function. While there are a number of other variables one can use, vocal pitch has been shown to be associated with dominance, even in institutional settings, making it particular useful for this application,  and one of the first to highlight “Panel effects” long noted by judicial scholars. We show vocal pitch is not only indicative of underlying gender dynamics, but it also influences voting behavior. With that said, there are a number of other ways audio can be used for research, ranging from speaker segmentation to supervised classification. Part of the presentation will lay an important foundation and provide some guidelines for those interested in using these techniques for future work.

“Fighting Poverty with Data: Research at the Intersection of Machine Learning and Development Economics” with Joshua Blumenstock ’03


Friday, April 15th at 12pm in Downey House 113.

In wealthy nations, novel sources of “big data” from the internet and social media are creating new opportunities for commercial profit, enabling new approaches to social science research, and inspiring new perspectives on public policy. In developing economies, however, fewer sources of robust data exist, and it remains unclear if and how the world’s poor will benefit from the ongoing “data revolution.” In this talk, I will discuss a series of studies that combine insights from machine learning with traditional methods in empirical economics to better understand economic development and vulnerability. The talk will focus on recent results from Afghanistan, Ghana, and Rwanda, which show how terabyte-scale data from mobile phone networks can be combined with field-based experiments and on-the-ground interviews to construct accurate estimates of the distribution of poverty and wealth. In resource-constrained environments where censuses and household surveys are rare, this creates options for gathering localized and timely information at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.

Joshua Blumenstock graduated from Wesleyan University in 2003 with Degrees in Computer Science and Physics. After Wesleyan, he did a Watson Fellowship, spent a few years in internet startups, and then went back to grad school at U.C. Berkeley, where he received a Ph.D. in Information Science and a M.A. in Economics. Currently, Joshua is an Assistant Professor the University of Washington, with faculty appointments in the Information School and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He is also the founder and co-Director of the Data Science and Analytics Lab, where he develops new methods for the analysis of large-scale behavioral data, with a focus on how such data can be used to better understand poverty and economic development. Recent projects combine field experiments with terabyte-scale spatiotemporal network data to model decision-making in poor and conflict-affected regions of the world. He is a recipient of the Intel Faculty Early Career Honor, a Gates Millenium Grand Challenge award, a Google Faculty Research Award.

This event is sponsored by DaCKI

“Signaling not Persuasion: the Surprising Power of the Presidential Bully Pulpit” with Justin Grimmer, Stanford

Thursday, March 24th at 4:30pm in Russell House

Why do Presidents “go public”?  We use novel natural experiments, social media data, and extensive news analysis to show that Presidents have little direct effect on public opinion when they appeal to the public.  Rather, we argue, Presidents go public to signal to Congress that an issue is particularly important to them.

Justin Grimmer is Associate Professor of Political Science at Stanford University.

This event is sponsored by DaCKI.

DaCKI Manhattans and Martinis


Tuesday, December 15th at 4:15 in Allbritton 311

Classes will be but a memory, a bit of grit for your pearls of winter productivity. There will be nice snacks and cocktails of course, rye and gin, maraschino and lemon where they’re meant to be.

We’ll be there to hear about (and see) some of the diverse ways that we analyse, question, and shape images in our research. Come with your ideas about methods and experiences from your own work and we can share some of what we do across the campus. Teaching ourselves and our students how to analyze images and to analyze them differently is increasingly important.

To get our thoughts going, we’ll hear briefly from Nadja Aksamija (Art History), Christopher Chenier (Digital Design Studio), Steve Devoto (Biology), Justin Marks (Math), and Greg Voth (Physics).

Matthew Daniels: “Depiction, even over Description: How Data Journalism is Changing the Art of Storytelling”

At 4:30 on Wednesday November 4th, in 41 Wyllys, Room 112
In cooperation with the Allbritton Center, the Digital and Computational Knowledge Initiative (DACKI) is pleased to be bringing Matt Daniels to Wesleyan next week to give a talk Wednesday and then to meet with students in classes and small groups on Thursday.
He is a media artist and designer, fascinated with the possibilities of data-driven narrative. For Daniels, this has often meant analysing and illustrating the content and popularity of music, its lyrics, and its locations. He has produced infographics keyed to such things as the size of rappers’ vocabularies and the timelessness of some music based on Spotify data. He publishes an online magazine called Polygraph.