The Digital Orientalist’s Virtual Workshop and Conference 2021: A Brief Report

On June 26, 2021, the Digital Orientalist held a virtual workshop and conference on Zoom. The conference was divided into two sessions chaired by Maddalena Poli and Mariana Zorkina, and was organized by Maddalena Poli, Mariana Zorkina, James Morris and LWC van Lit. A total of 252 people tuned into the conference over the course of the day.

The first session was chaired by Mariana Zorkina. The session opened with short introduction to the Digital Orientalist’s history and future vision given by James Morris. Following this introduction, the first paper entitled “Fully Automated Human Touch” was presented by Matt Cornell and Merinda Davies, who asked participants to question the relationship of humans to automated food production, and the industrial world more generally.

Next was the first keynote of the day during which Jing Chen introduced the project Photographing History. This was followed by Tilman Schalmey’s paper “Lexeme-based computational dating approaches for Literary Chinese Texts.” Schalmey’s project will be released in the near future.

After Schalmey’s presentation, Donald Sturgeon presented a paper entitled “Text Mining with http://ctext.org’s Text Tools” that taught participants about the capabilities of and how to use the Chinese Text Project’s tools and plugins. Closing the morning session was the second keynote of the day given by Mahmoud Kozae. It was entitled “Software Use in AnonymClassic.”

There was a Q&A session and then a break, before the second session, chaired Maddalena Poli, got under way. Kicking off the second session was a keynote presentation given by Paula R. Curtis entitled “Digital Humanities in Japanese Studies: State of the Field.” Curtis introduced digital projects and tools in the world of Japanese studies.

Next was James M. Tucker’s paper “Computational Methods to Reconstruct Fragmentary Manuscripts” in which the author explored computational methods for the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This was followed by the 4th keynote presentation, which was given by Kristina Kleutghen. Kleutghen’s paper was entitled “The Qing Emperor’s Hindustan Jades: IIIF, QGIS, and Leaflet as Tools for Digital Art History.”

Next was a multi-authored paper and tutorial by Yan He, Sophie Muro, Ann James, and Ka Hang Ngau entitled “Navigating Digital Collections on Chinese Studies Using New ArcGIS Tool” which introduced the Digital Collections for Chinese Studies project. This was followed by Tyler Neill’s paper entitled “LDA Topic Modeling in Sanskrit with ToPān and Metallō” which drew on the work of Thomas Koentges.

Following a coffee break, Jennifer Ball and Xu Chao presented a paper entitled “Introducing HanziFinder, a Hanzi Substructure Search Engine.” During the paper, Ball and Xu introduced their search engine HanziFinder and the related project Origin of the Alphabet. Next was Maciej Kurzynski’s “On the Technology of the Sublime in Modern Chinese Narratives.”

The final keynote paper entitled “The Database of Religious History — Browsing and Visualizing the World’s Religions” focused on The Database of Religious History and was presented by M. Willis Monroe and Matthew Hamm. Following this, Mariana Zorkina gave the final paper of the day. Zorkina’s paper was entitled “The clichés, the in-jokes, the duplicates: finding intertextuality in Tang poetry.”

Zorkina’s paper was followed by a Q&A session before the conference was brought to a close with a speech about the Digital Orientalist by LWC van Lit.

We would like to extend our thanks to all the speakers and participants for making the conference a smashing success, and an enjoyable and informative experience for all!

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