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CHI Grad Fellow Post



September 30, 2018


September 30, 2018 | By | No Comments

I’m Shewonda Leger. I am a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, with a specialization in women’s and gender studies. I take my responsibilities as a scholar seriously, because there are very few Haitian American women like myself in academic spaces. Therefore, my research makes space for conversations about diasporic Haitian women’s embodied learning practices and lived experiences in both academic and nonacademic spaces.

I am invested in finding modes of creating and circulating knowledge for communities that have always been othered or silenced. I continue to find the best ways of incorporating digital technologies and multimodal practices in my teaching, because traditional standards of teaching have privileged text-based forms of writing.

I love making films. I love watching films. I love telling stories. I love listening to stories.



September 27, 2018

There and Back Again: A CHI fellows tale-Taylor Panczak

September 27, 2018 | By | No Comments

Hi my name is Taylor Panczak and I am a 1st year graduate student at MSU. I have recently transferred into the anthropology program from Northern Illinois University where I completed my first year of graduate studies. I am an archaeologist with a specific focus on lithic technology and the construction of digital representations of  archaeological artifacts. For my masters thesis, I am currently working on creating a projectile point typology from the Terminal Pleistocene highland site of Cuncaicha rockshelter located in the southern Andes of Peru. I am also exploring the nature of inter-zonal connections between the highlands and the coast of Peru by comparing projectile points of similar morphology. I am working with Dr. Kurt Rademaker throughout this project and plan on perusing my PhD soon after I have completed my M.A at MSU.

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the spring of 2017 with a B.S. in Anthropology. During my undergrad, I had the opportunity to travel to Ukraine twice to participate in excavations at the neolithic archaeological site of Verteba cave During these field seasons I learned valuable information about archaeological methodology and how to be culturally relative. This was my first experience leaving the United States and I quickly learned that no matter how much you wanted to be on time, sometimes the bus just doesn’t show up for that day and you had to take this setback in stride.

This past summer I spent 10 weeks in Peru where I conducted research for my own thesis and also participated in geologic survey of southern Peru. My experiences this summer have changed my outlook on archaeology and have shaped the way I will conduct research in the future. Throughout the field season I would encounter setbacks while attempting to create 3D models of projectile points. Some days the models would not render, the hostel I was staying at would not have electricity, or a variety of issues would occur with the model making software. I quickly learned that it did not matter if I had created 1 3D model or 30 on a given day, I could not give up and had to keep pressing on no matter how much I pleaded with Aegisoft to work.

I am very excited about the upcoming year with CHI and hope to leave a lasting impact on archaeology by creating a large digital archive of the projectile points at Cuncaicha.



September 24, 2018

Titi Kou: The one who can’t think of a good title

September 24, 2018 | By | No Comments

Hallo! Titi here. My full name is Tianyi Kou and I am a second year PhD student in German Studies. Titi is my nickname that my family used to call me when I was younger and I really liked it. When I moved to Michigan, I just decided to go with it and so far it’s been working well. (laugh)

I was born and raised in Beijing, China, where I received my bachelor and M.A degrees in German Studies. During the second year of the M.A, I moved to Erfurt, Germany for a year as an exchange student. Aside from attending seminars, I spent most of the time traveling in Germany and in Europe. I rode a bike to a small town on the west side of Europe in the Netherlands and touched the North Sea. I also spent ten hours down in a mine, eating bratwurst and quarrying beautiful minerals. With an extroverted personality, I prefer to talk to local people and learn about their life and culture. Older people tend to have the best stories to share. They are the living history book!

MSU German department and its supportive attitude towards my research interest attracted me to move here and to start a new chapter of my life. Within the field of German Studies, I mainly focus on examining how soccer as a cultural phenomenon relates to German national identity. In order to present a clear picture of how Germany’s soccer competition system evolved to the present days, I intend to use digital tools to enhance the accessibility of the history and provide a more explicit overview.

In addition, I am also looking forward to getting to know more people from other fields and to observe how they conduct their research. So far I’ve been working with Dan, Zach, and Shewonda and they are great teammates! Each one of them has their specialties and they are all super charming in different ways.

Next thing that needs our full attention: WHAT SHOULD WE EAT FOR LUNCH next Friday? (All suggestions are welcomed.)



September 21, 2018

About Zachary Francis-Hapner: New CHI Fellow

September 21, 2018 | By | No Comments

Hello World! I am Zach, and this is currently my second year as an archaeology student in the anthropology PhD program. The first 23 years of my life were spent in Grand Rapids, Michigan where I graduated from Grand Valley State University. I’ve been fortunate enough to branch out geographically since then and experience some fun stuff. This includes backpacking across Europe, doing some archaeology in Ukraine, and walking dogs in New York City. There have been some unfortunate experiences as well, like being scammed by taxi drivers, not being able to find a free European bathroom and seeing some unfortunate things on the NYC subway. All of these experiences have made me who I am today and given me an appreciation for how people go through life. On some level, this is what cultural heritage is all about.

As with most people, I imagine a large part of my interest in cultural heritage stems from my family. My dad’s side of the family is Ojibwe while my mom’s side is essentially Polish. One upside to this multicultural upbringing was the availability of Indian Tacos and Kielbasa growing up. I lived in a suburban neighborhood and went to Catholic School until I graduated from high school which was a lot fun. But the downside was a lack of exposure to my Native American heritage. Growing up, I would have jumped at the chance to learn more about where I came from.

With many major revitalization efforts taking place on this front, I hope to one day help contribute to making cultural heritage more accessible with digital skills. Thus giving kids like myself a resource to discover their past. On a lighter note, I enjoy fantasy football, playing video games casually and am sort of a movie buff. I also have a girlfriend who’s the bee’s knees that I recommended read this blog. Hi Kayla!



September 18, 2018

Daniel Fandino and CHI: Second Verse, Different from the First

September 18, 2018 | By | No Comments

Greetings traveler on the great ocean of knowledge that is the internet! My name is Daniel Fandino and I am a second year PhD student in the Department of History at Michigan State University and a 2018 – 2019 Cultural Heritage Informatics Senior Fellow. My research is centered on the study of U.S. – Japan relations with a particular focus on the intersection of popular culture, technology, and nationalism. Before arriving at Michigan State I earned my Master’s degree in History from the University of Central Florida and then spent the next few years living in Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo. Although my academic pursuits primarily revolve around history I have been able to explore other areas of personal interest such as fandom and video games by assisting in editing a collected volume of essays on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, contributing to an encyclopedia of Japanese horror films, and writing about dark tourism in the massively multiplayer game EVE Online.

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September 14, 2018

Introducing CHI Fellow Ryan Carty

September 14, 2018 | By | No Comments

I am a second year graduate student in the history department where I focus on African history. My specific focus is on the White Volta and Oti River regions of West Africa from the 1890s to 1960s. I am interested in skilled work in that region and its influence on cultural, social, and political changes.

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May 3, 2018

Launch of Tokyo 6420!

May 3, 2018 | By | No Comments

I am pleased to announce the launch of Tokyo 6420, a digital project on the Tokyo Olympic Games. Taking the name from the combination of the 1964 Games and the upcoming 2020 Games, Tokyo 6420 attempts to link together the story and cultural legacy of the Olympics in Tokyo with the urban transformation of the post-war Japanese capital. The Tokyo 1964 Games were one of the most successful Olympics of all time and it is this legacy that is driving the 2020 Games. As with 1964, 2020 is being seen as a redefinition of Tokyo and to a large extent, Japan itself. How the Olympics changed the face of Tokyo and how they are remembered and depicted in Japanese culture are the core questions this project is seeking to answer. Although this project has launched, it is an ongoing effort to chronicle the past and future of the Olympics in Tokyo and will be continually updated until the torch is extinguished at the close of the 32nd Olympiad in August 2020.

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May 3, 2018

Announcing the Launch of the The Novelty Project

May 3, 2018 | By | No Comments

I am pleased to announce the launch of my CHI Project, “The Novelty Project.” This is more of a soft launch, really; this collaboration between Arend Hintze, Devin Higgins, and I has been in the works for the past two years now, yielding one forthcoming publication and a grant. I’ve built a website to serve as a companion landing page—where we will expand on information published, include information that we weren’t able to fit into our published work, and include some of the weirder findings that we uncover.

Novelty looks like this!

The major work of my year as a CHI Fellow was not the building of the public site, but the development of a 20th-century Corpus with the HathiTrust Research Center. Our team was awarded an HTRC Advanced Collaborative Support Grant last July, providing us access to in-copyright works in HTRC’s holdings via a Virtual Machine. Throughout the year, we worked with the incredibly talented and patient Eleanor Dickson to develop a corpus of 20th-century novels, split into two categories: canonical and non-canonical. Our goal was to build a corpus that would be large enough for us to a.) replicate our initial proof of concept, and b.) consider some of our more provocative hypotheses regarding literary modernism, p

ostmodernism, and the periodization of the 20th-century. Our goal in developing two, contrapuntal corpora was to get at the dynamic identified by Algee-Hewitt et. al in Pamphlet 11 from the Stanford Lit Lab, “Canon/Archive: Large-scale Dynamics in the Literary Field.” Our hope was to develop both an admittedly inclusive canon of the 20th-century novel, and an archive against or within which we might understand the canonical, and broader dynamics of the field.

One might suspect that determining the canonicity of our texts would be an impossible text—after all, “what’s in,” and “what’s out,” has been the subject of much heated debate (to put it lightly). In fact, canonicity was rather straightforward, thanks to a useful tool created by Nathaniel Conroy called Metacanon.* Metacanon collects citation scores from Google Scholar, JSTOR, The New York Times, and several other sources to calculate the most influential novels of any given time period. We used Metacanon’s date-range function to develop our canon list, gathering the top 100 most frequently cited works of fiction published within each decade of the 20th-century. This provided us a relatively even spread of publication dates (though the turn-of-the-century skews Jamesian). Once we had identified these texts, we isolated the novels from our results, queried HathiTrust’s holdings, selected a preferred edition, et voila: a canon corpus.

From there, we set out to build our corpus of non-canonical novels. This corpus isolates a hazy middle in the literary field—novels that were important or influential enough to have been digitized, but not important or influential enough to have been cited by scholars. Because we were not starting from a pre-determined list, but working from within the disorientingly rich and complex Hathi library this process turned out to be rather tedious: how does one identify a novel according to MARC Records? How to distinguish between a book published during the 20th-century and a book republished in the 20th-century? (Dickens, it seems, gets a reprint every five years). What of novels spread over multiple volumes—a fad that, fortunately for us, appeared to be falling out of fashion after 1900? How do we identify—and eliminate—works of criticism that are about novels, but not novels themselves? And what difference does a collection of short stories make in our results? Which versions do we keep, and why? Each of these questions, their answers, and our corresponding action has the potential to change our results. And while these finely-tuned details may make little difference at scale, they mattered significantly to us as we determined what-to-add and what-to-cut.

We are in the process of running these texts through our Novelty Filter, in hopes of turning to Phase III of this project over the summer. An online landing page is, unfortunately, a poor substitute for the work that our team has completed. But it provides us a space to consider some weird stuff—such as our comparison between Bestsellers and Prizewinners—and to provide our audience a chance to interact with our (forthcoming) data at a more granular level.

A final note of thanks to HTRC, and, especially, Eleanor Dickson. This project would have been impossible without Eleanor’s efforts, and without HTRC’s generosity. I’m eager to see how The Novelty Project continues to unfold, and hope that you’ll follow along with us.



*While we made great use of, it appears that the site is no longer functioning?

Nicole Raslich


May 2, 2018

Announcing the Launch of Protecting Our Past, an Introduction to Cultural Heritage Policy and Law

May 2, 2018 | By | No Comments

Protecting Our Past: Cultural Heritage Policy and Law is now live!

It is exciting to announce the launch of my first site, Protecting Our Past: Cultural Heritage Policy and Law. Since September, I have coded and gathered information to create this site which contains reference material about cultural heritage preservation laws. Currently, it contains the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. In the future, I plan to add other preservation laws as well as some interactive mitigation activities and sample MOA’s.

The majority of the information available in this site can be found on sites across the internet but I have compiled them here, along with their links and easy to find definitions that are often hidden within the laws themselves. Throughout my career as an archaeologist, I have often found it difficult to obtain pieces of information I needed when trying to mitigate an inadvertent discovery. The exact definition of what constitutes an ‘undertaking’ in federal compliance terms frequently alludes the local governments who are required to comply. These were some of my motivations for creating this website.

landing page of PoPCHPLThe site is simply laid out, with a landing page and then a page for each policy discussed which include summaries of the policies and then links to their governmental homepages. This site is currently hosted on GitHub (but that may change in the future) and was created using a BootStrap template. This culmination of my introduction to website creation and coding went far better than I ever hoped for. When I started in September, the idea of coding my own website scared me to death. Now that it is live, I cannot wait to continue to improve it and add to it.

I hope this serves as a reference guide for anyone new to preservation policy and law.

Cody M


May 2, 2018

Launching: Queer Intersections: Visualizing the LGBTQ Video Game Archive!

May 2, 2018 | By | No Comments

I’m thrilled to finally announce the launch of Queer Intersections: Visualizing the LGBTQ Video Game Archive! This collection of visualizations reveals trends in LGBTQ representation in video games from the 1980s to the 2000s using an intersectional lens, particularly to look at intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and genre. Currently the project consists of 16 interactive visualizations, and more will be added in the future in order to continue breaking down the larger trends already present in the data.

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