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Cameron Buckner awarded first CLASS Digital Humanities post-doctoral fellowship

Cameron Buckner

Cameron Buckner has been awarded the College’s first post-doctoral fellowship in Digital Humanities. The position reports directly to the Associate Dean for Faculty and Research in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Dr. Buckner will begin the fellowship’s one-year term on September 1, 2013 after completing the second year of an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany. The CLASS Digital Humanities fellowship has an option to be renewed for a second year.

The position is designed to support the burgeoning interdisciplinary Digital Humanities @ UH Initiative launched by CLASS faculty in the departments of Art, English, History, Philosophy, Modern and Classical Languages in collaboration with Computer Science and Law faculty and UH Libraries staff members.

“Under Dean Roberts, CLASS has adopted a visionary approach to the future of the humanities that has already begun to pay off,” Dr. Buckner said. “UH last year received the most grant support awarded by the NEH out of all higher education institutions. And rightfully so—CLASS faculty have developed some of the most innovative recent digital archives and methods in the humanities, including Casey Due-Hackney’s Homer Multi-Text Project, Natalie Houston’s Visual Page, and Rex Koontz and Dan Price’s Vwire tool.”

As the fellow, Dr. Buckner will coordinate the Initiative’s activities, including scheduling speakers, organizing and participating in mini-workshops and reading groups, developing grant applications and other funding sources with faculty and graduate students. In addition, he will help to develop digital humanities courses and training programs.

He will also have time to work on his own research. Dr. Buckner takes an interdisciplinary approach to research, which covers a number of areas, including philosophy of mind, cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science, and psychology. He plans to use this interdisciplinary background to provide a deeper theoretical grounding for research in the digital humanities—specifically, by leveraging techniques from computational psycholinguistics to show how digitized texts can reveal the “mental fingerprints” of their authors and readers.

He graduated in 2004 with highest honors from Texas Tech University with a B.S. in computer science and a B.A. in philosophy. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy with a minor in cognitive science in 2011 from Indiana University, Bloomington. He began his career in artificial intelligence, migrating to philosophy as he became more interested in the nature of the human mind and human knowledge.

Dr. Buckner is a founding project member of the Indiana Philosophy Ontology (InPhO) project (http://inpho.cogs.indiana.edu), which uses a combination of statistical analysis and expert feedback to analyze over 37 million words of philosophical content.

He co-authored several successful grant proposals for the InPhO project, including an NEH Digital Humanities startup grant, an NEH Digital Humanities Implementation grant, and a joint NEH-DFG Bi-lateral Digital Humanities Grant for 2011-2014 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). Altogether, these grants brought in over $720,000 for Indiana University and €126,400 for for the University of Mannheim.

“Digital humanities research not only enables humanists to ask ambitious new questions—for example, to discover themes and trends across thousands of digitized Victorian novels, or to compare the coverage biases of entire encyclopedias –but it also prepares UH graduates to compete in an increasingly computerized world,” Dr. Buckner said. “I look forward to helping UH take its rightful place amongst the best international centers of computational research in the humanities.”