Category Archives: Project Proposal

Pitching- “The Queer & Now: Documenting Modern Russian Queer Internet Discourse”

So, y’all know me at this point- I’m much more casual when I write stuff regardless of what the thing is so that’s what we’re gonna be doing here. Let’s do this kindergarten style- what, why, how, who (we already know when and where). Also, limitations, but that didn’t fit into the cute little reference.


This project is seeking to document Queer Russian discourse from the modern internet age, around 2010 through now.


Three simple reasons:

  1. Modern Queer discourse is less valued and therefore less archived due to its reputation for rehashing old discourse (which in my opinion does not make it less valuable, rehashed or not).
  2. Very few resources documenting Queer discourse from non-Latinate languages exist, particularly for modern discourse.
  3. Russian Queer people are in explicit danger, and Russian’s access to the wider internet is now limited, so accessing information about what is happening in Russia and what is going on in the Queer community there at all is very difficult and even dangerous.


Using ARCH, a tool available to me via pilot testing currently, we can scrape website data in any format and create a collection of the archived sites using the tool.

Now, actually locating sites where Russian Queer discourse is happening is a hurdle of its own that will involve talking to Russians (probably just some of my friends, let’s be real). I’m also open to archiving things that are Russian language from primarily English-language platforms like Twitter, but the problem that comes with that is that the people having those discussions may not be native to Russia themselves, and it’s harder to figure that out from somewhere that’s not a .ru site. Furthermore, we may have to use a VPN and/or the TOR browser to access some of these sites, as well as protect our safety in doing what is essentially Queer journalism on a country that is an active threat to those people.

So, basically: find the sites, have ARCH scrape them and put them in a collection, then we make a cute little website to showcase everything.

This project also has the potential to be ongoing, however it may be best to make a collection that’s 2010-2023, and then in future years do 2023-2030 or what have you to separate things out by political events or something, might be easier to watch discourse unfold, etc.


-Ideally, a translator. Yes, I’m a linguist, and theoretically I could do this myself (but it would be hard and time consuming). Yes, I also know other native Russian speakers (who also happen to be linguists), but I can’t bother a bunch of PhD students and professors with this—we are all far too busy.

-Researchers—folks who would go out into the trenches and find whatever niche forum posts from the Russian internet they can, interview people to ask if they know where to find this kind of stuff, and give me those good good URLs. And as before, yes, this could also be me, but I am very tired and I’m just a little guy.

-An archivist—this one would actually have to be me–which I’m honestly stoked about–because I have access to ARCH and training in using it.

-Someone who can make a pretty little website! Again, this one theoretically could also be me, but good god can you imagine me doing this entire project myself??? The masochism of it all!


  1. Wow, safety! Um, yikes! This only occurred to me recently that this may make me a target. Not super excited about that idea, especially since this project would be made completely public. For anyone to find. With my name on it. And all my contact information.
  2. Speaking of safety… we’d have to come up with a way to safeguard identities of the people in these posts. In theory, once we have the collection we can redact names and website details, but that’s a lot of work to be done by hand since it can’t be programmed easily…
  3. Doesn’t this sound like a personal project though???? It really does. Like, it would be hard work, but it doesn’t really feel like it needs a group, and I don’t like thaaaat I want a proper group project!

Uhh that’s all from me folks! Let me know if you’re interested, I guess? An ending! Here is a way to end a post!

Project Pitch: You’re the Author, DHer!

Let me echo the previous posts: it was so great to see everyone in person on Wednesday; it is quite exciting to embark on this new academic (and personal) adventure together!

In our next class, I will be pitching my project; mainly for two reasons: firstly, because it has a fantastic potential and it truly is a collective project, jointly made and powered by DH students throughout the course of the year; secondly, and slightly more selfishly, because it is an opportunity for me to present in front of a friendly audience to gather your feedback on those public speaking aspects that need development – I’m not a natural, but I’m making an effort to improve.

The project is quite exciting, and it is clear in what the final achievement should be: a harmonious collection of our blog posts, in the form of either a digital archive or an online (or potentially even hybrid) publication.  I have included more info below, but I want you to know that I am very happy to donate this project to someone who is keen to be the team leader and steer its development through the various phases.

It is a wonderful palace – vast, strange, new and impossible to describe. Its grandeur does not consist in one thing, but in the unique assemblage of all things” (Charlotte Brontë on the Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace, London 1851)

The Premise

Students of the Introduction to Digital Humanities (DHUM 7000) hail from all sorts of backgrounds and geographies, they draw from the most diverse range of experiences when discussing academic matters, but can operate cohesively to address social justice issues, institutionalised superstructures, and, broadly speaking, can work harmoniously to distil the role of the Digital Humanities in the contemporary landscape. Hence, their online content production is incredibly heterogeneous and grounded in a great variety of worlds and cultures.

As of January 2023, the course online shared space hosts, between posts and related replies, more than 200 blog entries on an array of topics that includes weekly readings, DH praxis assignments, seminars and workshops attendance, and personal views on class discussions and DH news. In other words, this online repository represents the collective digital footprint of the class. As such, structure, context, and interactivity are the fundamental requirements that could drive its uses and applications in uncharted ways.

The Aspiration

The end goal of the proposed project is the preservation of said footprint through the creation of an online collection of CUNY students’ blog posts, which are digital objects that require adequate organisation to ensure future availability and utility, while concurrently acknowledging the role of students not just as learners but as knowledge producers, thus formally recognising their contributions.

This project will look at what steps need to be undertaken in order to organise this knowledge, integrate its sources and inspirations, display it in a user-friendly way, and make it available over time to a number of different audiences.

What’s new?

While annotations and blog posts are appreciated from an input perspective, their role as academic output is not necessarily thought of as knowledge itself, resulting in a missed opportunity to present it for future iterations, subjecting it to an archiving system, researching and revising it, and, if needed, improving, or extending it.

As emphasised by Trevor Owens in his 800 posts later reflections on teaching digital history with a public course blog, the class blog assumes a cognitive role which entails a gradual swing from the more conventional passive phase of information processing and knowledge acquisition to a more active knowledge creation stage. The blog becomes a vivid testimony of students’ production and collaboration, which no longer translates into the simple achievement of a learning goal, but morphs into new knowledge, which can serve other individuals who could leverage it in future iterations.

 The Audiences & the Future

This knowledge sharing practice, if presented in a coherent framework and through an accessible and easy navigable digital platform, could have multiple applications; for example, it could:

  • help students who have concluded the semester to officially reference their blog post work or source from a specific dialogue with fellow students;
  • be utilised by current students of other majors to draw interdisciplinary connections;
  • become an instructional design tool for professors and lecturers when creating syllabi and selecting reading materials;
  • be useful for future students who either freshly approach the subject or are interested in investigating how the field has changed and developed across different generations;
  • serve as a publication for student authors, and, finally;
  • this blog sharing practice might grow into a great resource for linguists and scholars who wish to analyse students’ discourse and ways of interacting on academic online media.

The Challenge and the Plan

Without reorganisation, students’ blog posts might appear as a discordant, often disparate, assemblage of digital objects which could discourage future readings (and readers). Students’ online comments and blog posts are often asynchronous; they have dissimilar composing styles and layouts; they might discuss very different topics within the same suggested subject; and, sometimes, they simply do not stem from the class required readings.

More to come during the pitch, but here the high-level, simplified, phases:

  • Blog scraping (including multimedia contents).
  • Outreach to authors with the purpose of i) obtaining a formal approval to edit and publish their posts, and ii) collecting their preference around anonymity, pseudonymity, or full authorship disclosure.
  • Manual review of scraped blog posts aimed at unfolding authors’ drivers, references, and interconnectivity dynamics.
  • Content display design (some inspirations here “Final Becoming Ethnographers” on Manifold @CUNY (, hypotheses – Academic blogs, COVID (Re)Collections, CLIR, covidmemory
  • Feasibility analysis: CUNY software and platforms vs building a brand-new website or leveraging other open-source content management systems.
  • Digital creation of the archive or publication (I appreciate this is quite generic, but this phase really is propaedeutic to the group’s decisions on archive vs publication and its layout/design).
  • QA and Testing.
  • Outreach and dissemination.

The Ideal Team

  • The project manager (or, as I call it, the chasing techniques expert)
  • The tech savvy, not scared of getting dirty in meandering the worlds of Manifold and CUNY in a BOX, but also able to pursue more typical routes such as website creation from scratch;
  • The creative mind, capable of bringing to life and concretely draw initially confused thoughts and bizarre ideas;
  • The editor and DH content management expert, in charge of reviewing the posts, aligning them to their references and inspirations, and responsible for drawing the relevant connections in order to transform posts into a continuous dialogue of intertwined parts;
  • Anyone who is happy to help and support the project!!

PROJECT PROPOSAL: Overbaked & Underproofed (looking at an aspect of a pop-culture phenomenon, the DH way)


Overbaked & Underproofed proposes to look closely at the language used in the judging segments of The Great British Baking Show (GBBS), a reality TV baking competition that has been on-air for more than ten seasons and has been one of the most-streamed original tv-shows in the US during the pandemic. As the only reality TV show in the top 15, it placed third in the “original content” category, only surpassed by Lucifer and Squid Game in 2021. GBBS accumulated more than 13 billion viewing minutes on streaming platforms in 2021.

Overbaked & Undreproofed (Ob&Up) is named for two of the most common words used by the judges when critiquing the “bakes” created by contestants, and these two words might already represent 10% of the limited judging vocabulary in use. 

The project wants to probe how evaluative language works in GBBS and illustrate why the narrow vocabulary of judgment fundamentally fails to transmit anything evocative about the multi-sensory nature of the often complex edible objects at the competition’s center. Instead, Ob&Up argues, this paucity of language further flattens our screen-mediated relationship to the sense of taste. GBBS diverts attention from the lack of descriptive language by relying exclusively on visual elements. As viewers, we must taste with our eyes only.

Nuanced and descriptive language, which could take us beyond the visible, does not attempt to expand our experience. For example, the judges might only let us know that while a cake looks beautiful, its “flavors aren’t coming through .” Hm. As an audience member savoring and exploring what is tasted along with the judges is not available as an option. This discrepancy between the visual and the verbal points to the way in which —in the televised and virtual worlds— all senses seem to be required to recede and grant primacy to the visual. Considering the power of descriptive language to appeal to other senses in a medium that cannot produce taste, smell, and touch, the project wants to consider how this reliance on visual primacy excludes some audiences entirely and limits all audiences considerably.

To allow viewers of GBBS to explore how sparse and evaluative language contributes to a sub-par experience of “the bakes,” Ob&Up wants to mix an academic approach with a playful one. Part of the objective is to develop a watch party bingo game (see a low-tech version above) that viewers can play and then share via social media. By guiding viewers’ awareness to notice evaluative expressions, the simplistic framework of judgment, and the bland experience they offer, Ob&Up aims to induce a shift towards more conscious media consumption, ultimately producing a new and expanded media literacy.


Realizing this project would give us the opportunity to:

  • Create and annotate/tag/organize a unique corpus (by extracting judging language from one season of the show)
  • Work with text analysis tools and methods to explore the corpus and probe for other linguistic patterns, which might let us formulate additional research questions and yield additional insights
  • Utilize data visualization tools to make our findings legible for a public audience
  • Present a narrative of our findings to the audience via a website and social media
  • Think about, develop, and integrate a simple “judge-this-bake” bingo game, which would serve a pedagogical function by fostering critical viewing via interactive engagement. (This could be a downloadable and printable bingo card.)


Alan Liu’s question “Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?” has been hugely influential in developing this idea, and Liu’s text is the reason why the project’s focus is on using the insights and evidence a new corpus can yield to investigate aspects of a cultural phenomenon. An endeavor that wants to explore, contextualize, and criticize a recent artifact of popular culture (an artifact like GBBS that is often coded as trivial, low-brow, and feminine) by employing DH methods can serve as an example of DH-informed cultural criticism and can also help to bring DH approaches to a broader audience. The playful context of the project should appeal to the many people who are fans and viewers of GBBS, as well as to people interested in linguistic and rhetorical aspects of evaluative language and the connection between language and the rendering of the sense of taste in digital environments.



First-generation college students are the first in their families to go to college. Since they are the first in their families, they are often left to figure out the complicated higher education system in the United States of America on their own. Without proper guidance, students can feel overwhelmed by filling out complex applications such as the FASFA and scholarship application and, among other unfamiliar tasks, to enroll and stay in college.  They need help understanding college 101 terminology such as prerequisites, capstone, or hybrid. A lack of understanding of Student Success strategies such as time management, Habits of Mind, or navigating several digital tools can be detrimental to their college success. Because of such complicated and unfamiliar higher education territory, students can feel alone and as if they don’t belong in an institution of higher learning. They may also be unfamiliar with the college resources available, such as the Wellness Center, Tutoring Services, Offices of Accessibility, or the Ombudsman Office.  This can cause students to get stressed, have anxiety, and, unfortunately, drop out of college.

Peer Mentorship via Social Media digital project aims to provide peer mentorship through platforms where students would most effectively receive information, such as social media platforms like Instagram or Tic Tok. This content would be created and curated by a team of mentorship experts, mentors, and mentees. The goal is for First Generation students to learn and be prepared to succeed in college regardless of the hurdles they may face.

Google Slides:  

Click Here to learn more:

Project Pitch: Feminist Interventions: Designing Descriptive Markup for the Japanese Women Directors Project

No language barriers!
A good opportunity to learn and practice TEI/XML together!
Contribute to an existing project and the fields of cinema studies, feminist DH, multilingual DH!

Asian women’s images in the film industry have long been filtered through a Western male gaze and thus have been historically objectified as exotic and fetish beauties. Asian women filmmakers’ efforts also do not receive the same attention in a male-dominated film culture of auteurism. However, within the past few years, we have seen rising Asian women directors in the industry and their films gaining recognition. This project represents a step in the new direction of cinema feminist interventions. The primary objective of this project is to create a structured and organized database of Japanese women directors encoded by XML (Extensive Markup Language), making it easier to search and retrieve specific pieces of information on relevant subjects in their lives and works, such as education, employment, production, network, and social work. This project belongs to Phase 2 of the JWDP (The Japanese Women Directors Project), which seeks to enhance the accessibility and usability of our resources for scholars, educators, students, and the public. Unlike other TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) projects that annotate and store the structural elements in preexisting textual materials, our project is experimental to the extent that we are encoding research writings that we are currently making. The result of this project contributes to Phase 3 of the JWDP, which delivers our born-digital encoded content through a searchable database.

When we use the words “Japanese” and “women” to identify our research targets, we are referring to all directors self-identified as women, including Japanese women working outside Japan and non-Japanese women working in Japan. The JWDP has made significant progress in its Phase 1 on creating/publishing video interviews with scholars researching Japanese women filmmakers, collecting extensive materials on Japanese women directors’ profiles, and assembling a team of cinema specialists to execute the outreach plan to engage the public. The first trial of this project will be very specialized, covering a range of ten to fifteen Japanese women directors who make live-action narrative films. We hope to monitor the trial’s progress and expand the scope in a later stage to include women working on other genres, such as animation, documentaries, and experimental films.

Director list for the project

Director list


  • Please see the director list on the left. I hope to choose directors from the list with our potential team members. Although some materials are written in Japanese, most data have been collected and translated into English by previous efforts by the JWDP team and others. Also, for example, Naomi Kawase, Mika Ninagawa, and Miwa Nishikawa are very active in the international film market.
  • I hope to include Japanese-American women directors as a focus for this course project. For example, we can explore works by Ruth Ozeki, Rea Tajiri, and Kayo Hatta together.

This project’s significant source of inspiration is DH initiatives that began in the SGML period. Find more information: Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present; Women Writer’s Online (WWO);WWP Lab;Women Film Pioneers Project

This project mainly stays at a textual level and limits its scope to organizing and producing textual entries and only uses XML elements/attributes, such as <mov> and <sound>, to encode video and audio materials’ metadata. Tools in MMIR (multimedia information retrieval) are beyond the scope of this project. But if any members are interested in MMIR, any new ideas are welcomed. 


TEI: Founded in 1987, the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) is a consortium that maintains and develops guidelines for encoding digital texts in the humanities. The current TEI guidelines provide a set of standardized XML rules and tags, known as TEI P5, for organizing and representing data in a structured framework. The TEI is also a community in which members in this community work on the improvement of the guidelines every year to address issues regarding non-hierarchical elements, overlapping hierarchies, normative bias, and ill-formed XML.

XML: XML uses tags to mark different elements in a document to produce both human-readable and machine-readable texts and is used widely in scholarly editing, manuscript transcribing, and computational text analysis. For example, for the women director profile pages, here is a minimal XML document encoding three directors’ names and birth years.
The start tag (e.g., <director>) marks the point in the sequence that an element starts, and the element closes with the end tag (e.g., </director>). We can also add attributes to the document. Here attribute values are specified for the <directorsList> element through the attributes xml: id and status. Later an XML processor can recognize this <directorList> as a draft instead of the final version, and the “list1” could label its element occurrence for later cross-reference works.

XML example

A minimal XML example

DTD: A Document Type Definition (DTD) is a set of rules that define the structure of an XML file. A well-formed XML document does not require a DTD and can just follow common rules but creating a DTD can ensure the integrity and consistency of the XML document. Our project will define elements, attributes, relationships, and constraints to customize the DTDs to give interpretive information in greater detail. Our project is a digital experiment searching for methods to create research-based DTD (Document Type Definition)  that contain critical and interpretative tags generated by our research group, aligned with the structural tags officially recognized and produced by the TEI. Here is an example of the DTD we create to instruct the XML encoding in our project,


An example of the DTD

In this example, the DTD is defined within the DOCTYPE declaration. The DTD specifies that the document’s root element is <directors>. The root element can contain one or more <director> elements. Each <director> element must have an id attribute and can contain a <name>, a <birthyear>, a <films>, and an optional <awards> element. We then extract our markup directly from writing biographical sketches of Japanese women directors, transcribing/translating the interviews they receive, and editing scholarly writings on them. As a result, our tags not only deliver bio details on birth, name, family, education, and significant life events but also marks the contextual information on their career paths, such as team, co-worker, award, organization, company, funding, social movement, dual profession, etc. The final step (possibly will be started at end of phase 2 and remains a major task of phase 3) is to build a delivery system using XSLT, Java-related technologies, and Apache Tomcat that allows users to search and navigate the data we create.

Goals and outcomes:
The ultimate goal of this project is to build a searchable database and open the encoded data we create to the public. I also hope all potential members could learn and practice TEI/XML tools. The JWDP team is committed to releasing the encoded data of the first trial under the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 License on its platform and through GitHub to allow the public to use, distribute, and build upon the project freely. We will also share our TEI/XML training materials by making a virtual workshop section on our website and encourage the modification of our tagsets and DTD by potential users.

For the work plan in the Spring semester, the main tasks will be research and writing on Japanese women directors, the DTD and tagsets building, and the XML encoding. All potential members will join the team to brainstorm appropriate tagsets to process the JWDP data and custom-design the XML tagsets and the DTDs. The project lead is responsible for writing the explanations of each tag with examples for the training session in TEI/XML.

  • We aim to create a playground of DH aspects in Japanese women’s history and film studies for the public to support knowledge production and dissemination. The interface language and the primary language for displaying data are English.
  • Instructors in the film studies programs could use the JWDP searching feature to prepare teaching materials on women filmmakers of color to update their syllabi. Students in film studies, area studies, and digital humanities could use the database to search for information on non-white/US-based women directors.
  • Students will be able to extract the set of linked open data and apply computational methods to make network graphs, geospatial maps, and data visualizations. The database structure allows them to look into micro-level contextualized materials on these women’s lives and works and analyze macro-level trends outside established canons.
  • Our goal to create feminist interventions in digital archives is inspired by Jacqueline Wernimont’s argument for an approach of feminist text encoding as political tools to present works done by marginalized groups; the idea of working on non-English speaking background materials is from Alan Liu’s suggestion on building multilingual digital humanities (DH) to “create a digitally tractable, extensible taxonomy of diversity” through building new database and renewing protocols.

Tentative team design:
Project and Research Lead: Miaoling Xue will serve as the project and research lead, monitoring the overall progress of the project, including team coordination, workflow/deadline management, and research progress.
Research and Metadata Coordinators: Classmate A/B/C will be the co-lead responsible for writing, categorizing and sorting data and working with the lead to do the team training in XML
Content Specialists: Graduate students in Japanese studies (UBC), researching women directors’ profiles, translating materials into English
Programmer: TBD, assisting in validating and delivering the XML file, testing the trial result using XSLT, Java-related technologies, and Apache Tomcat
Copy Editor: TBD

Consultant on TEI (Text Encoding Initiative): Filipa Calado
Consultants on Japanese Cinema and Popular Culture: Colleen Laird (UBC), Catherine Munroe Hotes (KeioSFC/hosei_gis)

Further readings:
Liu, Alan. “Toward a Diversity Stack: Digital Humanities and Diversity as Technical Problem.”
PMLA 135.1 (2020): 130–151.
The TEI Consortium. “TEI P5: Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange.” Last updated October 25, 2022.
Wernimont, Jacqueline. “Whence Feminism? Assessing Feminist Interventions in Digital Literary Archives.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 7, no. 1 (2013).


Proposal: More Than Surviving

More Than Surviving
Wampanoag Political Agency, Ingenuity, and Persistence in the Antebellum Era 

The general vein of American history often presents northeastern Indigenous peoples romantically stereotyped as “noble savages,” whose struggles were quaint, futile, and relegated to the distant past. Their relationship to arriving European’s is portrayed as shifting from threat to ward before history goes silent on their existence (Vuilleumier). Despite at first being addressed as sovereign peoples by the newcomers, the general understanding is they were killed, “civilized,” assimilated or sequestered onto reservations—while the nation moved on to other important issues shaping its future. In reality, despite incomprehensible hardships related to war, disease, enslavement and economic and social opression, Indigenous peoples of the Northeast sustained cultural traditions, advocated for their rights, and remained connected to their homelands. As part of their survival, they adapted to the ways of the new nation that rose around them. While continuing to maintain traditional governmental structures that predate the arrival of colonists, tribes engaged in political activities that had implications beyond their own communities (Scott), contributing to many of the causes tied to social and political reform movements of the antebellum period including anti-slavery, racial equality, and the fight for women’s and, of course, Indigenous rights.

This project seeks to specifically expand national historical awareness of the Wampanoag Nation of Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, by creating an online archive showcasing their continuous political activism during the antebellum period. With a focus on 1830–1850, a particularly eventful period of political activity nationally, the online resource will identify and map Wampanoag activists and political activity. Drawing from a range of resources this project will link Wampanoag activism to widely documented political and social issues, highlighting not just continuous presence and vital contributions to the political fabric of the United States, but the sustained Indigenous expressions of agency, ingenuity, and persistence in the face of systematic oppression.

Interactive map showcasing 3-5 instances of political activity by specific Wampanoag communities and individuals. Political and social issues may include desegregation of schools and transportation, Indigenous rights, and abolition.

The site currently to include:

  • Home page that contextualizes the content of the map/project
  • Clickable Map (for proof of concept it may include filters by location and issue even if data points are not available)
  • Landing pages or views that provide additional context including images and short descriptions (Time permitting these may mention relevant national and state legislation or events)
  • Cross-referencing to related instances (location, individual, issue) where relevant

Many of you know this is a project of great personal interest, however please be assured that I am not looking to boil the ocean this semester. My goal is to immerse myself in the process of team building required to create this type of DH project and developing a prototype of what may evolve after this semester into a more involved project. This means that site functionality will be prioritized over populating the map with endless data points—read: research will be finite, not open ended. I am very conscious of the time constraints, and will look to keep goals concrete and attainable—and will look to the team to help determine what that means.

I am excited to partner with teammates who enjoy collaborating and bringing new insight and ideas around how to shape this into something we can all be excited about.



  1. Marion Vuilleumier. Indians on Olde Cape Cod (1970)
  2. Alina Scott. NOT EVEN PAST; Cynthia Attaquin and a Wampanoag Network of Petitioners