Digital Humanities Asia 2018 Summit

Poster for DHAsia 2018

The conference logo

DHAsia was established in 2015 by Professor Tom Mullaney of Stanford’s History Department in collaboration with the Stanford University Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis.  Happily, I was able to attend this year’s summit, which took place on April 27 and 28. I had been feeling excited about this event since first seeing the announcement of the speaker list last fall.  My goals for this trip were two-fold: to keep abreast of cutting-edge scholarship in digital humanities related to Asian studies and to scout out potential speakers for the “Deep Dive into Digital and Data Methods in Chinese Studies” series.  I think I successfully fulfilled both goals in this thought-provoking and fruitful trip.

First, I was amazed by the quality of all the papers and the breadth and depth that this conference covered.  Although I’m generally familiar with what’s going on in DH in Chinese studies, I was still fascinated by the new projects that some of its pioneering scholars have embarked on, such as Professor Hilde de Weerdt’s project on Chinese city walls and Professor Marcus Bingenheimer’s project on visualizing Buddhist monks’ social networks in an animated timeline.  This conference was also an eye-opening experience for me in terms of how much I learned from scholars in Japanese and Korean, South Asian, and Southeast Asian studies. With each presentation I craved for more elaboration, but each speaker was only given 17 minutes! I wish it had been longer.

Second, I happily reconnected with old friends and made new friends.  I was excited to see that among the conference presenters were Drs. Hilde de Weerdt, Donald Sturgeon, Glenn Tiffert, and Charles Chang, all of whom are alumni of our “Deep Dive into Digital and Data Methods in Chinese Studies” series.  In the meantime, I selected three scholars who I hoped to bring to the Deep Dive series in the coming year, and all three accepted my invitations on site (yay!). Who are they? Please stay tuned for the announcements this fall.