Key Projects

Information Ecosystems podcast series: The team of graduate student participants in the year-long Information Ecosystems Sawyer Seminar interview our invited speakers on their current research, insights, and thoughts on needed interdisciplinary developments.

Information Ecosystems blog posts: The team of graduate student participants in the year-long Information Ecosystems Sawyer Seminar reflect on the work of our invited speakers and their discussions with us.

Suggested core readings

Jon Agar. The Government Machine: A Revolutionary History of the Computer (MIT Press, 2003).

John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid. The Social Life of Information (Harvard Business School Press, 2000). 

Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren Klein. Data Feminisms (MIT Open Press, 2019)

Yanni Alexander Loukissas. All Data Are Local: Thinking Critically in a Data-Driven Society (MIT Press, 2019) 

Lev Manovich. “Cultural Analytics: Visualizing Cultural Patterns in the Era of ‘More Media,’” DOMUS (Spring 2009)

Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo Boczkowski, and Kirsten Foot, eds. Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society (MIT Press, 2014)

Tim Hitchcock. “Confronting the Digital: Or How Academic History Writing Lost the Plot,” Cultural and Social History, 10, no. 1 (2013): 9-23. 

Frederick W. Gibbs. “New Forms of History: Critiquing Data and Its Representations,” The American Historian, 7 (February 7, 2016).

Lara Putnam. “The Transnational and the Text-Searchable: Digitized Sources and the Shadows They Cast.” American Historical Review 121, no. 2 (April 2016): 377-402. 

Julia Laite. “The Emmet’s Inch: Small History in a Digital Age,” Journal of Social History (February 11, 2019): 1–27. 

Fulvia Mecatti, Franca Crippa, and Patrizia Farina. 2012. “A Special Gen(d)re of Statistics: Roots, Development and Methodological Prospects of Gender Statistics.” International Statistical Review 80(3): 452–467. 

Jean-Baptiste Michel et al. “Quantitative analysis of culture using millions of digitized books.” Science 331.6014 (2011): 176-182.

Elena, Aronova, Christine von Oertzen, and David Sepkoski, “Introduction: Historicizing Big Data,” Special Issue on Data Histories, Osiris 2017, 32 : 1–17. 

Christine L. Borgman, “Section I: Data and Scholarship,” in Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World (MIT Press, 2015), 1-80.,uid&db=nl...

Joanna Radin, “Digital Natives: How Medical and Indigenous Histories Matter for Big Data.” Osiris Vol. 32, No. 1 (2017): 43-64. 

Moya Bailey & Tourmaline: “Analog Girls in Digital Worlds: Dismantling Binaries for Digital Humanists Who Research Social Media” (33-43); The Routledge Companion to Digital Media Studies and Digital Humanities,  Ed. Jentery Sayers, Routledge, 2018.

Roopika Risam, ” Decolonizing the Digital Humanities in Theory and Practice” (78-86); The Routledge Companion to Digital Media Studies and Digital Humanities,  Ed. Jentery Sayers, Routledge, 2018.

Kimberly Christen, “Relationships, Not Records: Digital Heritage and the Ethics of Sharing Indigenous Knowledge Online” (403-412). The Routledge Companion to Digital Media Studies and Digital Humanities,  Ed. Jentery Sayers, Routledge, 2018.

Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren Klein, “Chapter Three: “What Gets Counted Counts,” in Data Feminism, in public review.


Additional Readings to Accompany Invited Speakers (in progress)

September 5-6: Matthew Edney, University of Southern Maine

Matthew Edney, Mapping an Empire: The Geographical Construction of British India, 1765-1843 (University of Chicago Press, 1997).

September 19-20: Ted Underwood, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Ted Underwood, “Theorizing Research Practices We Forgot to Theorize Twenty Years Ago,” Representations 127, no. 1 (Summer 2014): 64-72.

Ted Underwood, “A Genealogy of Distant Reading,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 11, no. 2 (2017):

Ted Underwood, David Bamman, and Sabrina Lee, “The Transformation of Gender in English-Language Fiction,” Journal of Cultural Analytics. Feb. 13, 2018. DOI: 10.22148/16.019 

October 11: Matthew Jones, Columbia University

Matthew L. Jones, "How We Became Instrumentalists (Again): Data Positivism since World War II," Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, Vol. 48 No. 5, November 2018; (pp. 673-684) 

October 25: Mario Khreiche, Sawyer Seminar Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh

Mary L. Gray and Siddharth Suri, Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019).

Alex Rosenblat, Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work (University of California Press, 2018) 

November 1: Richard Marciano, University of Maryland

November 15: Sabina Leonelli, University of Exeter

December 6: Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon, University of Pennsylvania

January 10: Jo Guldi, Southern Methodist University

Jo Guldi, "Critical Search: A Procedure for Guided Reading in Large-Scale Textual Corpora," Journal of Cultural Analytics (December 20, 2018).

Jo Guldi, “A History of the Participatory Map,” Public Culture 29, no. 1 81 (January 1, 2017): 79–112, 

Jo Guldi, “Global Questions About Rent and the Longue Durée of Urban Power, 1848 to the Present,” New Global Studies 12, no. 1 (2018): 37–63,

Jo Guldi, “Parliament’s Debates about Infrastructure: An Exercise in Using Dynamic Topic Models to Synthesize Historical Change,” Technology and Culture 60, no. 1 (March 21, 2019): 1–33. 

Jo Guldi, “World Neoliberalism as Rebellion From Below?: British Squatters and the Global Interpretation of Poverty, 1946–1974,” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 10, no. 1 (April 25, 2019): 29–57,

January 24: Safiya Umoja Noble, University of California, Los Angeles

Safiya Umoja Noble, “The Future of Knowledge in the Public,” Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press, 2018): 134-52.

February 7: Matthew Lincoln, Carnegie Mellon University

Lincoln, M. (2019). "‘What’s in a name?’ Transitioning from implicit to explicit software dev."

February 21: Edouard Machery, University of Pittsburgh

Machery, E. (2019). "The Alpha War." Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 1-25. 

Benjamin, D. J., Berger, J. O., Johannesson, M., Nosek, B. A., Wagenmakers, E. J., Berk, R., ... & Cesarini, D. (2018). "Redefine statistical significance." Nature Human Behaviour, 2(1), 6. 

Machery, E., Stich, S., Rose, D., Alai, M., Angelucci, A., Berniūnas, R., ... & Cohnitz, D. (2017). "The Gettier intuition from South America to Asia." Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 34(3), 517-541., blog:

March 6: Colin Allen, University of Pittsburgh

March 20: Bill Rankin, Yale University

Bill Rankin,

Johanna Drucker, “Graphical Approaches to the Digital Humanities,” in Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, eds., A New Companion to Digital Humanities (Wiley, 2016), 238–250.

Bill Rankin, “Cartography and the Reality of Boundaries,” Perspecta 42 (2010): 42–45. 

April 16: Mar Hicks, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago

Marie Hicks, “Conclusion: Reassembling the History of Computing around Gender’s Formative Influence,” in Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing (MIT Press, 2017) 

April 24: Melissa Finucane, RAND Corporation