4th Annual
Digital Humanities Conference

We wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.

University of Toronto | 21-22 October 2021

The Critical Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI) at the University of Toronto cordially invited U of T submissions to our fourth annual DH Conference, which took place virtually on 21-22 October 2021.

This year’s conference foregrounded critical digital humanities research and praxis. Critical DH is an intersectional field that emphasizes questions of power, social justice, and critical theory in making, analyzing, and using digital technologies. This is a version of digital humanities that places anti-racist, de/anti/postcolonial, feminist, and queer/trans/non-binary work at its core, and which understands our current historic shift in digital technology as an opportunity for social and political transformation. Critical Digital Humanities foregrounds creative praxis, co-creation, public engagement, and community-based research.

The 4th Annual DH Conference buildt on the work of the Digital Humanities Network (DHN), which hosted the first DHN conference in 2016. In this year’s conference, we asked DH researchers and practitioners to interrogate power and culture with/through the frameworks of humanistic inquiry and digital technology. At the same time, the conference aimed to foster collaborations and critical scholarship across the tri-campus community by providing a platform for people to share ideas, discuss trends and network with colleagues from UofT. While our focus this year emphasized critical DH, all DH researchers, practitioners, and the DH-curious were welcome to submit and attend!


Digital Exhibit


  • Beyond the Toolkit: Exploring Digital and Remote Facilitation in COVID-19—Andrea Vela Alarcón, Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning (OISE, UTSG); Sarah Switzer, Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning (OISE, UTSG); and Rubén A. Gaztambide-Fernández, Centre for Urban Schooling (OISE, UTSG)

Paper Session #1–Computing Text and Archives

Thursday, October 21, 1:00-2:25

  • The Case for “Sieve Reading”: A Two-Pronged Digital Humanist Methodology–Matthew Cormier, English (UTSC)
  • Material Histories of the Database in Eighteenth-Century Studies–Lawrence Evalyn, English (UTSG)
  • The Discourse of Online Restaurant Server Narratives during COVID-19–Tim Gadanidis, Linguistics (UTSG)
  • Elite Families in Babylon during the Reign of Darius I (522-486 BC): A Social Network Analysis Approach–Jinyan Wang, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (UTSG)

Paper Session #2—Preserving Cultural Heritages

Thursday, October 21, 1:00-2:25

  • Rethinking Digital Research Infrastructures: Mobilizing the Great Lakes Research Alliance’s Knowledge Sharing Database for the 21st Century—Heidi Bohaker, History (UTSG); Shenella Charles, History (UTSG); Autumn Epple, History (UTSG); Cara Krmpotich, Museum Studies (UTSG); Carlie Manners, History (UTSG); and Sheila Wheesk, History (UTSG)
  • The Impact of the Transition from Hand Drawing to 3D Recording on Interpretation and Analysis—Philip Sapirstein, Art History (UTSG)
  • Collaborating on Linked Open Data with UofT Libraries and Archives—Alex Jung, Open Technology Specialist, John P. Robarts Library (UTSG) and Kyla Jemison, Special Formats Metadata Librarian, John P. Robarts Library (UTSG)
  • A Pilgrim’s Progress: From a Dissertation Tool to the World’s Largest Inventory of Medieval Fonts—Harriet Sonne de Torrens, Visual Studies (UTM) and Miguel Torrens, Collection Development, John P. Robarts Library (UTSG)

    Paper Session #3—Subject-Making and Ontology

    Thursday, October 21, 2:30-3:55

    • Ethical Considerations in Digital Humanities Research: Critical Contributions from Arab Feminism—Mariam Karim, Visual Studies (UTM)
    • Patents and Problematization: Imagined Modes of Governmentality—Paula Nunez de Villavicencio, Information (UTSG)
    • On the Nature and Construction of Computational Transitional Objects—Scott Richmond, Cinema Studies (UTSG) and Matthew Nish-Lapidus, Architecture (Daniels, UTSG)

    Paper Session #4—At the Intersection of the Digital and Spatial

    Thursday, October 21, 2:30-3:55

    • Deep Mapping Archaeological Cultures in Near Eastern Prehistory: A Case Study from Chalcolithic Mesopotamia (5200-4200 BC)—Elizabeth Gibbon, Anthropology (UTSG) and Khaled Abu Jayyab, Anthropology (UTSG)
    • Follow The Ho Chi Minh Trail: Analyzing the Media History of the Electronic Battlefield—Arun Jacob, Information (UTSG)
    • Location, Location, Location: Google Maps and the Construction of the Local—Rebecca Noone, Information (UTSG)
    • From Postpalatial to Postcolonial: A Case Study of Accessible 3D Modelling Approaches on Late Bronze Age Crete—Tia Sager, Art History (UTSG)

    Paper Session #5—Digital Identities and Identity-Making

    Friday, October 22, 1:00-2:25

    • Instascholar? Disinformation, Data Mobilization, and Social Media Algorithms—Laurie Bertram, History (UTSG)
    • Forging Islamophobic Affect: Indian Diasporic Communities’ Strategies on Twitter—Zeinab Farokhi, Women & Gender Studies (UTSG)
    • Towards a Virtualizing Yiddishland: Adventures at the Intersection of the Digital and the Postvernacular—Caleb Sher, Comparative Literature (UTSG)
    • “O, Wonder! What ‘I’ AM I?”: Rumi and the Persian Mystic Self—Mahdieh Vali-Zadeh, Comparative Literature (UTSG)

    Lightning Session #1

    Friday, October 22, 1:00-2:25

    • Wikidata, the LINCS Project, and the Mariposa Folk Festival Dataset—Stacy Allison-Cassin, Information (UTSG)
    • Digital Critical Archives and Feminist Praxis—Claire Battershill, Information & English (UTSG)
    • Choose Your Own Poems and Fancies: Digital Forms and Rearrangeable Texts—Liza Blake, English & Drama (UTM)
    • AIr Women Poets: A Telescopic Exploration of Persian Poetry—Shabnam Golkhandan, Near and Middle Eastern Studies (UTSG); Leila Pourtavaf, Historical Studies (UTM); and Mohamed Tavakoli-Targhi, Historical Studies (UTM)
    • Programmatically Enhancing Collection Metadata to Help Assess Collection Diversity—James Mason, Metadata & Digital Initiatives Librarian, Music Library (UTSG)
    • Platforms and Cultural Production–David Nieborg, Information (UTSG)

    Lightning Session #2

    Friday, October 22, 1:00-2:25

    • At the Intersection of Digital, Public, and Indigenized Humanities—Cara Krmpotich, Museum Studies (UTSG)
    • CDHI Digital Drop-ins: Experts, Answers, and Conversations—Elizabeth Parke, Senior Research Associate (UTM) and CDHI Executive
    • Collaboration or Exploitation: Equitable Community Partnerships in DH as Labor Relations—Tomoko Shida, Archives & Special Collections (UTM)
    • Supporting Digital Scholarship at UTSC—Kirsta Stapelfeldt, Head, Digital Scholarship Unit (UTSC)
    • Color and Overtones: Blackness in Latin American Visual Culture —Tamara Walker, History (UTSG)

    Lightning Session #3

    Friday, October 22, 2:30-3:55

    • Afrosonic Audio: DJs as Archivists, Mixtapes as Counterarchives—Mark Campbell, Arts, Culture, and Media (UTSC)
    • The Pussy Palace Oral Histories: Coding Sex—Elio Colavito, History (UTSG) and Emily Mastragostino, Psychology (OISE)
    • Digital Storytelling and Refugee Counter-Archives—Thy Phu, Media Studies (UTSC)
    • The Optics of Enlightenment: Capturing Nirvana in Twentieth-century Southeast Asia–Anthony Scott, Department for the Study of Religion (UTSG)
    • Fast-Forwarding Porn: Digitizing Pleasure as Historical Knowledge—Patrick Keilty, Information (UTSG)
    • Land Based Dramaturgy in the Digital Realm—Jill Carter, Centre for Drama, Theatre, & Performance Studies (UTSG) and Antje Budde, Centre for Drama, Theatre, & Performance Studies (UTSG)


    Lightning Session #4

    Friday, October 22, 2:30-3:55

    • Peopling Digital Humanities—Krista Barclay, Religion (UTSG); Christina Pasqua, Religion (UTSG); and Sarina Simmons, Religion (UTSG)
    • Can a Computer Tell a Round from a Flat Character? Emotional Dynamics in Fiction—Adam Hammond, English (UTSG) and Krishnapriya Vishnubhotla, Computational Linguistics (UTSG)
    • The Book and the Silk Roads Project—Jessica Lockhart, Head of Research, Old Books New Science Lab and Rachel Di Cresce, Digital Project Librarian (ITS)
    • ‘Playable Theatre’: Gaming and Aesthetic Control—Lawrence Switzky, English & Drama (UTM)
    • The Cistern: A Database and Research Space on Geographical Knowledge in the Ottoman World—Adrien Zakar, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations (UTSG)

    Student Poster Presentations

    Friday, October 22, 4:00-5:00

    • The Ethics of Neutrality in Digital Archives: A Case Study of the Federal Writers’ Project Slave Narratives—Cate Cleo Alexander, Information (UTSG)
    • Access to Healthcare for Rural Women in Canada, and the Contemplation of Digital Solutions—Bisma Ali, Health Science (UTSC)
    • E-commerce for Micro-Entrepreneurs: Mapping Cultural Restrictions, Ecologies of Use, and Trends for Development—Aditi Bhatia, Information (UTSG)
    • Discussing Digital Asian Diasporas: Navigating Asian Identity in Early Internet Culture—Ann Marie Elpa, English (UTSG)
    • “Essentially” Expendable: Worker Sentiment on the Twitter Hashtag #PaidSickDaySavesLives and the Biopolitics of Exposure during the COVID-19 Pandemic—Adrianna Michell, English (UTSG)
    • The Matilda Project: Inequality and Gender Bias towards Women in Science—Shehryar Saharan, Science (UTM) and Shehroze Saharan, Information (UTM)
    • Commercializing the Ancient: Conflations, Erasures, and Imaginings in Authenticating African Yoga—Omema Saleri, Psychology (UTM)

    Social Hours


    Thursday, October 21: Conference Welcome

    4:00-5:00pm EST


    Friday, October 22: Game Night

    5:00-6:00pm EST