Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943

WMQ-UC, Irvine Workshop

“Digital Research in Early America”
Thursday-Friday, October 11-12, 2018 • University of California, Irvine

“Digital Research in Early America” aims to bring together early American scholars across a wide range of subfields and disciplines to showcase the results of computational research in early American history. Digital technology’s wide application to historical research and information dissemination has led to questions about argumentation, the division between source and analysis, and how we define scholarship. Here we seek to build on those conversations by focusing on how computational research technologies, specifically, offer fresh perspectives on the early American past.

We seek scholars at all levels and positions who are producing analytic research on early American studies using computational techniques. This might include those working on language and text analysis, such as topic modeling or word vectors; mapping and geospatial modeling; quantitative analysis of archival databases; or other computational approaches that allow us to rethink and remediate topics and issues in early American history. Submissions could present research results from data mining, offer new interpretations of material culture made possible by image or 3-D analysis, or advance historiographic arguments about the nature and form of scholarship (how does presentation affect argument? how might we best define “research”?) in light of recent advances in delivery platforms. We welcome proposals from scholars in all disciplinary fields that interrogate the early American past, defined broadly. We particularly encourage scholars who have interests in women’s and gender history, race and slavery, and indigenous studies.

Selected participants will submit their final paper/project for pre-circulation by August 15, 2018. Final submissions (five thousand words or a project equivalent) should focus on research results, scholarly interpretations, and substantive engagement with larger historiographical conversations rather than explications of new methods, tools, exhibits, or archival projects. We are looking for work that is accessible to scholars of early America who are not especially conversant in digital humanities. Proposers are welcome to think creatively about submissions beyond the format of a traditional paper. Those selected will participate in intensive discussions and peer critiques over two days at University of California, Irvine. We can offer partial funding for travel and lodging expenses ($500 minimum) for accepted participants.

Proposals for workshop presentations should include name, contact info, institution, and 2-3 page CV for each contributor; a one hundred-word abstract; links to any online materials related to the project; a one-page proposal including clear explanation of topic, scholarly significance, intervention, and computational/methodological approach. Please submit your materials by Feburary 19, 2018.

Please send any questions to Sharon Block, professor, UC, Irvine ( or Joshua Piker, editor of the William and Mary Quarterly (