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 hermeneutics?

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 published another book in 2023 with 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. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of sound design for games.

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: 2024-01-20T12:09:44:-0600