I am an Associate Professor of English and a Fellow at the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I discovered digital humanities (“humanities computing,” as it was then called) while I was a graduate student at the University of Virginia in the mid-nineties. I found the whole thing very exciting, but felt that before I could get on to things like computational text analysis and other kinds of humanistic geekery, I needed to work through a set of thorny philosphical problems. Is there such a thing as “algorithmic” literary criticism? Is there a distinct, humanistic form of visualization that differs from its scientific counterpart? What does it mean to “read” a text with a machine? Does computational analysis imply a different conception of hermenutics?

I figured that when I had that all worked out, I could get on to the project of “doing DH.” But twenty-five years have passed, and I’m still stuck on these problems. At some point, the major DH conferences started offering “meta-DH” as a keyword. That’s a pretty good description of what I do.

I published a book about these matters in 2011 (Reading Machines), stopped to write a book on mathematics with my far-flung colleague Patrick Juola (Six Septembers: Mathematics for the Humanist), and I have another book coming out later this year from the University of Minnesota Press (On the Digital Humanities: Essays and Provocations).

I have been teaching students in the arts and humanities how to program since the early 2000s, and (lest I forget my roots) I also regularly teach classes in theater history, world literature, Shakespeare, and the Bible.

I am obsessed with programming languages, ancient languages, textual interfaces, microcontrollers, UNIX, computer music, and any sort of technology for producing beautiful documents. I am also (the audio) half of Perlin Trio, which creates surreal animations that touch often on subjects related to disability, dreams, childhood memories, and the landscape of the American Midwest.

I am on Mastodon at @sramsay@hcommons.social and keep various projects at SourceHut.

Incoming: home

Keywords: CDRH, digital humanities, Reading Machines, mathematics, On the Digital Humanities, teaching, Perlin Trio

Last Modified: 2023-03-24T16:32:12:-0500