University of Wisconsin–Madison

UW Humanities Hackathon meets History of Science

August 2012

Meridith Beck Sayre and Dana A. Freiburger, both dissertators in History of Science, recently participated in a 5-day course offering hands-on training on computational techniques and tools in the humanities. The Humanities Hackathon: Computational Approaches to Cultural Analysis and Visualization was held at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery on July 23-27, 2012, and included UW staff, faculty, and students hailing from a range of departments, programs, and interest-areas.

Both found the course very useful with Beck Sayre commenting: “we covered several different tools and their applications in the Humanities Hackathon, but the instruction and conversations about network analysis were the most relevant for my immediate research. In my dissertation, I present a biography of a set of historically significant texts, known as the Jesuit Relations; right now, I’m mapping the trans-Atlantic network of scholars and institutions that preserved, archived and produced new editions of these texts during the 19th century. Although this doesn’t involve a great deal of people and places (<100), I hope that network analysis tools, like Gephi, will help me visualize the network and, potentially, see new relationships.”