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Global & Local Approaches to the Digital Humanities: Languages, Cultures, Communities


On April 29th, William & Mary's Confucius Institute will host a lecture presented by Professor Jeffrey R. Tharsen, Computational Scientist for the Digital Humanities and Lecturer in the Digital Studies Program at the University of Chicago, on the evolution of digital humanities in Chinese studies.

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WMCI is proud to host {{,Professor Jeffrey R. Tharsen}}, a distinguished figure in the academic fields of both East Asian studies and computational science, for a virtual lecture on the future of digital humanities on Thursday, April 29th at 5 pm EST.

In the words of Professor Tharsen, our world is increasingly interconnected and one of the most dynamic avenues of research in recent decades has been the application of computational and digital methods to humanistic inquiry.  This new research has focused on everything from worldwide cultural trends and global language communities down to the works of an individual artist or a local archive, as the study of the “digital humanities” has slowly transformed from a loose collection of targeted methods into an umbrella term comprising all digitally- or computationally-informed approaches to humanities data science, for any sources, at any scale, and in any medium.

This presentation frames the discipline of the digital humanities as a global enterprise, showing how similar technologies can be applied to ancient Chinese philology, or Middle English literature, or cutting-edge frameworks (e.g. neural network-based models built on a high-performance computing cluster) designed to identify emerging cultural trends.  Taking the perspective of the longue durée, we will see how these new methods offered by the digital humanities help us gain a deeper understanding of our shared past, and our shared future.

Jeffrey Tharsen holds dual appointments as Computational Scientist for the Digital Humanities and as Lecturer in the Digital Studies Program at the University of Chicago, serving as university-wide technical domain expert for digital and computational approaches to humanistic inquiry. He received his doctorate in 2015 from the University of Chicago's East Asian Languages & Civilizations department, specializing in the fields of premodern Chinese philology, phonology, poetics and paleography. In his work, Jeffrey advises researchers and leads teams creating new resources, platforms and methods for humanistic research, designs curricula and teaches courses and workshops on data science, computational linguistics and natural language processing, serves on thesis committees and mentors students interested in developing new digital and computational research methods, and regularly presents his work at national and international conferences and symposia. During his graduate studies, Jeffrey received a Fulbright award for his Digital Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese, a new type of software suite which facilitates large-scale analyses of early Chinese phonetic patterning and phonorhetoric; his first monograph, Chinese Euphonics, is to be published as part of the DeGruyter Worlds of East Asia series in 2022.