Student Research

The Digital and Computational Studies Department offers courses that teach students in any discipline to use data analysis tools to uncover new findings and meaning — within texts, news media, or social media — that would otherwise have remained hidden.

What Could Joshua Chamberlain See At Gettysburg?

Gabriella Papper, Class of 2018

During the summer of 2017 I worked with Professor Hall to answer the question “What could Joshua Chamberlain see at Gettysburg?” using historical evidence and computational tools.

Digital humanities methods and tools enabled us to reconsider the Battle of Little Round Top at Gettysburg. Chamberlain is well known for ordering a bayonet charge that helped the Union line secure Little Round Top. He is also a prominent figure in Bowdoin’s history. Until now, Chamberlain’s line of sight and perspective during the battle have not been thoroughly examined.

I worked with the visualization software Gephi to create a network of Chamberlain’s correspondence. Using over 500 original letters that were available in Bowdoin’s Special Collections and Archives, I created visualization networks that focus on the Civil War and Chamberlain’s correspondence overall. Gephi enabled us to repurpose the original letters to gain insight into the humanistic side of Chamberlain’s decisions during the battle. (Visualizations below)

      

I then used GIS, a mapping software, to examine the geography of Little Round Top and compare the accuracy of historical and modern maps. I created an image that shows the visibility at Little Round Top from Chamberlain’s position (visualization below, green is visible and pink is not). The digital tools had to account for variables in this project, which included whether Chamberlain was crouching or standing, what the vegetation was like in July, 1863, and how dense the army line was.

      

 Through this research in digital humanities, I was able to create a richer narrative of Chamberlain’s vision at Little Round Top by combining contemporary tools with historical evidence. The information from this research will be incorporated into a new and innovative class offered as part of the Digital and Computational Studies Initiative this fall. I am extremely grateful to Professor Hall, the Gibbons Fellowship, and Bowdoin’s resources for the chance to be part of this new and exciting initiative. 

Faculty Mentor: Professor Crystal Hall

Funded by the Gibbons Fellowship

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Digital Study of Gossip in Jane Austen

Title: "A Digital Study of Gossip in Emma." 

By: Phoebe Bumsted '17

In Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, English and Computer Science major Phoebe Bumsted conducted an independent research project studying gossip in Jane Austen's Emma using digital tools

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Summer 2016 Gibbon's Fellowship

Title: Sweet Blood: History and the Nature of Diabetes and Chronic Disease in America

By: Wendy Dong '18

Recent history and studies alike have shown that chronic diseases are social and
historical issues, in addition to biological. In this project, we focused on type 2 diabetes and
zeroed in on the United States Native American population. After collecting all the data
needed on this demographic, we hope to move on to other minority groups within the United
States.

Network

Network Analysis of Metadata

Title: "Student Email Ego Network"

By: Intentionally Anonymous

Ego Network Analysis allows us to combine network analysis with social science information. This student attempts to understand the network of student emails, focusing on the ego and how their personal network is affected.

GIS map

GIS for Historical Recreation

Title: "Joshua Chamberlain's Legacy - Challenged by Technology"

By: Ana Timoney-Gomez

Could Joshua Chamberlain have known what he was sending his troops into? Timoney-Gomez suggests due to the geography of the land, we cannot be certain he did. Using GIS, she is able to recreate the scene we know today as the Battle for Little Round Top.

Fractal

Reflections on Technology

Title: "Final Essay"

By: McKenna Thomas-Franz

"While it is important to understand the basics behind Python coding or XML or fractal analysis, these tools are still being placed in the hands of us, the humans, so we need to understand what we bring to the table in a growing technological world."  

US Map

Spatial and Statistical Analysis of Degree Holders in STEM Fields 

Title: Project Notebook

By: Jason Greenberg

Research Question: Starting as early as their undergraduate career, do women face barriers to entry into or have strong preferences against entering STEM related fields, specifically the sciences and engineering, due to their gender? Also, does region within the United States impact this gender disparity?

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Network Analysis of International Diplomacy

Title: “Project Notebook

By: Jack Weiss

For centuries treaties have shaped and manipulated borders, security, and trade. Do certain countries influence treaty making and international relations more than others? Do these specific power brokers enhance national security and make the world a safer place?

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Statistical Analysis of Attributes of First Generation Students in the United States

Title: Project Notebook

By: Karla Olivares

"While it is important to understand the basics behind Python coding or XML or fractal analysis, these tools are still  being placed in the hands of us, the humans, so we need to understand what we bring to the table in a growing technological world."  

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Network and Statistical Analysis of SNL’s History

Title: “A Look At Saturday Night Live and Its Rising Political Influence” with Supporting Gephi Figure

By: Simon Cann

SNL has always relied on parody and satire of current events as sources for comedy. At what point does the comedic representation become a instrument for the expression and criticism of political thought? Can a comedy show be a serious player in shaping national perceptions of individuals and ideas? 

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The Nature of Data: Introduction to Environmental Analysis

Title: Regional Differences in Media Responses to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

By: Allie Briggs with Sabina Hartnett and Roya Moussapour

Using digital tools to examine regional differences in perceptions towards the proposed Katahdin national monument. Is attitude different? Does the media portray the controversy differently? How do responses differ?