Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences has been awarded funding through a cooperative agreement from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to present a workshop in the National Capital Region for scholars and librarians in the field of medical history.

Titled “Images and Texts in Medical History: An Introduction to Methods, Tools, and Data from the Digital Humanities,” the free workshop April 11-13, 2016, at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) National Institutes of Health (NIH) will discuss emerging approaches to the analysis of texts and images. It will be funded by the NEH, a U.S. government agency that provides grants to support research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

“This workshop is designed to provide faculty and graduate students in the history of medicine with an opportunity to learn new tools and techniques from leading practitioners of the digital humanities,” said Tom Ewing, professor of history and the college’s associate dean for research. “This workshop is an example of Virginia Tech’s commitment to interdisciplinary research in the health sciences that connects the humanities to fundamental questions about the spread of disease, the rise of medical professions, and cultural definitions of illness and health.”

“As a collaboration that brings together major humanities and STEM funding agencies, and draws on two of the world’s great history of science libraries, this workshop promotes the innovative collaboration that defines the best work in the digital humanities.  This workshop also exemplifies Virginia Tech’s leading role in the digital humanities and commitment to bringing together technological innovation and human achievement,” said Elizabeth Spiller, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “We are grateful for this opportunity to help advance interdisciplinary humanities research in medical history.”

Also cooperating with Virginia Tech, the NEH, and the NLM are Great Britain’s Wellcome Library, one of the world's leading repositories of medical history; and the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving improvements in human and animal health; and the American Association for the History of Medicine.

Virginia Tech participants will include Amy Nelson, associate professor of history and the Networked Learning Initiative Faculty Fellow; and a graduate assistant in the master’s program in the Department of History.

Participants selected to attend this free workshop will have opportunities to learn how recent advances in the digital humanities can inform research, teaching, scholarship, and public policy. More information about the application process will be available from the workshop website early in summer 2015.

The NEH recently funded two projects at Virginia Tech on the history of medicine: a Digging into Data Challenge Grant awarded by the Office of Digital Humanities in 2011 to an interdisciplinary team for An Epidemiology of Information, a project that developed data mining methods to track the spread of disease; and a grant from the education division to Ewing to lead a summer seminar for teachers on the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918.



Share this story