Postdoctoral Scholars Dan Costa Baciu and Abigail Droge to Join WE1S Project

WhatEvery1Says (WE1S) welcomes two postdoctoral scholars as collaborators on the project. Recruited in an open search, Dan Costa Baciu and Abigail Droge arrive at UCSB in summer 2018 in time to participate in the WE1S summer research camp.

Dan Costa Baciu joins WE1S after completing his Ph.D. in 2018 in Architectural History at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Originally trained at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, he was a practicing architect and editor of a professional architecture journal before coming to the U.S. on a Fulbright to pursue his doctorate. In 2017, he was one of four scholars chosen for a HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) Advanced Collaborative Support grant. He developed an innovative “wikification” approach that deployed named-entity linking to Wikipedia to facilitate text classification and the “non-consumptive use” of the millions of texts in the HathiTrust corpus. (See his HTRC final report.) Dan’s dissertation, “Everything Called Chicago School: Lines of Thought in Public Discourse,” drew from his HTRC research to explore the cultural meaning of “the Chicago School.” An intriguing case study in how to use digital methods to reinvent intellectual history, the concept of “the Chicago School” is at once constrained by disciplinary context to particular meanings (for example, in architecture) and broadly disseminated in other areas of meaning (for example, economics and law). Dan’s research complements the WE1S project’s digital study of the similarly narrow/broad idea of “the humanities.” (See the following for more information on Dan Baciu: ORCID page | SAATCHI Art profile.)

Abigail Droge joins WE1S after completing her Ph.D. in 2018 in English at Stanford University and participating in the Stanford Literary Lab. (See her Stanford home page.) Abigail works at the intersection of nineteenth-century British literature and science, the sociology of reading, and twenty-first-century pedagogy. Her dissertation on “Reading Skills: The Politics of Literacy in the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries” focuses on working- and middle-class literacy movements in Victorian England, and studies how reading literature was perceived as a skill that could create or break social bonds. She is interested broadly in how the humanities, and literature, can be engaged in society—past and present, individual and collective, and personal and public. For example, she explores how the teaching of literature and the teaching of science can complement each other in the era of Silicon Valley. (See her article “Teaching Literature and Science in Silicon Valley” reporting on teaching a course to Stanford undergraduates with backgrounds in English, biology, and computer science.) Abigail’s work specifically complements the efforts of WE1S to imagine creative ways to research and advocate for the engagement of the humanities in contemporary society. Her familiarity with text-analysis methods, gained through participation in such Stanford Literary Lab projects as Suspense: A Study in Digital Narratology (in progress), allows her work to dovetail even more closely with the WE1S project.