CFP: A Campfire Conversation About Small Data and Big Stories, ASEH 2016

Ant Spider Bee editor Finn Arne Jørgensen is looking for contributors to a session at ASEH 2016 in Seattle, March 30 – April 3.

A campfire conversation can be seen a place for collaborative storytelling, of presenting, contesting, and enhancing stories in a small and intimate format. In this session, which is neither a traditional 3-paper plus discussion panel nor a regular roundtable, we wish to gather scholars in such a campfire conversation about digital tools, methods, and projects that are small in scale, yet that can drive big stories in environmental history.

The scale in question can refer to two things. First, how can one get started in digital environmental history scholarship with little resources and limited technical expertise? Second, how can “small data” help us tell better and bigger stories in environmental history? By discussing what is the role of the humanist interpreter in making sense of digital scholarship, we wish to explore alternatives to large collaborative projects and massive datasets in the digital humanities.

We will pay particular heed to the role of storytelling as a collaborative method for exploring, articulating, interpreting, and disseminating knowledge, both within the academic community and in a broader public context. Storytelling has long been a central part of the historians’ toolset, and we wish to explore how we can preserve and enhance this method when environmental history meets digital humanities.

The session will not have dedicated speakers in the traditional sense. Yet, we have some key participants (to be listed in the session proposal) who have committed to actively driving the conversation forward. Each presenter will get to tell a short story that relates to the session theme of small data and big stories. We will emphasize discussion and active involvement of the audience rather than extended paper presentations. The ambition is to share knowledge and to discuss practical examples of what can be done.

If you are interested in participating in this session, send Finn Arne Jørgensen an email at with some brief information about yourself and what you think you can contribute to the session – what point would you like to make with your brief story? Since the proposals are due July 8, please signal your interest by June 31. Finn Arne will also be at the upcoming ESEH conference in Versailles, so it is also possible to discuss the session with him there.

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