Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities

Computer Simulations in the Humanities
National Endowment for the Humanities
Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
in conjunction with the
Complex Systems Institute
June 1st – 17th, 2011
Project Directors: Anthony Beavers, Marvin Croy,
Patrick Grim, and Mirsad Hadzikadic

Keynote Presenters: Katy Börner, Indiana University
Johanna Drucker, UCLA
Paul Humphreys, University of Virginia
Melanie Mitchell, Portland State
Matthias Scheutz, Tufts University
Tim Tangherlini, UCLA
UNC Charlotte Presenters: Deborah Bosley, English
Boyd Davis, English
Eric Sauda, Architecture
Paul Youngman, Languages and Culture Study

This NEH Institute will advance research in the humanities by adding simulation techniques to the repertoire of methods already employed by humanists. A variety of simulation techniques will be addressed, including complex adaptive systems, agent based modeling, and connectionist networks. Humanists selected from a range of disciplines will work not only with technical experts, but also with other humanists already familiar with simulation methods.

Twenty-four humanists divided into two groups will be selected for participation. One group will include eighteen humanists who are new to modeling, and a second group will consist of six humanists with modeling experience who can serve as project consultants on various teams.

The scholars new to modeling must fulfill the following criteria:

  1. They must have concrete research plans that lend themselves to computer modeling with the promise of generating new knowledge;
  2. They must not currently use such techniques extensively; and
  3. They must have demonstrated an ability to pursue a research program in the humanities or a related discipline.

Advanced graduate students are welcome to apply and will be considered according to the same criteria as other applicants.

The applicants new to modeling should submit a 500 word proposal describing a concrete project that they think can be advanced with the help of modeling, why they think modeling can help and what they think they stand to gain from the experience in general. Experienced modelers should submit a 500 word statement that outlines their experience with modeling and what they think they can contribute to the Institute. Both groups must provide a redacted, two page curriculum vitae. Proposals should be submitted in a txt or doc format. The file name should begin with the last name of the author followed by an underscore and an abbreviation of the title of the project (example: Smith_EmpathicNetworks).

To help with preliminary preparation, we will also ask participants to join a virtual, social networking space (platform still to be determined) to make initial introductions and share preliminary ideas that will better help the staff and other participants prepare for the immediate needs and interests of all parties involved. To preserve continuity during the Institute itself, the twenty-four selected participants will be expected to stay for the entire duration. There will be a three-day follow-up program in 2012 (June 1st-3rd) that will involve only the twenty-four selected humanists and the four co-directors on this project. During this workshop, each of the eighteen humanities modelers will present their work and outline any obstacles that are impeding future success. Our hope with the second year workshop is that cross fertilization from sharing problems and solutions can remove any impediments and help modeling in the humanities take better hold.

Deadline for proposals is November 15th, 2010. Notifications of acceptance and rejections will be emailed by December 15th, 2010. In January 2011 we will provide successful candidates with a short reading list to help them prepare for the experience.

For 2011 on-campus housing costs will be covered for the 24 participants, and each participant will receive a $500 subsistence stipend, along with travel costs reimbursed up to $700. Participants serving as mentors will receive an additional $500 stipend.

For the 3-day 2012 session on-campus housing costs will be covered, and each participant will receive a $200 subsistence stipend, along with travel costs reimbursed up to $700.

For further information please contact Marvin Croy or Rich Preville at