Introduction to Spatial Approaches for Literary Studies (DHSI; dhsi.org) 4 hours

This introductory two-day workshop focuses on modelling spatial data for digital projects and basic digital environments for representing that data on a map. While the mapping process is used in many academic fields, the focus of our discussion will be on challenges when working with literary texts. During the workshop, participants will learn about the different kinds of spatial humanities research taking place in literary studies and the types of research data they require. Following this, we will address the basics of structuring data relevant to such projects, as well as the challenges involved in extracting, geocoding, and visualizing place names found in literary texts on a digital map. Finally, participants will learn how to make and critique basic digital maps. Enrolled participants are encouraged to identify materials they would like to work with in advance of the workshop.

Co-instructed with David Joseph Wrisley in 2022.

An Open Knowledge Toolkit, Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI; dhsi.org) and DH Downunder, Sydney (DHDU; dh_downunder) 4 hours

This offering provides a focused and practically-oriented introduction of key open scholarship concepts, approaches to tools and data, and open knowledge in situ. It consists of online training materials associated with the Open Knowledge Practicum at the University of Victoria, Canada — themselves encapsulation of longer courses offered in conjunction with the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (dhsi.org).

Co-instructed with Caroline Winter, Alyssa Arbuckle, Luis Meneses, and Ray Siemens in 2020 and 2021

Digital Humanities in the Classroom, Winter Institute in Digital Humanities (WIDH; wp.nyu.edu/widh) 11.5 hours

This workshop includes theoretical discussions, hands-on skills learning, and lesson planning for the integration of digital methodologies to the study of texts in the classroom. To demystify computational approaches, we will walk participants through directed applications using sample datasets. On the one hand, we will address the research potential of using digital methods (text analysis, networks, mapping), basic concepts of such methods, and how they can contribute to critical pedagogies. On the other hand, we will also experiment with integrating DH methods of analysis into existing syllabi, creating lesson plans and assignments, and discussing assessment of digital work carried out by students, as well as making practical suggestions on setting up the classroom for digital work, establishing classroom expectations, promoting ethical use of digital content and dealing with privacy issues.

Co-instructed with Najla Jarkas in 2020.

Introduction to Computation for Literary Studies, Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI; dhsi.org) 30 hours

This course demystifies, and offers a survey of, the computational tools and techniques being used for literary studies. Aimed at novice and DH-curious scholars and practitioners, participants gain familiarity with fundamental concepts and methods so that they can better appreciate the potential of computer-assisted critical techniques. Classes are divided between discussions of key theoretical considerations and practical instruction in a selection of tools. Participants are exposed to macro-analytical techniques like most frequent word analysis, collocation, stylometry, topic modelling, digital mapping, and network analysis, gaining experience with environments like Voyant, R, Carto, Palladio, and Gephi. The course also details best practices relating to the preparation and management of digital corpora. Having completed this course, participants will have a better understanding of how computational methods can be used to produce quantitative data for use in the support of literary studies. More advanced expertise can subsequently be developed at any one of a number of DHSI offerings dedicated to particular methods.

Co-instructed with David Joseph Wrisley in 2019, and James O’Sullivan in 2018 and 2017.

Humanities Data and Mapping Environments, European Summer University of Digital Humanities (ESUDH; esu.culintec.de) 20 hours

This spatial humanities workshop will introduce participants to different ways of thinking about humanities data, their curation within projects and their use in digital mapping environments. The workshop will not be a traditional course in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), although we will use some of the functionality of open source GIS along the way. The workshop is designed for the total beginner who would like to explore how a spatial dimension can enrich humanities and interdisciplinary research projects and who would like to learn some basic skills for collecting and organizing data in order to be able to integrate such methods into their research workflows.

The central goals of the workshop are fourfold:

  • to learn where we can obtain spatial data relevant to our research interests, or capture data from analog sources through digitization,
  • to explore how data spatial data can be modeled for our projects,
  • to practice different ways that we can tell a story by visualizing spatial data, and
  • to learn ways that we can disseminate and share that data.

In the first part of the course we conduct a critical review of a range of projects in the spatial humanities: their scope and the rhetorical strategies they employ for spatial storytelling and argument. We will begin by reflecting on how location-based research might be incorporated into research projects in different disciplines (cinema, art history, anthropology, history, literature, etc) as well as the challenges of such a spatial dimension in research. We will begin to learn about the creation of data in relevant formats for spatial humanities projects (using gazetteers, mobile data collection, off the shelf software) and learn some basic coding skills in order to perform repetitive tasks for building a spatial dataset (with Python, OpenRefine, Edinburgh Geoparser and TopoText, for example). Students will be introduced to normalization and wrangling techniques and will contrast the manual, slow creation of data with more automated forms.

In the second part of the course, we will learn some skills in web development so that we can do some basic web mapping. We will experiment with web scraping and other automated workflows and will turn to more complex forms of map visualization. Open source GIS software will be used to learn about georeferencing / warping and the creation of historical vector / polygon data from digitized historical maps. Depending on the time available, we will explore the sharing of specialized humanities spatial data in repositories and gazetteers, their design and their theoretical underpinnings.

Participants of the workshop will have the opportunity to present and design individual projects.  We will also work collectively over the two weeks to build a small set of historical research materials of relevance to the group(For example, we have many historical representations of the Middle East and Arabia at our disposal, in particular open access materials, including 7000+ maps from the Qatar Digital Library, or from any of the numerous digital map libraries about other parts of the world.)

Co-instructed with David Joseph Wrisley in 2021, 2019, and 2018

Spatial Humanities and Digital Mapping, Digital Humanities Institute – Beirut (DHIB; dhibeirut.wordpress.com)

This workshop seeks to build participant appreciation for location-based humanities research, relevant kinds of spatial data and ways of visualizing them on different kinds of interfaces. Topics in this workshop include curating structured spatial data using gazetteers and other digital encyclopedic resources, faceted visualization of spatial information, linking maps and timelines, digital storytelling with maps, geo-referencing historical maps as well as the social and cloud-based world of mapping. Students will be introduced to Google Maps/Earth, MapWarper, Palladio, CartoDB, TimeMapper, Animaps, Odyssey and Neatline. All fields are welcome and no prior knowledge required. The workshop will be tailored to the specific research questions of the participants. Understanding of basic spreadsheets is desirable. As a group, we will look critically at the availability of map data and geospatial library holdings for the Arab region

Co-instructed with David Joseph Wrisley in March 2015


Media and Technology (MDSC64H3) at the University of Toronto Scarborough

Media are central to organizing cultural discourse about technology and the future. This course examines how the popularization of both real and imagined technologies in various media forms contribute to cultural attitudes that attend the introduction and social diffusion of new technologies.

Sessional Instructor (Winter 2022)

Academic Reading and Writing (ENGL135) at the University of Victoria

ENGL135 introduces students to university-level reading and writing. Its goal is to enable students to build on the reading and writing skills they have developed through their earlier school years and to progress toward the advanced level of literacy that is the hallmark of an educated citizen.

ENGL135 will help students develop the core transferable skills in critical thinking, reading, and writing that they will use in their university courses, regardless of their program of studies. Through the analysis of a variety of challenging readings, students will discover the characteristics and conventions used by scholars in different disciplines. Students will explore different genres of academic writing and how these reflect different rhetorical purposes. They will practise typical academic writing tasks, including writing a basic research paper, and will learn strategies for reading and writing more effectively and for approaching new writing tasks. Students will also learn how to use reflection and self-assessment to become a more independent and competent reader and writer.

Through these experiences, students will prepare themselves for the increasingly challenging reading and writing they will do as they advance through their degree program and beyond.

Sessional Instructor (Fall 2018 and Spring 2019)


Mapping Culture and History, University of Newcastle (18 – 19 November 2022)

Workshop title: Basics of Geodata Modelling and Visualization    

Digital Storytelling in the Classroom, Kansas University (20 October 2022)

Workshop title: An Introduction to Using Voyant in the Classroom

Day of Digital Learning, Renaissance Society of America, virtual (1 March 2022)

Workshop title: Spatial Humanities

Day of Digital Learning, Renaissance Society of America, virtual (12 March 2021 and 5 April 2020)

Workshop title: Text-to-Map: An Introduction to Digital Mapping in the Humanities

Session: DH Curious? Digital Humanities Tools & Technologies for Students, Emerging Scholars, Faculty, Librarians & Administrators, Modern Language Association Annual Meeting, Chicago (3 and 5 January 2019)

Workshop title: Geospatial Humanities

Session: Digital Humanities Tools and Technologies for Students, Emerging Scholars, Faculty Members, Librarians, and Administrators, Modern Language Association Annual Meeting, New York (6 January 2018)

Workshop title : Digital Mapping for the Humanities

Creating Spatial Historical Knowledge: New Approaches, Opportunities and Epistemological Implications of Mapping History Digitally, German Historical Institute, Washington DC (20 – 22 October 2016)

Workshop title : Georeferencing Historical Maps

Unconference Session, Digital Humanities Summer Institute, Victoria (16 June 2016)

Workshop title : Digital Mapping